Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

June 30, 2008 15:42 ET

Message From Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on the Occasion of Canada Day-July 1st, 2008

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 30, 2008) -

Dear friends,

For almost three years, I have served as governor general.

This time with you has flown by!

When I look back over the road I have travelled, I see it as a journey.

A journey that has taken me from one end of this extraordinary country to the other.

As I travel from coast to coast to coast, I continue to gain a better understanding of the realities within our borders.

And the more I listen to the concerns and to the ideas that Canadians share with me, the more I see that the greatness of Canada is embodied in each and every one of you.

In your day to-day efforts to make this country a more just and more human place to live.

We must not be afraid to dream big.

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

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

Four hundred years ago, the French language and culture first set down roots in this land-and in the hearts of those living here.

And four hundred years later, this strong French presence is an incredible resource that we should all treasure and celebrate.

One hundred and fifty years after the founding of the City of Quebec, the wind of freedom blew in from the East and swept across the country.

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

That event marked the birth of parliamentary democracy, and 250 years later, we are celebrating that momentous occasion.

As commander-in-chief, I can tell you that it is because of that ideal of democracy 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.

Let us remember, on this July 1, that democracy can never be fully achieved.

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

That it also demands courage.

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

We are in the midst of recognizing one such chapter.

Of taking an honest, sober look at the residential school system where, for over a century and until just recently, thousands of Aboriginal children were locked away, stripped of their culture.

On June 11, in front of millions of Canadians, words of sorrow and profound regret resonated 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.

The country we are celebrating today is made up of every hope we cherish, every dream we sow, every project we realize.

We must continue to enrich it with our unique contribution.

Happy birthday, Canada!

Michaelle Jean

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