take on the responsibility of becoming Canada's 26th Governor General since Confederation,
fully conscious of the deep roots of this office, stretching back, to the Governors of New
France and to the first of them, Samuel de Champlain. In our beloved Georgian Bay, which
lies on the great water route he took from the French River to Huronia, there is a cairn,
placed on a small island, between a tennis court and Champlain's Gas Bar & Marina, which
commemorates his passage and quotes from his journal:
Samuel de Champlain
"As for me, I labour always to prepare a way for those willing to follow".
Those willing to follow have embodied the institution of the Governor General in ways which
have demonstrated the evolution and constant reaffirmation of this country. Canada's institutions
have never been static. They are organic - evolving and growing in ways that surprise and
even startle us. In a mere 30 years, between 1952 and 1982, we repatriated the Governor
Generalship and our Constitution. We adopted our flag, we formalized our understanding of
Rights and we strengthened and expanded the bilingual nature of our country. The Governor
General is one skein in the woven fabric of what Eugene Forsey characterised as our "independent
…As I take up this task, I ask you to embark on a journey with me. Together, I hope that
we will be able to do it with the Inuit quality of isuma, which is defined as an
intelligence that includes knowledge of one's responsibility towards society. The Inuit
believe that it can only grow in its own time; it grows because it is nurtured. I pray that
with God's help, we, as Canadians, will trace with our own lives, what Stan Rogers called
"one warm line through this land, so wild and savage".
And in the footsteps of Samuel de Champlain, I am willing to follow.
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