Governor General of Canada
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Bringing Canadians Together

Visiting Canadians. Meeting with Canadians. Bringing Canadians together to meet one another. Whether it's by plane, train, car, or canoe, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and His Excellency John Ralston Saul travel and re-travel the country from coast to coast to coast visiting Canadians. They stop in every province and territory, beyond the capital cities and continuing off the beaten track to visit Canadians on their farms, in their small towns in rural areas and northern communities.

The goal is to experience how Canadians live and listen to how Canadians see their home and their country. The Governor General uses these visits to speak to Canadians about Canadians and to open their eyes to the originality of the people, the land and the language as well as drawing out the similarities that gives us a sense of belonging to the larger Canadian community.

At least one week per month is spent outside Rideau Hall in Ottawa and La Citadelle in Quebec City, the official residences of the Governor General. While visiting different parts of Canada, the Governor General and His Excellency John Ralston Saul meet Canadians of all ages and all walks of life. They organize roundtable discussions on question of social justice and participate in school and community events. As part of the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of Canadian Governors General, Governor General Clarkson, for the first time ever, will preside over ceremonies to invest Canadians into the Order of Canada in four different cities across the country.

Events at Rideau Hall and La Citadelle also provide occasions for Canadians to meet and exchange ideas. In Februrary 2002, Rideau Hall was the site of the first-ever Governor General’s Youth Forum. More than one hundred high school students spent four days with the Governor General and His Excellency John Ralston Saul talking about challenges to community building and ways to involve more young people in their hometowns.

Since 1998, His Excellency John Ralston Saul has been bringing together French immersion and francophone students across the country for the annual French for the Future/Français pour l’avenir conference. The conference has grown from a one-community event in 1997 to a cross-country forum which links students in nine different cities from Vancouver to St. John’s. Through a video satellite link, students are able to interact with other French immersion and francophone students from across the country and share their experiences and thoughts on being bilingual in today’s society.

Through the annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Conference, His Excellency John Ralston Saul encourages Canadians to come together in a national debate around the future shape of Canada’s civic culture. By looking back at the historical context of our democratic roots, we are in better position as a society to discuss the way we imagine ourselves and our evolving democracy.

 

 

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