Presentation of Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division)
Rideau Hall, Friday, November 25, 2016
Mahatma Ghandi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
All of you have lost yourselves in service to Canadians, causes and neighbours. Now you find yourself here at Rideau Hall. And we have the privileged task of finding out all about you!
What have we discovered?
You are caring and compassionate.
You are making things better for people at home and abroad.
You are ambassadors of sport and of art and of science.
You come from across the country and work in many fields.
You save lives and you change lives.
And so, we gather to honour all of you outstanding Canadians with the Meritorious Service Cross and the Meritorious Service Medal.
I’ve said time and again that this is a great country, and what makes it so great is caring, clever, compassionate and passionate people.
No matter where I go, I am moved by how Canadians are eager to contribute of their time, talent or treasure to make their communities and their country better for all. And now that we’re just around the corner from 2017—and the 150th anniversary of our country—we all have an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for Canada.
Your legacies and your stories are still being written.
But this decoration confirms: you have already made an impact and helped to make ours a smarter, more caring nation, and helps us to encourage others that we can do more.
My predecessor, the General the Right Honourable Georges P. Vanier, once said, “If Canada is to attain the greatness worthy of it, each of us must say, ‘I ask only to serve.’”
You did more than ask. You acted.
And through your actions, by shattering all expectations, you served the interests of people across this country. Not only that, but you also managed to influence others to give as well—the perfect example of giving as a virtuous circle.
Never let it be said that you cannot enact change, that what you say and what you do don’t matter.
They matter very much.
That is what I have learned from you.
That is what I will share with Canadians.
Congratulations on receiving this honour and thank you for all that you do.