Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

June 12, 2007 13:56 ET

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean: Speech on the Occasion of a Visit to Wunnumin Lake, Ontario, Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WUNNUMIN LAKE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 12, 2007) -

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I cannot tell you how happy I am to be here with you today. It is a great privilege to meet you.

Thank you very much for this warm welcome; and thank you especially to the young people who told me one of your community's amazing legends.

I was born in Haiti, a country of many legends, and I know what they mean to the people who keep them alive.

These legends are one of Canada's greatest resources. They are the very first expressions of our collective imagination.

I want you to guard them closely and I would like every Canadian to have access to their wisdom and beauty.

Everywhere I go-within Canada and around the world-I will tell people about the legend that you have shared with me.

I will tell them about the young people here who are determined to help their culture and community thrive.

Young people who want to face the future with confidence and who want to find a way to proudly take control of their own destinies.

Your efforts to maintain Aboriginal traditions, experiences and languages help enrich the lives of the entire population of Canada and are a symbol of hope for people all over the world, people who, like you, are working hard to preserve their culture.

The disappearance of a language is a tremendous loss, not only for us, but for humanity itself.

You have a huge and crucial responsibility. And it is exactly that: a responsibility.

It is your responsibility to keep a glimmer of hope alive for so many people who may sometimes feel as though they are lost in the dark.

I am the mother of an eight-year old daughter, and I want her and all children in Canada and around the world to be able to blossom.

That is why I have made young people my greatest priority.

I sincerely believe that the future of your community, of our country and of our planet is in your hands, and that we must prepare you to take over the helm.

Your ideas, your dreams and your concerns are of great interest to me.

Think about what communities in Northern Ontario really need and do not hesitate to dream big.

What do you need? Doctors? Nurses? Teachers? Engineers? Architects? Poets? Mechanics? Plumbers? Carpenters? Foresters? Lawyers?

You could do that. Or you. Or you. It has to be you.

And it has to start right here.

You are extremely fortunate to have a school.

The education you receive here is invaluable and the best way to succeed.

Remember that there are so many children in this world who are denied any education.

I like to tell people what my grandmother used to tell me: education is the doorway to freedom. And today I know how right she was.

It is at school that you gain knowledge, establish friendships that sometimes last a lifetime, learn to better yourselves and your community, open yourselves to new ideas, and invent the future.

I have also come here today to ask for your help. Yes, your help.

I want us to work together to break down the prejudices that are formed when people fail to understand.

I want you to show Canada and the world what you are capable of achieving.

And I especially want you to be examples to young people everywhere who need hope and who want to believe that anything is possible when you work hard.

I know I can count on you.

And in return, I want you to know that you can count on me to support you in all your efforts.

I brought you a gift.

I brought you books, because as Lieutenant-Governor Bartleman has surely told you, books contain a wealth of knowledge.

I brought something else as well.

I brought soccer balls, frisbees and footballs; always remember to aim for the sky.

Contact Information

  • Rideau Hall Press Office
    Isabelle Serrurier
    613-998-7280
    www.gg.ca