Governor General's Canada Day Message

OTTAWA, June 30, 2016 /CNW/ - They desire a better country.

That's the motto of the Order of Canada, which is of course the centrepiece of Canada's honours system and a reflection of what makes this country so great: its people.

Today, I want to borrow and adjust that motto a little as we celebrate and reflect on what makes Canada so special.

We desire a better country—that's what makes Canada so special.

Let me tell you why I think that.

I think of the past year, and the remarkable response of Canadians to the Syrian refugee crisis.

People showed extraordinary compassion and generosity in welcoming Syrians in their time of great need.

I think of the bravery and caring Canadians displayed during the wildfires in Fort McMurray.

In communities near to and far from the fires, people opened their arms to welcome those who were forced to flee their homes.

And from coast to coast to coast, people donated money and resources to help.

I think of the reaction of Canadians to the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and how we must demonstrate our commitment to a more fair, just and equitable society.

In communities across the country, people are listening, learning and pledging to do better in partnership with Indigenous peoples.

First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples themselves are bravely and resolutely building stronger communities and helping Canada to realize its full potential.

I think of the countless Canadians who are pausing to remember our veterans who courageously served and sacrificed 100 years ago in the terrible Battle of the Somme at Beaumont-Hamel. 

I have seen first-hand, in cities and towns across this vast land, all of these acts of kindness, of justice, of respect and remembrance taking place.

Welcoming refugees.

Fighting fires.

Striving for reconciliation.

Remembering veterans.

These are just a few of the reasons why I say:

We desire a better country.

These are challenging times, but Canadians understand how much we have in common.

And Canada is our common ground.

One year from now, we'll mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation, so let's keep desiring a better country for all.

What better gift could we give?

Happy birthday, Canada!

David Johnston

Please note that the video version of this message is also available on


SOURCE Governor General of Canada

For further information: Media information: Marie-Ève Létourneau, Rideau Hall Press Office, 613-998-0287,, Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter.

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890