Send-Off Reception for Canadian Competitors at Invictus Games
Rideau Hall, Wednesday, September 20, 2017
How wonderful to welcome Team Canada here at Rideau Hall, the home of the people of Canada!
As governor general and commander-in-chief, I’m very proud to host this send-off for all of you. You are Canada’s Invictus Games contingent, and your participation in these games will inspire a nation.
Courage. Respect. Excellence. Resilience. Hope. This is what you’re all about, and I thank you for representing Canada at this important competition. That you will do so in Toronto makes your participation all the more special.
Sharon and I will be present at the opening ceremony and I will officially open the Games. I will be very proud and honoured to do so.
In Toronto, you will have home field advantage!
You will have a whole city, a whole country behind you!
No pressure though!
Like the greatest sporting events, these games are foremost about participation, pushing limits, surprising yourself at your capabilities.
These games are less about what happens at the finish line than they are about the starting line. Simply competing in the Invictus Games is a great accomplishment, as you well know.
As commander-in-chief and an avid sports enthusiast, I know that each of you will make your communities, and your country, very proud. The dedication to service, honour, duty that defines the Canadian Armed Forces will fuel your participation in these games.
I also want to say a special thank you to your loved ones who have supported you as members of our military, and who will be your loudest and proudest supporters at these games.
Together, you represent the Canadian Armed Forces, and you represent Canada, and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to announce your representative as flag-bearer for the opening ceremonies.
Corporal Phil Badanai is a veteran of the Canadian Army who served this country with extraordinary bravery during his armed forces career. In fact, he was at Rideau Hall back in 1995 when he received the Meritorious Service Medal for the remarkable courage he displayed while serving as a peacekeeper in the former Yugoslavia.
Welcome back, Phil!
Let me share with you the citation that was read when Corporal Badanai received his decoration:
Private Badanai was returning in a small-wheeled vehicle from a routine escort mission in Croatia on December 31, 1994, when he and his passenger were suddenly fired upon by approximately twenty armed Serb soldiers gathered on both sides of the road. Despite the agony of multiple injuries, Private Badanai accelerated through and clear of the ambush and drove his badly damaged vehicle thirteen kilometres, in darkness, to reach the Unit Medical Station. His initiative and determination under fire, devotion to duty, and calm, courageous actions saved both his own and his passenger's lives.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think we can safely say the Canadian flag will be in good hands at the opening ceremonies in Toronto.
To Corporal Phil Badanai, and to all of you, I thank you for service to Canada, as soldiers and now as competitors in these games.
I wish you the very best.