September 13, 2023
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Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that we are gathering on the unceded territory of Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral land of the Mi’kmaq people.
It’s a pleasure to be here. While this is far from being my first time in Nova Scotia, this is my first official visit as governor general. So thank you, Your Honours, for the warm welcome and for hosting us today. I truly feel right at home and among friends.
I know firsthand that there is something special about Nova Scotia. My husband Whit is from here, and we chose to make this province our home during the pandemic. But to return as Governor General is to see this beautiful province from a different perspective. I have a newfound appreciation for the wonderful work being done in this province.
The Lieutenant Governor, the Deputy Premier, Indigenous leaders, as well as so many others, took the time to share with me not only the challenges you are facing, but also how you are taking those challenges and turning them into successes.
Over the coming days, I look forward to learning more about innovative mental health initiatives across the province and engaging with members of the Canadian Armed Forces at the dockyards.
This visit is also about taking the time to celebrate the people of this province and acknowledge the history – good and bad – that brought us here. Whether in Pictou, with the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the Ship Hector, or at the Black Cultural Centre in Cherry Brook, which is marking its 40th anniversary, I want to recognize the beautiful diversity of people and perspectives that make this province so special.
This may seem like a very full schedule, but I want to learn as much as I can so that I can share your accomplishments widely with all Canadians.
I want to encourage your successes and your creative solutions.
Whit and I also want to acknowledge the very difficult summer Nova Scotia has experienced. Between wildfires and flooding, there have been so many challenges to the safety and well-being of the people of this province. But I have also seen how resilient you are, and how you are supporting each other through the worst of it. I want to hear about your efforts as you rebuild what has been lost, and as you begin to address the longer-term environmental impacts.
There is a word in Inuktitut, my mother tongue, which is important for Inuit that I want to share with you today: ajuinnata. It has many different meanings. It is a vow, a promise, to never give up. It’s committing ourselves to action, no matter how daunting the cause may be. If there is one thing I have learned about Nova Scotians, it is that they are filled with the spirit of ajuinnata. They don’t give up and they always show up when they are needed, even when it is hard.
As we strive to improve the world around us, let us all work together. Let us commit ourselves to change, to listening, to understanding each other and to embodying ajuinnata in all that we do. Let us build a community, a city, a province, a country of which we can all be proud. Where we can all thrive.
I’m grateful for what I’ve experienced so far and I look forward to continuing my visit in this wonderful city and beautiful province.
Thank you again. Your warm welcome is very much appreciated.