Order of Canada Ceremony

May 2, 2024

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Welcome everyone to this presentation of the Order of Canada. Today, we gather at Rideau Hall, which sits on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe people.

In acknowledging the history of this land, we are recognizing the injustices faced by Indigenous peoples. We are also finding hope in the growing recognition and understanding of traditional Indigenous knowledge. May this acknowledgment remind us of our shared responsibility to honour the past, respect the present and create a better future for all.

When we lead with respect and understand, that is reconciliation in action, and it gives us great optimism for the future.

Reconciliation is hope.

Each of you being recognized today has contributed to a better future. From the very beginning, the Order of Canada has been about excellence. The very first ceremony in 1967 featured names like Maurice “The Rocket” Richard and Hugh MacLennan. There was also Kenojuak Ashevak, an Inuit artist renowned for her prints. And Isaac Phills, a steel worker who came to Canada from the West Indies and was the first Black Canadian to receive the Order of Canada.

Each of these individuals made this country better and their names are part of history. Now, as you are invested into the Order of Canada, your name also becomes a part of that history.  

And it’s not just your name. Today, I’m proud to learn your stories. I’m proud because you represent the diverse experiences that make up this country.

It’s important that we recognize that diversity. Every Canadian deserves to see their history, their experiences, their culture and traditions represented in the stories we tell. Diverse perspectives and voices are vital to creating an inclusive society. I’m glad we’re able to add yours to the Order of Canada.

You have forged your own paths, working hard to achieve the goals you set for yourselves.

You have become inspiring leaders, guiding us forward with your passion, sensitivity, kindness and compassion.

You have helped people, in Canada and around the world.

You have given hope to all those who need it.

Your investiture into the Order of Canada isn’t the last step, but just one more on your ongoing journey.

Thank you.