Michener Awards

June 14, 2024

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I am delighted to welcome all of you to Rideau Hall for the presentation of the Michener Awards.

Today, we acknowledge that we are gathered on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe people.

This acknowledgement is reconciliation in action. It is a reminder that we need to keep learning about Indigenous peoples, about Indigenous stories and views.

This is where you play a vital role. Journalists share stories about our country, including stories that highlight Indigenous voices. They share stories about past injustices faced by Indigenous peoples. They also share stories of the success and resilience of Indigenous peoples.

Your stories create dialogue and understanding. They also shine a spotlight on different perspectives.

This year’s finalists have used their investigative talents to influence change within our communities. Each story being recognized tonight has made a difference. Each of your stories demonstrated the importance of journalism.

In honouring your accomplishments today, and in supporting the work you do, we are recognizing the importance of Canadian journalism. 

As our digital world evolves—and as information and disinformation become even more rapidly circulated—we see the need for public service journalism to evolve with it.

The work that you do in this environment goes beyond reporting. Therefore, each of you must be adaptable, transparent and precise.

You must find new ways to serve the public interest while upholding the highest standards.

This is especially vital as we look to combat a rise in toxic discourse and misinformation, both on and offline. This increase of discrimination, racism and misogyny is concerning. Too often we have seen women as targets, or racialized Canadians, or members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community.

Too often we see journalists becoming targets themselves. 

What this does is drive people away from adding their voices and points of view.

At a time when we need more diversity in our institutions, we find people pulling away. When people do not feel they are safe to voice their perspectives, this has a devastating effect on our country.

I have encouraged Canadians to engage in the hard conversations, to meet in the middle, and to understand each other. That is what you do as well. You present the facts and you inspire Canadians to ask questions, and to hold our society to a higher standard.

Here, we see how you are not only succeeding at that, but also excelling at it.

Thank you for all that you do to promote understanding and respect. I hope you will continue to share the lived experiences of all Canadians.

There is no story too small.

To all the recipients of this year’s Michener Awards, I offer my congratulations.

Thank you.