October 20, 2021
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FRANKFURT, Germany —Hello. Bonjour. Guten Tag. (Inuktitut phrase by Her Excellency).
I am very proud and excited to be joining you for Canada Night at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Tonight’s showcase of literature, art, music and creative expression is an event more than two years in the making now, and it is a thrill to see it come alive.
Canada Night is all about immersing you in our “Singular Plurality.” We want you to see, hear and feel what it means to be Canadian. We want you to become part of our story.
Canada’s story is multicultural and multifaceted. It is our similarities that bind us together and the differences that make us strong, adaptive and progressive.
It reflects the ancient wisdom and truths of the Indigenous peoples who have forged an unbreakable connection with the land over thousands of years, just as it reflects the diverse perspectives of the many immigrants who have found a welcoming new home in Canada.
Our story is not just about “him” or “her.” It’s also about “they” and “them.” It is open to all ways of seeing, to every means of expression. It is inclusive to every way of “being.” Because every voice matters. Every perspective adds to our plurality. And every addition sharpens our singular vision.
Tonight, I invite you all to spend time listening to some of the voices that are adding to Canada’s story.
Coming up, you will hear readings and discussions with some of the brightest lights in Canadian literature about the issues and themes that drive Canadian literary perspectives and shape our world.
I hope that these conversations will allow you to sample the richly diverse and colourful palette of our nation, and also help you to discover how our stories intersect with your own.
Tonight, above all, I hope that a small piece of Canada will find a home in your hearts, just as it has in ours.
Finally, I want to thank the talented Indigenous artists who provided such a stunning opening for Canada Night.
For far too long, Indigenous voices, Indigenous stories, have been silenced, unheard, forgotten.
Canada has a responsibility to ensure that these voices are heard. We have a duty to listen to Indigenous voices and to learn from them. This is an important step on the road to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, a way to reconcile the pain of the past with the hope of the future.
I am so proud to see Indigenous artists leading the way tonight and in the spotlight where they belong.
Thank you for sharing your gifts with us and please join me up on stage to take another bow.