Please note: Speeches appear in the language in which they were delivered.

Chancellor –

Il me fait grand plaisir d’être ici parmi vous pour cette occasion très spéciale.

I offer my sincere congratulations to all of the graduates on this important day of celebration.

Today’s assembly salutes the remarkable accomplishments of this year’s graduates, and marks a milestone for a new generation of men and women on the path of higher learning. Chancellor, thank you for granting me the honour of being among today’s graduates.

And it is a double honour to share the platform with Madame Monique Begin, the creator of the Canada Health Act, a friend a key advisor to me, and one of the finest individuals and most effective politicians in the history of our nation.

And now, specifically, to the graduates: I can share with you your satisfaction in completing your studies. After all, it was just only a few years ago that I myself convocated the first time. I have witnessed remarkable change since then – the institutionalization of medicare, the flourishing of multiculturalism, the emergence of an environmental consciousness, and the birth of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

My sense of accomplishment has been refreshed once again with the completion of the Royal Commission on Healthcare. In public policy, I have discovered that my efforts to improve the quality of life in Canada, although marked by occasional disappointment, have been a recurring source of personal fulfillment. Your educational experience has now equipped you with the capacity and duty to also act in the service of your country – to maintain and strengthen its unity, rich diversity, and compassionate nature.

Your education has provided you with knowledge and skills that you can apply in this world, but surely education’s underlying purpose must be to nurture the basic human qualities of self-awareness, curiosity,creativity, tolerance and justice. Together, then, these dimensions of learning will continue to bring happiness and purpose to your lives.

Dans une grande mesure, cette collation des grades constitue une confirmation concrète du succès de l'entreprise canadienne.Votre éducation a sûrement modelé votre identité.Le Canada s'en trouvera enrichi.

In large measure, your convocation is a concrete confirmation of the success of the Canadian enterprise. Your education has surely shaped your identity. Canada will be a better place for it.

Friends, we are citizens of a country that is already great. Your duty will be to continue to contribute to its future, positive evolution. This does not demand that you become active in political and public policy development, since the contributions of Canadians are manifested in so many different ways.

Like the contributions of my cousins -here today, first generation Canadians, like me – who answered the call of duty to preserve freedom during the second World War.

During the public hearings of the Royal Commission on health, I personally witnessed many Canadians exhibiting the individual courage of their convictions to speak publicly about their affliction or ailment – not easy to do, but always in the context of how their experience could be translated to improve the lives of others.

A young woman in a wheelchair and able to communicate only through a computer has written two plays and is completing her doctorate in literature, demonstrating the spirit of life and her determination to contribute creatively to Canada’s cultural tapestry.

A young lawyer, afflicted with cystic fibrosis, expressed his hope that the science of tomorrow will permit him to continue the pursuit of law.

A young mother, having lost her son at the age of seven to cancer, came forward to plead for a program of palliative care for children in similar situation as her son, demonstrating her concern and compassion for all.

Gripping, tearful, yet these stand as inspiring and uplifting examples of the different ways in which we all can make Canada’s future brighter.

Au cours de ma vie publique, mon optimisme a été constamment renforcé par la voix et les actions des jeunes canadiens. Plus que les générations précédentes, vous avez pris pleinement conscience de la valeur intrinsèque d'une société courtoise et décente, des conditions préalables à la paix, et de la nécessité impérative de respecter l'équilibre naturel et la beauté de l'écologie terrestre.

Throughout my public life, my optimism was consistently boosted by the voice and the actions of young Canadians.More than any preceding generation, you are endowed with a marvelous sense of the inherent value of a civil and decent society, the preconditions of peace, and the imperative of respecting the natural balance and beauty of the earth’s ecology.

That’s why I’m so honoured to be a part of your convocation today. Each one of you, and certainly all of us together, can accomplish miracles in our communities, in our country, and as global citizens.Perhaps, one could describe this as “re-working the miracle” of Canada– the miracle of a diverse nation of people from many cultures and backgrounds, of two official languages, of large distances and great natural beauty, of pride of place in the international community, and of great opportunity for all.

Songez aux paroles d’Albert Camus, « La vraie générosité envers l'avenir consiste à tout donner au présent. »

Think of the words of Albert Camus, “True endowment for the future starts with giving everything now.”

Continue in the spirit and words of Tennyson, “Come my friends, tis not too late to seek a newer world.”

Merci encore pour cet honneur spécial et bonne chance!!

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