Imagine a Canada Presentation Ceremony
Rideau Hall, Tuesday, June 20, 2017
I acknowledge that we are gathering on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, but as you know the story of people in this land goes back much further in time.
Today, we reflect upon our history and we imagine a better future together with this presentation of the Imagine a Canada winners.
Each of you has spoken up clearly, not only with your words, but also with your art.
This is a universal language that speaks to all Canadians, that crosses barriers and promotes understanding.
Each is a powerful piece that shows us a Canada that could be. We just have to follow your lead.
Because, although we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation this year, it is to your future that we look. One that will transform all that you imagine into a reality for Canada.
We have just spent a productive morning—alongside lieutenant governors, commissioners and others—listening to your vision of what this country could be. It was a chance for leaders to put aside their own voice and be inspired by your enthusiasm for change.
You spoke about your own experiences and your own exposure to ideas of reconciliation and healing, and why they are important.
It reinforced to me how vital a role you have in bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together, with respect and equality. And it also reinforced my faith in young people and their abilities.
We all must put our trust in young people to lead. After all, all of us have a responsibility to make change, but it is with young Canadians that the impact will be felt the strongest.
It’s their imaginations that will bring forth the Canada of tomorrow, a fairer, more just nation where each member of our society can succeed. Where our art and our words celebrate our collective achievements.
Until then, this art, these words, these young people give us hope.
After all, what is imagination if not hope? Hope for a better country, hope for reconciliation, hope for a future that belongs to all of us.
And who better to give us hope than you—the winners here today and all of your peers—who believe in a better Canada.
You know that what you say matters.
What you do matters.
And you will be the leaders who will help get us there.
Congratulations to all the winners here today. And thank you—all of you—for imagining a better Canada.