Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

December 28, 2007 10:23 ET

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, New Year's Message, Recorded at Rideau Hall, Wednesday, December 5, 2007

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 28, 2007) -

Dear friends,

As 2007 draws to a close, our thoughts turn to the New Year, a year filled with hopes and dreams.

Our perspective must now encompass the whole world, and this openness requires even greater solidarity.

This call for solidarity was one of the main reasons Canada joined the multinational reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.

As Canadians, we are inspired by the courage, determination and conviction shown by our soldiers overseas, women and men facing many dangers, often at great personal risk.

We think of them all so often.

We think of those wounded in action-some even disabled for life-soldiers who deserve more attention.

We think of the women and men for whom we still mourn, those who have left a hole in our hearts.

We think of the families of the fallen, and the families that have a father, mother, son or daughter currently stationed in Kandahar.

We hold all these people in our hearts.

In my travels across Canada and around the world, I hear the same message again and again: the time has come for us to focus on our solidarities rather than our differences, or even our indifferences.

I have heard the echo of this message throughout the Americas.

At the recent swearing-in of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner as President of Argentina, I once again met a number of Latin American leaders, leaders who share this vision of openness and cooperation.

The Americas know how important it is to create stronger ties and to find ways to work together more often.

And the young people I met at the Urban Arts forums I held in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary all expressed this same desire to build bridges, they shared this same thirst for solidarity.

I also held an Urban Arts forum in one of Rio's most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and I was thrilled to see young people from Canada and Brazil working side by side in that same spirit.

I made note of their solutions to fight social exclusion, isolation, prejudice, racism and violence.

The present and future are shaped by these commitments, these dreams and projects that have been brought to life by the builders of today and yesterday.

Four hundred years ago, Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City.

There has been a French presence in the Americas for 400 years.

It took great determination-you might even say stubbornness-to bring a new language and culture to this continent and to help them take root in the hearts and minds of the people living here.

That is what we will be celebrating in 2008, and I hope every Canadian will take great pride in recognizing this important chapter in Canada's history, our collective history.

It is a history that we continue to shape in each of our actions.

We must honour the women and men from all across this land who use their knowledge, creativity, vision and passion in the service of their fellow Canadians in every field imaginable.

And we do so by bestowing them with the Order of Canada-an honour created 40 years ago-with the conviction that each and every one of us is responsible for creating a world in which we can all live better lives together.

It is up to all of us to create the world we want to live in.

At the dawning of 2008, my husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, our daughter, Marie-Eden, the entire team at the Office of the Governor General and I would all like to wish you a very Happy New Year.

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