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Your Excellencies, Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Speaker, distinguished guests, and friends.
Let me begin by recognizing that we are on the traditional land of the Algonquin People. We acknowledge them as past, present, and future caretakers of this land.
Your Excellency, Ms. Simon – it is an honour to be here today as you become the representative of Her Majesty the Queen in Canada, our 30th Governor General.
In Canada, perhaps more than any other place on earth, we’re defined by our diversity.
We’re still a country that is in many ways, young and yet, Indigenous peoples have called this place home for millennia.
We are a country of vast Arctic spaces and busy city skylines, of prairies and coasts, of French and English, and of Indigenous languages.
This is a big place.
This is a diverse place.
And so we need people like Ms. Simon.
Because we need people who build bridges and bring us together.
An Officer of the Order of Canada and of the Ordre national du Québec. A leader in reaching Canada’s first land claims agreement and now Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General.
Your Excellency, your remarkable achievements are an example of what it means to build bridges in pursuit of the Canada to which we all aspire.
A Canada of diversity and inclusion,
A place where everyone is respected and where everyone can thrive.
That is within our reach because of leaders like Ms. Simon.
Countless young people had their lives changed for the better by Ms. Simon’s work on education,
For their part, parents will remember Ms. Simon as the fearless advocate who fought for Indigenous rights to be included in the highest laws of our land.
And while the world saw Ms. Simon’s work as an ambassador to protect Inuit Nunangat, we will follow her commitment to fighting climate change across the country.
Your Excellency, you remind us that true leadership is not measured in the honours or distinction stacked up behind someone’s name – although today you take on yet another title among many.
Rather, true leadership is measured in what you do for those around you. It is measured in an ability to reach out and build a brighter future for all, not just a lucky few.
In this moment of unprecedented change – of rebuilding from the pandemic, of fighting the climate crisis, of walking forward on the path of reconciliation – we need your vision of a stronger Canada for everyone.
A vision, as you say, of “collective progress towards building a more inclusive, just, and equitable society.”
Today, as our country takes this important step, I have no doubt that we have gained a leader who will ensure the change we see is one of hope, of justice, and of a brighter future we can all share.
Your Excellency, it will be an honour to work alongside you as you make this historic role your own.