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Yellowknife, NWT, Wednesday, September 6, 2017
As we begin, let me acknowledge that we are gathered for this ceremony in the traditional territory of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.
What a pleasure to be here in Yellowknife with all of you for this special presentation of Canadian honours. Today, we pay tribute to a small but dedicated group of truly remarkable, caring and dynamic Northerners.
It is wonderful to be back in this community and back in Canada’s North.
Samuel de Champlain once wrote of Canada: “It’s difficult to know this country without wintering there.”
The same can be said of the North: it’s difficult—impossible, in fact—to truly know Canada without knowing the North.
And that, of course, also means knowing the people of the North, wonderful people such as those of you gathered here today.
Today, we present some prestigious Canadian honours to some very deserving recipients.
The Meritorious Service Decoration, Civil Division, recognizes specific, outstanding deeds that bring great credit to Canada.
In a moment, we’ll hear about the exceptional work undertaken by Sheena Tremblay which led to her being awarded this medal.
The other honour we’re presenting today is the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.
This medal recognizes unsung heroes who dedicate so much of their time, energy and compassion to others.
Janet Diveky, David Kellett and Mickey Brown are receiving this medal today, and in a moment we’ll hear about their service to others as well.
Both the Meritorious Service Decoration and the Medal for Volunteers share a dual purpose:
To honour those who inspire us; and
To encourage more people to follow your example.
That’s why we’re here: to thank you, and to send a message to all Canadians that the values you project are the values of the country we desire.
As Canada turns the corner from its 150th anniversary celebrations this summer and looks ahead to the future, we need to see more examples of your brand of compassion, of creativity, of service to others.
What you do has a remarkable effect, as when a drop of dye is added to a glass of water. The effect is transformative.
As governor general, I have encouraged Canadians to join in building a smarter, more caring country for all.
You exemplify the values of the country we desire, and I thank you all for your efforts to help others and to build a better country.