Order of Merit of the Police Forces Ceremony - February 2024

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February 14, 2024


I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people who have lived on and cared for this land for thousands of years.

Welcome to Rideau Hall and congratulations to all those being invested and those being promoted into the Order of Merit of the Police Forces.

It is important for us to honour and celebrate the accomplishments of police all over the country. That is why we are here today.

All of you, no matter where you’re from or what your role is, have made commitments:                               

A commitment to your community.

A commitment to public safety.

A commitment to excellence and service.

You have consistently gone above your role when needed—acting as community ambassadors, social workers, paramedics and more.

Despite the challenges you face, you have all performed your duties with great honour and dedication. You represent the very best of what policing is and what policing could be.

We must also recognize the impact of your work on you and your families

Your families deserve our gratitude as well, because they also make great sacrifices. They also face challenges. And though they often face them silently and out of the public eye, it is no less important. To every family member here today, we applaud your resilience.

In your day-to-day roles, what you see and what you experience is hard and dangerous. It goes beyond any training or preparation, especially when you are face-to-face with a stressful or perilous situation, or when you hear of fellow officers injured or tragically killed while answering the call.

Earlier this week, Canadians heard the horrific news in southern Manitoba. The loss of life, particularly of those so young, was heartbreaking. It was another reminder of the scenes you may be confronted with, and how it can impact you and even your families.

It can have a direct effect on your mental health.

So I leave you today with one message: take care of yourselves. Take care of not only your physical health, but also your mental health. Get help if you need it. Encourage others to do the same.

We hear your stories, but few Canadians can understand what it means to walk in your shoes. There is a support system in this room. Take the time to share your stories with each other while here. Get to know each other. Learn from each other.

You are all officers of the law, sworn to protect and serve, and you take great pride in your work. Canadians take great pride in your accomplishments. You inspire us to do better, to be better.

Congratulations once again on your investiture in the Order of Merit of the Police Forces. Thank you for all that you do for our country and our people.

Thank you.