The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Canada150&Me’s National Youth Forum

Ottawa, Ontario, Monday, June 26, 2017


I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are gathering today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

How wonderful to see you all! I’m delighted to be here at your national forum, which kicks off an exciting week here in Ottawa at a very special time in our history: the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

In Vancouver, Halifax, Montréal, Winnipeg and now here in our capital, you have held conversations around a very important question:

“What is Canada’s greatest opportunity or challenge facing your generation?”

And these are just a few of the themes you touched on in response:

-  The environment and our natural resources.

-  Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

-  Educating and preparing young people to succeed globally.

-  Diversity and inclusiveness toward all.

-  Mental health and well-being.

-  Human rights, in Canada and worldwide.

-  Technology and the rapid pace of change.

As governor general, I’m very encouraged by the range of your discussions. Why? Because these and the other priorities you touched upon are central to the success of our country.

It’s inspiring to hear your summaries and conclusions from this experience. During these forums, you have heard from and been mentored by Order of Canada members, whose motto is: 

Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam, which is Latin for: “They Desire a Better Country.”

All of you desire a better country, too. I thank you for your participation and your engagement in our society.

As young people, you have stepped up to speak and to lead us forward with your energy, your ideas and your passion for change.

Together, you have helped chart a course for Canada’s future, and you have challenged us to do better.

Clearly, there is a great appetite for change in this country.

Who will deliver it?

Let it be those who dream of a better Canada—more fair and just and inclusive and creative. Let it be each of you here today. Let it be all those who participated in these gatherings.

I’m so grateful to you all. This is a wonderful partnership between young people, Experiences Canada and the Order of Canada, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

And though they have addressed many of the serious challenges we face, these gatherings have been essentially optimistic.

Together, you have looked ahead to a better future, and a better country.

It’s within our grasp. But it won’t create itself. We have to build it, together.

But first we have to dream it, together, and that’s what this experience is all about. Remembering, reflecting, learning and dreaming of our next 150 years as a country.

I can’t wait to see where you will take us next.

Have an enlightening and productive week in Ottawa, everyone!

Kitchi meegwetch. Thank you.