23 January 2009
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank Her Excellency for presenting once again the Outstanding Achievements Awards, the highest honour in the Public Service of Canada.
Those who choose public service as a career do so with the earnest desire to make their country better – to advance the common good through application of the principles of integrity, fairness, transparency, and respect.
Canada has long been exceptionally well served by the thousands of professional and non-partisan public servants who have dedicated their careers to these values.
Today we are honouring three individuals who not only epitomize these values, but who have also endowed them with a record of exceptional achievement.
For nearly four decades, Margaret Bloodworth has diligently served her country, excelling in every position she has held, and being an inspiration to women seeking leadership roles within the Government of Canada.
As the Deputy Minister of Transport, Mrs. Bloodworth demonstrated extraordinary leadership during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
In the aftermath, she was responsible for implementing enhanced security and intelligence measures across Canada while, at the same time, safeguarding open commerce and human rights.
As the first Deputy Minister of the newly created Department of Public Safety, she spearheaded the development of Canada’s first National Security Policy.
Most recently, Margaret served as my National Security Advisor.
The next recipient being honoured today is Dr. Steve MacLean.
Throughout his career, Dr. MacLean has inspired his colleagues with his vision of Canadian leadership in space.
He has been in orbit twice, both times showcasing the Canadian technology he helped to pioneer: and in 2007, he became Canada’s Chief Astronaut.
Now, as the new President of the Canadian Space Agency, he will be responsible for the creation of a long-term plan for Canadian space exploration.
With a proven record of leadership in orbit and on the ground,
I am sure he is up to the challenge.
Our final recipient, Dr. Ian C. P. Smith, has devoted more than forty years to improving people’s lives and establishing Canada as a leader in science and innovation.
He is recognized internationally as a leader in medical-imaging research.
Under his direction, the National Research Council’s Institute for Biodiagnostics has become a world leader in spectroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, and diagnostic tools.
The Institute itself has generated several spin-off companies.
Dr. Smith’s approach of collaboration with research, clinical, academic, and industrial organizations has drawn attention to Canadian scientific leadership across the country and around the world.
On behalf of the Government of Canada, I’d like to congratulate Margaret, Steve, and Ian on having been singled out.
The recipients are among an elite number of public servants who have been nominated by their peers and subsequently ranked highest by the Selection Committee from among the very best.
These three individuals exemplify a standard of excellence to which we should all aspire.
As public servants, we are all facing a challenge unlike any seen many generations.
Now more than ever, Canadians are looking to their government, the political leaders they elected and the professionals who support them, to navigate our country through these tumultuous times.
Deriving strength from our commitment to our great country, and drawing inspiration from the careers of these individuals, we will dedicate ourselves to doing just that.