Speech before the Legislative Assembly of Yukon
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Whitehorse, Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Let me begin by thanking you for the warm welcome you have extended to my wife, Sharon and I, since our arrival in Yukon.
As you know, this is our first official visit to Yukon, and it is an honour to be invited to speak today before the Legislative Assembly. Yukoners have a long history of working together and developing solutions that work for northerners, and I want to congratulate you on your many past and present successes.
The North has long captured our imagination, and today, Yukon captures the world’s attention.
Along with your leadership in climate change research and innovation, Yukoners are breaking new ground in education and training, native language studies, and circumpolar research. You have also taken great strides in self governance, becoming an example to the rest of the world.
Since my installation, I have been inviting Canadians to join me in imagining our country as it could be. We strive for a smart and caring nation where all Canadians can succeed, contribute and develop their talents to their fullest potential. We want to be a nation that increases and applies the knowledge of its citizens to improve the condition of all—at home and around the world.
To achieve this vision, I have set out three pillars: supporting families and children; reinforcing learning and innovation; and encouraging philanthropy and volunteerism.
I know that supporting families is important to Yukoners. In remote communities, neighbour often relies on neighbour. Close-knit families count on each other for support.
I also know that learning and innovation are priorities in Yukon. The development of a knowledge economy through institutions such as Yukon College is an exciting development for the North, and for subarctic regions around the world.
The smart and caring Canada that we envision will provide its people every opportunity to grow intellectually, to the best of their ability. Canada must build a nation that learns, but it must also foster a nation that cares, a nation that looks outward, beyond its borders, to the wider world.
In a globalized world, leadership comes from the strength of our ideas and the pace of our innovation.
Through your commitment to learning and innovation, through volunteerism, philanthropy, and a strong sense of family and community, Yukoners are taking charge of their own destiny.
I want to extend to you my appreciation for answering the call to service in so many ways. I encourage you to continue your efforts as we move towards a smarter, more caring Canada.