October 26, 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 appointees.
And let me also congratulate you in my mother tongue, Inuktitut:
Since becoming governor general, I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many Canadians who embody the motto of the Order: “They desire a better country.”
Today, we learn your stories.
And when I saw your full citations, certain words kept appearing again and again:
Despite your differences, you are united by passion and by your desire to do good for your communities, our country and the world.
You are here because someone, somewhere, saw something in your accomplishments…something worthy of recognition…and they nominated you.
I encourage you to do the same for others.
I encourage you especially to do this for people who, historically, have been less likely to be nominated or recognized. Through all of you here today, we can reach far and wide into our country, so that the Order of Canada represents the full diversity and the full history of our rich nation. Through you, we will continue to grow and evolve.
When I look around, I see a room full of inspiration, influence, and experiences that are helping Canada tackle important issues, such as reconciliation, to name just one.
Reconciliation is in everything that I do, every action I take and every decision I make. It is one of my personal priorities, and it can also be applied to much of the work you are being recognized for.
I invite you to consider how reconciliation can be embedded in our daily work and lives, because you are leaders within many important circles of our society.
I ask this of you because 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 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.
Your investiture into the Order of Canada isn’t the last step, but just one more on your ongoing journey.
Once again, congratulations.