Celebrate good fortune and remember shared values

GG05-2017-0293-001 August 8, 2017 Rideau Hall, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Julie Payette poses for her official photo in the Long Gallery at Rideau Hall, in Ottawa, Ontario, on August 8th, 2017, ahead of her installation ceremony as the 29th Governor General of Canada. Julie Payette pose pour sa photo officielle dans le Grand salon à Rideau Hall à Ottawa, en Ontario, le 8 août 2017, en amont de sa cérémonie d’installation à titre de 29e gouverneure générale du Canada. Credit: Sgt Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall, OSGG

Governor General of Canada’s New Year’s message

From our snow-covered national capital and the traditional territory of the Algonquin people, I salute you. In the Algonquin language: Nidanami kwak kakina anishnabek.

The holiday season is a time to reconnect with others, to rejoice, to take a break. But it is also a season to reflect on the months that have passed and to look forward to the New Year. And, since this is Canada and it is winter, why not get out there and enjoy the season!

In the past year, I have had the privilege of travelling to many places, and meeting extraordinary, talented people from all walks of life. From a Canadian submarine off Esquimalt, British Columbia, to Baffin Bay near Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut, to Signal Hill overlooking the mighty Atlantic in St. John’s, Newfoundland – I have travelled from coast to coast to coast.

Throughout the year we have honoured excellence. We walked communities.
We’ve been part of heartfelt conversations at Rideau Hall, at the Citadelle; from far and wide I listened and learned, and I was inspired by what Canadians accomplish for our country and the world, day in and day out.

Let me take the opportunity to salute everyone in uniform who served Canada at home and abroad.

Internationally, I visited troops in Ukraine and Latvia, cheered on our athletes at the Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics, travelled to the United States, to West Africa, and to Belgium where we marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War – the war that was supposed to end all wars.

Conflict is what happens when we collectively fail – when we fail to work together.

On the International Space Station, people of different nationalities and backgrounds work and live together in harmony. It is perhaps what we should replicate here on Earth more often. As the African proverb goes: if we choose to go alone, we might go faster, but when we go together, we go further.

Just a few weeks ago I was in Kazakhstan where I saw Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques launch into space. It was incredible. David is making us so proud and he is no doubt marking New Year’s Eve with his fellow astronauts in orbit – but with a wink to us earthlings.

Canadians are doing remarkable work everywhere. As Governor General it has been an honour to show my support, to forge new relationships, to foster collaboration, and to encourage exploration and new ideas.

We should never be afraid of the undiscovered or the uncharted, because curiosity fuels discovery and pushes the frontier of knowledge.

Truly, 2018 has been an unforgettable year. We live in a complex, ever-changing world. We share a magnificent planet: our common spaceship, Planet Earth.

We are privileged to live in this vast, beautiful country, Canada. So let us celebrate our good fortune and remember our shared values of openness and tolerance.

In this season, let us reach out to those in need, care for those around us, and let’s take time, always, to appreciate our loved ones and our communities, for they are most precious.

Happy New Year, Canada.

– Julie Payette