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Speech – Reception hosted by Province of Newfoundland and Labrador

Press Release

July 2, 2024

I am delighted to be here with you in Newfoundland and Labrador on my first official visit to the province.

Let me begin by acknowledging the history of this region. We are gathered on the traditional, unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw peoples. As well, I acknowledge the diverse histories and cultures of the Beothuk, Mi’kmaq, Innu and Inuit of this province. In this way, I hope to honour all our First Peoples. This is a sign of reconciliation in action, which is a lifelong journey.

This year, we are celebrating 75 years since Newfoundland and Labrador joined Confederation. This anniversary is a time to celebrate the past and to look towards the future. Newfoundland and Labrador continues to be leaders in innovation in such areas as sustainable development and ocean science.

These regional visits are an important way to highlight success stories that address local and national issues. I’m also delighted to learn about stories that highlight innovation and that evoke national pride.

For example, I was pleased to learn about the province’s efforts to improve seniors’ health care. It is critical to improve access to support services and to strengthen the workforce. These improvements will go a long way to sustain the health of this vulnerable group in Canada.

I was also pleased to read about Newfoundland and Labrador’s programs to attract and retain healthcare professionals. They are at the core of the country’s health care system.  Whether they work in community, in hospitals or in homes, we need them.

While here, I’m going to meet with people who are supporting vulnerable communities. I’m going to speak with young people about sustainable solutions for our future. I’m going to bring experts on mental health together to share best practices. It’s important to raise awareness and to reduce the stigma of mental health through these conversations.

I also want to share your individual success with the rest of Canada. To that end, I am proud that we will be presenting national honours to a few deserving people in a few moments. Your commitment and dedication to making Canada a better place is remarkable.

Yesterday, I had the honour of participating in Memorial Day events. First, the military funeral and reinterment of the Unknown Newfoundland Soldier. Second, the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Newfoundland National War Memorial.

This was an emotional day. It was a poignant reminder that remembrance is a collective responsibility. It was also a reminder that we must not wait to thank our veterans and our serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces. We owe each of them a great debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifice. I thank all of them, today and every day.

I would also like to acknowledge the ongoing and devastating wildfires in Labrador West. Like many in the community, province and country, my heart goes out to those who have been affected.

I have witnessed the impacts of wildfires on many communities across the country. But I also see the resilience. I see people coming together with kindness and compassion. It inspires me, and I want to share these stories with the rest of Canada.

I wanted to leave you with a word in Inuktitut that is important to Inuit. That word is ajuinnata, which is a vow, a promise, to never give up.

It’s committing ourselves to action, no matter how daunting the cause may be.

Let us commit ourselves to change, to respectfully listening, to understanding each other and to embodying ajuinnata in all that we do. Together, let us continue to build a country we can all be proud of.

Thank you.


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