January 7, 2021
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, released a video message to Canadians regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dear fellow citizens,
The past months have been dark and difficult, and we all know that it is not yet over. I appeal to your sense of duty today. Now is the time to show our strength as a nation, to remain steadfast and to stay united in our solidarity.
Safe and efficient vaccines are now available, and there is a light shining at the end of the tunnel. But the pandemic is still raging right now and it will take time to immunize everyone.
The priority goes to health care personnel, to the essential workers who keep our society going, to the elderly and most at-risk populations, and to people living in remote areas, particularly Indigenous communities. We must remain patient while the vaccines are distributed in an orderly fashion.
In the meantime, it is of the utmost importance that we all stay vigilant and adhere strictly to the advice of our public health officials.
We owe this to the front-line workers who have been fighting this virus selflessly for 10 long months. We owe it to our seniors, and to the families of those who have passed. We owe it to our loved ones, and to the loved ones of our friends and colleagues.
Like you, I have had to adapt to these unprecedented circumstances. As a scientist, I take epidemic outbreaks very seriously, and that is why we closed Rideau Hall at the outset of the pandemic to ensure the safety of our staff and the health of our visitors.
Like you, I have strictly minimized contacts other than through digital means. In fact, besides the duties that require my presence—such as granting Royal Assent to bills in Ottawa or paying tribute to fallen members of the Canadian Armed Forces in Halifax and Trenton — my movements have been, and will continue to be, restricted to essential work and to my responsibilities as the mother of a teenager, and as the daughter
and caregiver of elderly parents.
We all need to contribute and to try to make the best out of the situation, even if the public health restrictions are hard. This is not the time to let our guard down. Every single one of us has a role to play in fighting the virus.
And we Canadians have shown that we have this collective resilience. Please, for the good of all, stay home except for necessities and essential work, and minimize your travels and contacts.
We are in this together and we will meet again. Stay put. Stay distanced. Please take care.
Happy New Year!