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Statement by Prime Minister of Canada on the instalation of the 28 th Governor General of Canada

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the following remarks at today’s installation of Canada’s new Governor General, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston:

“Professor Johnston, on behalf of the Government of Canada, and of all Canadians, it is my honour and privilege to express our heartfelt congratulations. In a few moments, when you have been formally sworn in, you will hold our country's highest and oldest office, which dates back to that held by Governor Samuel de Champlain on behalf of the Crown that he represented in Quebec City, over 400 years ago.

“Canada has always been a monarchy, and it has always had a Governor, styled Governor General since Confederation. For Canada’s Monarch today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Professor Johnston you will become her 11th Governor General, just as I am her 11th Prime Minister and Madame McLachlin, is her 9th Chief Justice.

“Such constitutional milestones remind us all that Elizabeth II has reigned as Queen of Canada, our Head of State, for almost 60 years, an epitome of stability, continuity and service, for which, as was evidenced once again during the most recent Royal Tour, Her Majesty is held in great respect and affection by Canada and its people.

“Professor Johnston, I know that you are conscious of all this, of the institution you will be called upon to represent, and the Sovereign who has graciously appointed you. And I do believe that in just over a year, you will take special satisfaction from leading Canadians in celebration of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

“On this historic occasion, I am especially pleased that all of Her Majesty's other representatives, from throughout Canada, are in attendance. So today, we are all celebrating the Canadian crown together, just as we plan to pay tribute to you for the services you have rendered and are yet to render to this magnificent country of ours.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate your predecessor, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, for her dedication and her exemplary term of services to Canada, both home and abroad.

“Through her remarkable story, her extraordinary personal qualities and her tenure in office Michaëlle Jean has earned the lasting respect and gratitude of her country. She will be remembered with affection and admiration.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to honour a great Canadian. David Johnston will represent the Crown not only with remarkable intelligence, but also with exceptional character.

“All through his life, David Johnston has been driven by the intense belief that service is not merely an option. It is a duty, an obligation of the heart that honour compels

a man to accept. He holds it to be so, whether the beneficiaries are his large and devoted family, the institutions at which he has worked, the wider communities

in which he has lived or the country that he loves. And, as he believes, so he has lived.

“We know this with certainty, because, for the first time, an expert and non-partisan advisory committee was entrusted with the search for a person in whom the important constitutional powers of this office and its dignified character could be well combined. From their inquiries we are assured that many government agencies

and business organizations have been strengthened by David Johnston’s wise counsel. That the halls of academia have been enriched by his learning, and have acknowledged their debt through the granting of no fewer than 13 honorary degrees. And that his neighbours, in the widest sense of the word, have been favoured through decades of exemplary and often demanding public engagement.

“As a Companion of the Order of Canada, David Johnston has earned the respect of his peers and the recognition of thousands of people.

“And, while this son of Sudbury has an all-Canadian heart, I cannot let this moment pass without mentioning that in his youth, he left his mark at one of the world’s

great learning institutions. In the early 1960s, he captained Harvard’s hockey team

and was twice elected first-team All-American. So, I guess when it comes to hockey,

the best all-Americans are actually Canadians. David Johnston is a true all-rounder.

“Ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately I cannot list all of his achievements today. They are too many and too varied. But there is one constant: he embodies a fully Canadian ethic.

“Canada is a land inhabited by people who set aside their diverse origins and decided, out of a rough and unforgiving wilderness, to build a home, a community, a country that enjoys freedoms and the protection of the Crown.

“By accepting our responsibilities, by assisting those in need and by working together, Canadians have built a society that is the envy of the world. Service to

family and community sustains us. And service to country has shaped us, as we are reminded on every Remembrance Day. This tradition of service will carry our beloved country forward into the future. And tradition, ladies and gentlemen, is the rope that binds the generations, past and future, the threads that form the fabric of society. Sir, you have a great role to play as guardian of those traditions and of all that makes our country great.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I thank you for accepting this office.

“You will be supported by your wife Sharon, upon whom the burden of office will also fall, and to whom will therefore be due a generous portion of our gratitude and affection.

“May you make it your first official duty to convey to Her Majesty a message of our enduring loyalty and the warmth reserved for her in her Canadian home.

“And, may the God upon whom we call to keep our land glorious and free, lead you and inspire you in your service to Canada.”

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PMO Press Office: 613-957-5555

Julie Carmichael    10/1/2010


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