Regional Gathering for Order of Canada Members
Montréal, Quebec, Thursday, September 14, 2017
What a delight to be here with you in this great city where Sharon, our five daughters and I spent so many wonderful years.
This is a very special gathering in a very special year—one in which we celebrate no less than (1) the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montréal; (2) the 200th anniversary of the Bank of Montréal, where we gather today; (3) the 150th anniversary of Confederation; and (4) the 50th anniversary of the Order of Canada.
But tonight, we do more than just celebrate. We’re also here to carry on our work together—the work of building a better country.
After all, those milestones I just mentioned are the result of an incredible amount of talent and dedication by a great many people.
None of it was inevitable, and we honour those achievements by renewing our own efforts on behalf our communities and our country.
Some of you were at Rideau Hall last month for a 50th anniversary celebration of the Order. It was a wonderful day, where we discussed building and strengthening our network across the country through events such as this.
We also talked about young people and all that they have to offer, and how Order of Canada community members have roles to play in mentoring and working together with youth.
Allow me therefore to offer a special welcome to the young people who are joining us this evening. Your participation in this event is so important.
One of the remarkable aspects of the Order of Canada is that it is merit-based and predicated upon a demonstrated desire for a better country.
This is a leadership community, comprised of smart and caring people who are intent on making a difference.
We have countless possibilities for giving back to Canada.
Let’s continue to strengthen the culture of excellence by championing the Order and encouraging nominations in this city and province and right across the country.
Let’s find ways to better serve marginalized populations—that 20 percent of the population that risks being left behind by inequality.
As we are doing tonight, we can also forge partnerships between young people and members of the Order of Canada to learn more and support each other in these exciting and challenging times of change.
We can gather more often as we do today to increase our engagement and effectiveness.
Most of all, we can continue with new zeal to lead the pinnacles of excellence in our communities, our regions and across the country to make Canada a better place for all.
We can take action as a leadership community, and we must, because Canada has an opportunity to lead in the world today.
These are the challenges I put to you for consideration this evening. Let’s continue to build on the momentum we’ve gained through this anniversary year, and build for the future.
And let me close by saying what an immense privilege it has been for Sharon and me to serve Canada for these past seven, magical years.
Thank you for participating today, and to all of you who have helped along the way.
Have a wonderful evening!