Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

March 20, 2009 11:33 ET

Message From Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on the Occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination...

... March 21, 2009

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 20, 2009) -

An important part of my responsibilities as governor general is to travel on official, State and working visits abroad. This sustained exercise in diplomacy on the world stage gives me the opportunity to see the degree to which Canada is renowned worldwide as a model of social cohesion. Other peoples around the world are fascinated by and interested in the harmonious way in which we co exist, with relative ease, in diversity. It is true that our country, because of its history, is a land of encounters and mingling of cultures. Canada contains the world and loves to celebrate this fact.

But for all that, have we succeeded in eliminating racial discrimination from our society? No. We strive to do so every day, and that in itself is to our great credit. Because as a society, we cherish the core values of respect, equality and justice; we recognize when racism rears its ugly head; we know its many guises, its devastating effects on individuals and society as a whole. In the words of visionary Martin Luther King, so many of us here in Canada love and dare "to sit down together at the table of brotherhood" to find antidotes to this deadly poison.

On this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the keyword is vigilance. We must never remain indifferent, never trivialize this reality, never lower our guard, whether in terms of access to education, healthcare, housing or employment, or the administration of justice. To eradicate prejudice, we must root out ignorance and seek every opportunity to engage in dialogue.

Each of us has a part to play in this. And if we are to succeed, we must work together.

Michaelle Jean

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