October 20, 2022
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I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are gathered here on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people who have lived on and cared for this land for thousands of years.
It’s with the greatest pleasure that I welcome you to Rideau Hall for this investiture of the Order of Canada.
The Order of Canada is our country’s highest civilian honour. It celebrates the lives, endeavours and success of people from coast to coast to coast and from all walks of life, those who take to heart the motto of the Order of Canada: “They desire a better country.”
Each of you being invested today has a unique story to tell.
And it’s a pleasure to share them with all Canadians.
Stories define us. They shape us. Our experiences, after all, make us who we are.
Rideau Hall is a place of stories. Many have come here to share what they’ve done, many have had their stories told.
Your contributions are as varied as your stories. You have made your communities better. You have improved the lives of people in Canada and the world. You have been innovative and generous; you have inspired; you have created; you have achieved national and international success through dedication and commitment.
And like many who have received honours in this space, you were nominated by someone who saw a lifetime of hard work worthy of recognition.
Today, you are invested into the Order of Canada, joining those who were invested before you.
We will read your stories out loud for everyone to hear, continuing a rich and long tradition.
A tradition that extends beyond these walls.
Indigenous peoples, for example, have told stories on these lands for centuries and longer, imparting history and legends, myths of creation and even practical advice on many issues, including how to live off the land. It is, in fact, a sacred tradition found in many cultures.
As Canada faces its own story—our true history with Indigenous peoples—Canadians will need leaders of compassion and heart to show us the road to reconciliation. The snowflake insignia you will receive is a symbol of achievement, but also of responsibility.
No matter where we come from, what languages we speak, what we believe, who we love, how we identify, we have in common a desire and an obligation to pass on our wisdom to the next generation. And also to listen to the wisdom of others.
You have done good in your communities. You continue to do good. You shape our society through your actions, helping others and creating a vision of success.
I hope one day to see a Canada that doesn’t just desire to be a better country, but is a better country. One where people can live side-by-side without judgment. One where reconciliation and healing and renewed relationships are thriving. Where people have equal opportunity, education and services. Where we take nothing for granted.
And where we respect our stories, our history, our differences, our truths.
You have already struck out on the path towards a better country, encouraging leadership, sensitivity and hope.
Let us all work together to create a truly inclusive and diverse nation—a nation of kindness—where we celebrate our differences without giving up who we are.
Your induction into the Order of Canada isn’t the last step, but just one more on your ongoing journey.
Allow me to congratulate you in Inuktitut, my mother tongue:
Congratulations for making a difference in our community and our country.
Thank you. Merci. Miigwetch. Nakurmiik.