Presentation of Canadian Honours (London, Ontario)
London, Ontario, Thursday, March 9, 2017
I am pleased to be here in the traditional territory of the Oneida of the Thames, Munsee-Delaware and Chippewas of the Thames peoples.
And it’s wonderful to be back here in London!
Sharon and I are very familiar with this city. It was home to our young family when I was dean of Western University’s law faculty from 1974 to 1979. We share many wonderful memories and friendships from that time, and we are so delighted to be home again.
Yesterday, I was on campus again, meeting with researchers, students and faculty, and learning about the great work taking place here.
We have also had the opportunity to interact with volunteers and so many others who have made a great difference in this community.
That brings me to all of you who have, through your actions and achievements, done so much for others.
Today, we honour you for meritorious service, for volunteerism, for bravery, for police work and for dedication to Canada’s North.
And we’re holding this honours ceremony here in London for one simple reason: Canadian honours belong to everyone, across this country, from coast to coast to coast.
This is an opportunity to share your stories, to celebrate local contributions and to connect with Canadians.
All of you are making this a better country, one day at a time, one remarkable act at a time.
Today, we say thank you for your compassion, for your excellence, for your sacrifices.
The Order of Merit of the Police Forces; the Decorations for Bravery; the Meritorious Service Decorations, Civil and Military divisions; the Polar Medal; and the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers all share a dual purpose:
To honour those who inspire us,
And to encourage more people to follow in your footsteps.
These honours—but more importantly, the actions they recognize—inspire others to get involved in their communities.
What you’ve done has a remarkable side effect, inspiring others who know you, as when a drop of dye is added to a glass of water.
The effect is transformative.
Your actions encourage us to strive for greater things and to pursue excellence.
And speaking of greater things, this year, as you know, we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canada.
I’ve been asking Canadians across the country: what will your gift be to your country this year?
I come bearing a suggestion!
None of these honours were presented by accident: each is the result of a nomination process begun by those who know you best, and who know how worthy you are of recognition.
So I ask: who inspires you in your communities? Honour them by putting their names forward, by nominating them for an award or decoration. Help us celebrate and encourage those who seek to make a difference—like all of you!
To our recipients, congratulations, and thank you for everything you do for Canada.
This brings to a close our presentation of honours today, and what a moving and powerful ceremony it has been.
I was so inspired to meet each of you, our recipients, and to have this opportunity to thank you in person for your efforts.
I’m also delighted to have presented these honours in the presence of your loved ones and so many others who care about building a better Canada.
To all of you, my thanks for your support for these remarkable individuals.
And a special thank you to Gerald Fagan—who I had the honour of investing into the Order of Canada a few weeks ago at Rideau Hall—and his wonderful singers for enriching our celebration with their delightful music.
I would also like to take a moment to once again put out a call for nominations.
Our country and our communities would not be the smart and caring places they are without you.
There are so many out there, like you, who are making this a better country. Help us celebrate them.
Thank you to all who have helped make today’s ceremony possible and to all of you for being here.
And congratulations once again to our deserving recipients.