Annual Inspection of the Ceremonial Guard
Rideau Hall, Monday, June 23, 2014
What a privilege it is to take part in the inspection of the Ceremonial Guard, a classic rite of summer in our nation’s capital.
While this is my fourth annual inspection as governor general of Canada, the presence of the Guard still inspires a sense of wonder in me.
Your regalia, your poise, precision and pageantry are so impressive!
The Ceremonial Guard is one of Canada’s most instantly recognizable military units. For more than 50 years, the sight of your distinctive scarlet uniforms and bearskin headdresses has been synonymous with some of Canada’s most important institutions and historic sites: Parliament, the National War Memorial and, of course, Rideau Hall.
You are reserve and regular force soldiers who serve in more than 70 Canadian Armed Forces regiments and units from all across this vast country of ours.
Your presence is so commanding. People from across Canada and around the world come to witness your display and hear your performances, which reminds us of your role as ambassadors for Canada.
In fact, since the first guard mount took place on Parliament Hill on July 2, 1959, the Guard has participated in every Royal visit to Canada, as well as many visits by foreign heads of state and government to Ottawa.
I am delighted that this year’s Guard will again consist of members from the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force, making the Guard truly representative of the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole.
Some of you have just started your careers, while others have already served Canada for many years. Several of you have deployed to locations overseas, including Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Haiti and parts of Africa.
Many of you may have also taken part in domestic operations, including flood relief efforts in Quebec and Manitoba, and forest fire response in Alberta.
And all of you are united in your dedication to the democratic values we cherish as Canadians.
You are part of a strong tradition of service to Canada. Every aspect of your dress and deportment exudes Canadian heritage and history, and through you, we see an image of ourselves and of our country.
As commander-in-chief of Canada, I am proud to wear the uniform and to serve as colonel of two of the regiments that form your ranks: the Canadian Grenadier Guards and the Governor General’s Foot Guards.
Thank you for your dedication and for your professionalism. I wish you a wonderful summer and look forward to seeing you at Rideau Hall in the months to come.