Order of Canada Investiture Ceremony
Rideau Hall, Friday, September 23, 2016
I’m delighted to welcome you to Rideau Hall today, where you will soon take your place alongside other Canadian visionaries as recipients of the Order of Canada.
Think of the very first names who were invested into the Order in 1967. Names such as artist Kenojuak Ashevak, novelist Gabrielle Roy, neuroscientist Wilder Penfield, former prime minister Louis St-Laurentand former governor general Vincent Massey.
Each recipient, in his or her own unique way, built a better country. And each of these pioneers was forward-looking. They knew that what they had done was only the beginning of what needed to be done.
Perhaps the title of Mr. Massey’s memoirs encapsulates this attitude best: What’s Past is Prologue.
Or, in other words, they were just getting started. Canada was just getting started.
This has been true throughout the Order’s history.
Each of you is drawn to helping make this country better through common cause. It’s one of the things that unite all Order of Canada recipients, no matter what your specific area of expertise is.
The motto of the Order Canada reads “they desire a better country.”
You have shown your desire, your passion, for Canada throughout your lives. I can’t wait to see where that desire, that drive, takes you next.
We need you, all of you—dreamers and descendants of dreamers—to inspire us as we look forward to 2017, when our nation will turn 150 years old.
Next year we will also celebrate another milestone: the 50th anniversary of the Order of Canada.
During our anniversary year, I’d like for all of us to build upon our momentum, to be motivated by past achievements and to use that to propel us in the future.
Let’s ask ourselves: what do we want to accomplish in the next half century? What do we want our country to look like?
And speaking of dreaming, let me share one of my favorite lines from George Bernard Shaw:
"Some people see things as they are and wonder ‘Why’. We dream of things that ought to be and ask, ‘Why not?’"
Our country and the world have changed quite a lot in the almost 50 years since the Order of Canada was created, and the almost 150 since Confederation. We continue to grow, to learn, to evolve. And we continue to rely on great Canadians to make our country stronger.
And so let’s celebrate together inspiring possibilities for a better collective future.
Congratulations on this honour. Wear your pin with pride, because Canada has pride in you.