Official visit to Prince Edward Island – Reception

September 12, 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 in Prince Edward Island. Thank you, Your Honour, for the warm welcome and for hosting us today.

I feel right at home and among friends.

Let’s be honest. The world is enchanted by PEI. The rugged cliffs and red sandy beaches. The mariner culture that is so deeply ingrained into your lives and culture. But what I want the world, and the rest of Canada to see, is that there is wonderful and innovative work being done in this province. 

When I met with the Lieutenant Governor and the Premier, and many of you, I learned that the province is facing challenges that you are meeting head on.

I also met with Indigenous leaders and visited the Abegweit First Nation to learn about their sustainability initiatives and to see the efforts to enhance the river system and biodiversity at the hatchery. There is so much to learn and to share when Indigenous knowledge is combined with scientific research to help innovate. Sharing these successes with Canadians is important for reconciliation – showing the value that we each bring to this country when we learn and work together.

I have heard from many of you about the impact climate change has had in this province. We are almost one year removed from Hurricane Fiona, but the effects of this disaster are still being felt. There is no doubt that the hurricane changed this province. I have appreciated learning about its continued impacts so I can share your efforts to preserve and rebuild your community, and to heal this planet, as I meet with people across the country.

I have been so impressed with the many Islanders committed to healing – healing the environment, healing their communities, healing those struggling with mental health and addiction.

Tomorrow, I finish my visit to PEI talking with youth to hear their perspectives on these issues. I learn so much from my discussions with young people – they fill me with hope and inspiration.

This may sound like a very full schedule, but I wanted to learn as much as I could so that I can share your accomplishments widely with all Canadians! 

I want to encourage your successes and your creative solutions.

There is a word in Inuktitut, my mother tongue, which is important for Inuit and that I want to share with you today: ajuinnata.

It has many different meanings. It is a vow, a promise, to never give up.

Over the last few days, I have been struck by how much ajuinnata is found in Islanders. You commit yourselves to action, no matter how daunting the cause may be.

As we strive to improve the world around us, let us all work together, in the spirit of ajuinnata. Let us commit ourselves to change, to listening, to understanding each other. Let us build a community, a city, a province, a country of which we can all be proud … where we can all thrive.

Let’s work together to build a country where we can all succeed.

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.