'David Johnston is a true all-rounder'

The following is the prepared text of the Prime Minister’s remarks today on the occasion of the installation of Governor General David Johnston.

Professeur Johnston, au nom du gouvernement du Canada, et de tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes, j’ai l’honneur et le privilège de vous exprimer nos félicitations enthousiastes.

Dans quelques instants, une fois que vous aurez prêté serment solennellement, vous occuperez la fonction la plus élevée et la plus ancienne de notre pays.

Cette fonction remonte à celle qu’a occupée le gouverneur Samuel de Champlain au nom de la Couronne à Québec, il y a plus de quatre-cents ans.

Canada has always been a monarchy, and it has always had a Governor, styled Governor General since Confederation.

For Canada’s Monarch today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Professor Johnston, you will become her 11th Governor General, just as I am her 11th Prime Minister and Madame McLachlin, is her 9th Chief Justice.

Such constitutional milestones remind us all that Elizabeth II has reigned as Queen of Canada, our Head of State, for almost 60 years, an epitome of stability, continuity and service, for which, as was evidenced once again during the most recent Royal Tour, Her Majesty is held in great respect and affection by Canada and its people.

Professor Johnston, I know that you are conscious of all this, of the institution you will be called upon to represent, and the Sovereign who has graciously appointed you.

And I do believe that in just over a year, you will take special satisfaction from leading Canadians in celebration of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

En cette occasion historique, je me réjouis particulièrement de la présence de tous les autres représentants de Sa Majesté provenant de partout au Canada.

Aujourd’hui, nous célébrons donc l’ensemble de la Couronne canadienne, tout comme nous entendons vous rendre hommage pour les services que vous avez rendus et rendrez encore au magnifique pays qui est le nôtre.

Je saisis l’occasion pour remercier et féliciter votre prédécesseur, la très honorable Michaëlle Jean, pour son dévouement et son mandat exemplaire au service du Canada, chez nous comme à l’étranger.

Through her remarkable story, her extraordinary personal qualities and her tenure in office Michaëlle Jean has earned the lasting respect and gratitude of her country.

She will be remembered with affection and admiration.

Mesdames et Messieurs, nous sommes réunis aujourd’hui pour honorer un grand Canadien.

David Johnston représentera la Couronne non seulement avec une intelligence remarquable, mais également un caractère exceptionnel.

All through his life, David Johnston has been driven by the intense belief that service is not merely an option. It is a duty, an obligation of the heart that honour compels a man to accept.

He holds it to be so, whether the beneficiaries are his large and devoted family, the institutions at which he has worked, the wider communities in which he has lived or the country that he loves.

And, as he believes, so he has lived.

We know this with certainty, Because, for the first time, an expert and non-partisan advisory committee was entrusted with the search for a person in whom the important constitutional powers of this office and its dignified character could be well combined.

From their inquiries we are assured that many government agencies and business organizations have been strengthened by David Johnston’s wise counsel …

That the halls of academia have been enriched by his learning, and have acknowledged their debt through the granting of no fewer than 13 honorary degrees …

And that his neighbours, in the widest sense of the word, have been favoured through decades of exemplary and often demanding public engagement.

Compagnon de l’Ordre du Canada, David Johnston a mérité le respect de ses pairs et la reconnaissance de milliers de personnes.

And, while this son of Sudbury has an all-Canadian heart, I cannot let this moment pass without mentioning that in his youth, he left his mark at one of the world’s great learning institutions.

In the early 1960s, he captained Harvard’s hockey team and was twice elected first-team All-American. So, I guess when it comes to hockey, the best all-Americans are actually Canadians.

David Johnston is a true all-rounder.

Mesdames et Messieurs, je ne peux malheureusement énumérer toutes ses réalisations

aujourd’hui. Elles sont trop nombreuses et diverses mais voici en quoi il est constant:

Il incarne une éthique toute canadienne.

Le Canada est une terre habitée par des gens, qui ont mis de côté leurs origines diverses, et décidé, à partir d’une nature sauvage et sans pitié, de se construire un foyer, une communauté, un pays bénéficiant des libertés et de la protection de la Couronne.

By accepting our responsibilities, by assisting those in need and by working together, Canadians have built a society that is the envy of the world.

Service to family and community sustains us.

And service to country has shaped us, as we are reminded on every Remembrance Day.

This tradition of service will carry our beloved country forward into the future. And tradition, ladies and gentlemen, is the rope that binds the generations, past and future, the threads that form the fabric of society.

Sir, you have a great role to play as guardian of those traditions and of all that makes our country great.

Au nom de tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes, je vous remercie d’accepter cette fonction.

You will be supported by your wife Sharon, upon whom the burden of office will also fall, and to whom will therefore be due a generous portion of our gratitude and affection.

May you make it your first official duty to convey to Her Majesty, a message of our enduring loyalty and the warmth reserved for her in her Canadian home.

And, may the God upon whom we call to keep our land glorious and free, lead you and inspire you in your service to Canada.

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