Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

July 01, 2008 15:04 ET

Her Excellency The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean: Speech on the Occasion of the Canada Day Celebration

UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL DELIVERED, CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

PARLIAMENT HILL, OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 1, 2008) -

I am thrilled to be here with you on this day of celebration, as our hearts are filled with joy.

Since 2005, I have crisscrossed this country from east to west, north to south.

And every time, I have been moved deeply and struck by how extraordinary this country is.

Extraordinary in its scale, so immense that it is difficult to take its measure.

Extraordinary in its plurality, in its diversity of languages, cultures, and the ways we inhabit, describe, see and shape the world around us.

Extraordinary in the ability of its citizens to care for one another and to share.

Extraordinary in its differences as in its similarities.

This country is brimming with endless discoveries to be made.

As I travel across Canada, I continually rediscover that the greatness of this country is embodied in each and every one of you.

In your day-to-day efforts to make it a better place to live.

We are all links in a greater human chain.

And together, we are writing the story that is Canada.

This year, two important anniversaries remind us of this as never before.

We are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the founding of the City of Quebec.

Four hundred years of strong French presence in the Americas.

Four hundred years of courage, stubbornness and daring.

And we are also celebrating the 250th anniversary of parliamentary democracy.

In 1758, in Nova Scotia, the first parliamentary assembly of its kind met in Canada.

The impact of that event, 250 years later, is tremendous.

Because today, through the efforts of those men and women, young and old, who fought so hard to establish democracy, we are able to pursue our hopes and dreams.

As commander-in-chief, I can tell you that it is because of that democratic ideal that thousands of military men and women leave everything behind-family, friends-to work to restore peace and stability in countries afflicted by years of violence and repression.

Democracy is an ideal for which we must strive and that we must never take for granted.

And it demands courage.

The courage to face some of the darkest, most painful chapters in our history.

On June 11, in front of millions of Canadians, words of sorrow and profound regret resonated right here, in the heart of Parliament.

On that day, all of us together-Inuit, Metis, First Nations and non-Aboriginals-joined hands in committing to bridge the gaps entrenched by years of injustice.

The time had come to break down the wall of indifference and re-establish the historic truth so that we could then take meaningful action to begin paving the way toward openness and reconciliation.

Our country is made up of every hope we cherish, every dream we share, every project we realize.

Our country, so rich in its sweeping landscapes and fertile soil, whose spirit the Aboriginal peoples shared with us, is a hymn to the beauty of the world.

Which is why I chose that song, "Hymne a la beaute du monde," as the theme of my installation ceremony and why I am so pleased that today, on this Canada Day and as we celebrate this year the 400th anniversary of the founding of the City of Quebec, the majestic voice of our own Diane Dufresne, accompanied by the young voices of Les Deux Rives choir, will carry that song into your hearts.

Happy birthday, Canada!

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