Dinner in Honour of Their Excellencies Ms. Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and Mr. Michael Bryce
Rideau Hall, Thursday, April 4, 2013
It is a great pleasure for my wife, Sharon, and me to welcome Your Excellencies to Rideau Hall.
It is wonderful to see you here.
This residence and the city of Ottawa are historic gathering places for all Canadians. Ottawa takes its name from the Algonquin term adawe, meaning “to trade,” which gives an idea of the long-standing significance of our geographical location at the confluence of three great rivers: the Ottawa, the Gatineau and the Rideau.
As for Rideau Hall, it has been the home and workplace of every governor general since 1867, the year of Canada’s birth.
For almost 150 years, Canadians have gathered here to share ideas and dreams for our country, and to discuss our role in the world.
And I know that similar conversations among Australians have long been taking place at Government House in Canberra.
As close friends and partners in the Commonwealth, the people of Canada and of Australia have a great deal in common.
This is clearly seen in our histories, our institutions and in the many ties we share in the spheres of business, culture and education, to name a few.
I am also reminded, Excellency, of all our two countries share each time we meet while overseas on official business—whether in London last June to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee or, most recently, in Seoul to attend the inauguration of Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female president.
As the first woman to serve as governor general of Australia, you too are a pioneer, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you on behalf of all Canadians—including my five daughters—for being such an effective and inspiring leader and role model.
Besides coming to Ottawa, I am delighted that you are visiting Vancouver and Iqaluit during your stay in Canada. These cities and their respective regions are representative of the great diversity and richness of this country.
Being from Australia, you will no doubt find the vast distances between each community quite familiar!
You will also find, however, that Canadians share a bond that transcends those distances—not unlike the bonds of friendship and shared values that unite Canadians and Australians across oceans and time zones.
I would like to thank you both for coming all this way to visit Canadians in their communities. Have a wonderful and enlightening stay.
And I ask that you please raise your glass to Canada, to Australia, and to Her Majesty The Queen who inspires us in commonwealth! Ladies and gentlemen: The Queen / La Reine.