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From Governor General Adrienne Clarkson’s Installation Speech delivered in the Senate on October 7, 1999.

Image: Governor General I 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
by canoe

"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 sovereign democracy"…

…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.

Click for the full speech



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