New Year Message

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New Year Message

Recorded at Rideau Hall, Friday, December 18, 2009

Dear friends,

The time has come for us to take a last look at the year that has ended and to wish one another our best for the New Year.

The economic disaster that threw the whole planet into turmoil in 2009 revealed the pressing need to strengthen the bonds of solidarity that unite us.

I believe that the financial crisis we have gone through together is also—and mainly—a crisis of values that urgently requires an ethic of sharing.

Everywhere I travelled this past year—from the Arctic to Acadia, from Europe to Central America—young people, women and men told me in no uncertain terms that they wanted a world that focused more on solidarity, a world that was fairer, more ecological and more peaceful.

I also very often had the impression that my journey was taking me on a path towards peace and reconciliation.

Here, in Canada, we have chosen to embrace the luminous promise of the truth and address the dark and painful chapter of Aboriginal residential schools, rather than push it from our minds.

For over a century, thousands of Aboriginal children were torn from their families, from their communities, from their culture, and subjected to forced assimilation and abuse.

Because of this, all of us were collectively dispossessed of the ancestral languages and cultures that are our deepest roots in this continent.

Over the next five years, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission will travel across the country, and I sincerely hope that you—Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike—will come out in great numbers to take part in this rendezvous with history.

It is Canada’s desire to seek the truth and to make amends that makes it a symbol of hope for so many people around the world.

It is a hope that begins in each of us and is propagated by each of our actions, here at home and abroad like in Kandahar, where our soldiers are facing innumerable dangers in the name of justice and freedom.

Hope for a better world, which we are building on a daily basis in each of our communities, in thousands of ways, by breaking down the solitudes that still—and far too often— separate us from one another.

It is in this spirit that we are preparing to bring Olympism to Canada in 2010, by welcoming the entire world to Vancouver to make the Olympic and Paralympic Games not only a unique opportunity to excel, but also a wonderful celebration of friendship.

My husband, Jean-Daniel, our daughter Marie-Éden and I would like to offer all of you our best wishes for peace, prosperity and happiness.