September 22, 2022
Check against delivery
I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered at Rideau Hall, which sits on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
Welcome to your new roles, ambassadors from Paraguay, Ethiopia, Georgia, Estonia, Egypt and France, and the high commissioner from Cyprus.
Our stories help define us, shape us into who we are. Collectively, our stories create communities and countries.
As governor general, I have the wonderful responsibility of learning and sharing the stories of all Canadians, and supporting them through challenging times. Now I’m proud to share those stories with you.
I urge you to learn Canada’s true history, the good and the bad, and learn about Indigenous peoples and diverse communities in Canada.
And make sure to tell your stories as well so we can better understand, respect and empathize with each other.
That is particularly vital as we face many global challenges.
One of the most vital threats we face is climate change and the increased impact of disastrous climate events. We saw an example of this with the recent devastation of Hurricane Fiona. And we’ve seen the results of a warming Arctic.
It’s within our power to change this destructive course, but we can only do so when we work together to heal our planet.
We also can’t overlook the effect of global conflicts.
Ukraine continues to struggle with the Russian invasion. Though we have heard many stories of resistance and bravery, the greatest impact is on the people who are experiencing unimaginable trauma.
Sadly, this isn’t the only place where fighting is taking place.
I would encourage us to place ourselves in the shoes of soldiers and volunteers risking their lives in battle. Think about ordinary citizens, about children and families hoping to stay safe. Hear the plight of people fleeing their homes to seek refuge in other countries.
These challenges aren’t easy. We may disagree and have hard conversations on what to do and the way forward. But they are necessary. Every step—every conversation we have, no matter how difficult—brings us closer to solutions, consensus, peace and security.
I just returned from London, where we said goodbye to a world leader who was a constant presence in our lives. Queen Elizabeth II devoted her life to service, and she believed in bringing people together. I extend that same message to you.
Our world is changing, but despite the challenges, I have hope that tomorrow can be better if we work together. How we address these challenges will determine our future. We can’t give up.
I hope that during your time in Canada, you have conversations with Canadians about these issues.
There is a word in Inuktitut: ajuinnata. It means a promise, a vow to never give up. It means committing ourselves to action, no matter how daunting the cause may be.
Let us commit ourselves to persevering against all odds for the good of our citizens and the world.
All of us are part of the solution, and I’m grateful to you for your support, your efforts and your continued friendship. We hope you experience all the wonder of our beautiful country. I know that our bonds will only deepen in the coming years.
Welcome to Canada.