December 7, 2023
Check against delivery
Before we begin, I would like to recognize that we are gathered on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people. In this way, we honour the first peoples of this land, who have been here since time immemorial.
Welcome everyone, and congratulations to today’s recipients.
Since becoming governor general, I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many Canadians who are improving their communities, and this country, through their contributions. People using ingenuity, interest, kindness and commitment to make things better. Their stories are inspirational.
And so I am honoured that today, we get to share your stories, stories of amazing people who are making Canada better every day.
Today, we are honouring you with the Meritorious Service Decorations, which recognizes your efforts to fulfil a specific need or service for our country or the world.
Every one of you here today—every recipient of the Meritorious Service Decorations—has experienced success.
And when others learn about what you have done … when your stories are shared … you will no doubt encourage and inspire them to pursue their own passions and dreams, with generosity, innovation, understanding and respect.
You have all done this in different ways. Your stories are diverse, as are the fields you work in. Yet, you are all improving the lives around you.
Your stories make clear that you are all united by your desire to do good for your communities, our country and the world.
A few people who will be honoured today are no longer with us, but we are so grateful that their memory, their stories, and their contributions will always be with us.
There are also a few recipients who are making incredible contributions while living abroad.
Together, you represent the collective power that comes from making a difference on a personal level.
The decoration you have earned is not the last step, but just one more on your journey. I look forward to seeing where you will go next.
Once again, congratulations.