Magazine article Canadian Speeches

Blessing of Canada's Diversity

Magazine article Canadian Speeches

Blessing of Canada's Diversity

Article excerpt

ROMEO LEBLANC

Governor General

It is not in spite of cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity that Canadians have achieved one of the world's very few democracies born and nurtured in peace and tolerance rather than violence and bloodshed, but rather because of that diversity. Speech on the occasion of the Order of Canada investiture, Rideau Hall, Ottawa, May 7, 1998.

We are here to celebrate some 40 outstanding Canadians who today will be invested into the Order of Canada. You, whom we honor, are joining a distinguished company.

Over the last 30 years, nearly 4,000 Canadians have become members of the Order. All have contributed to making this a better country. But, like you, each of them did it in his or her own remarkable way. Let me mention one aspect of the Order, and of our country.

The members of the Order of Canada are as diverse as musicians and physicians, athletes and poets, business people and bush pilots. They are diverse not only in their activities, but in their cultures, traditions, and ethnic backgrounds.

That diversity has helped to make this one of the most fortunate countries on earth. Fortunate not just because of our vast and beautiful land, but because of what we have achieved together.

And what have we achieved? For one thing, a stable and long-lasting democracy. It was 150 years ago that responsible, democratic government came into being, first in Nova Scotia and then in Upper and Lower Canada, where Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Fontaine led the struggle.

The world knows few democracies older than ours. It knows fewer still where democracy has prevailed for a century and a half with so little violence and bloodshed. Most nations were forged in the fire of conflict. Canada was forged in peace.

Some say that this has been achieved in spite of our great cultural differences. …

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