New governor general to focus on education

October 19, 2010
David Johnston
On October 1, 2010, David Johnston was installed as Canada’s 28th governor general. In his acceptance speech, the governor general spoke about his career as an educator and identified education as a focus of his term as the federal vice regal representative of Queen Elizabeth II.

Featured here is an excerpt from Governor General David Johnston’s speech.

We are a Smart and Caring Nation.

A nation where all Canadians can grow their talents to the maximum.

A nation where all Canadians can succeed and contribute.
But there is much work to be done to fully achieve our vision of a Smart and Caring Nation. I believe it is essential
• To support families and ­children,
• To reinforce learning and ­innovation, and
• To encourage philanthropy and volunteerism.

As many of you know, I have spent much of my career in the university world. As an educator and administrator, I have been privileged to spend much of my life around students, and I’ve often felt that I have learned from them. In my new role, I hope to work to serve as a bridge to the next generation.

[…]

We need to ensure that all Canadians have equal access to education and the opportunity to reach their full potential.

These opportunities must be available in both of our official languages. Our linguistic duality is a precious asset and contributes to our strength as a nation. I salute the ­Francophone and ­Acadian communities who ­continue to innovate, and find ways to ensure that French continues to thrive across the country.

I look forward to learning from Canadians as I visit their ­communities.

Anyone who has achieved any degree of success and been placed in a leadership position can point to dozens of teachers, mentors and coaches who have made them better persons along the way. In my case, they number in the hundreds.

During my term, we will find ways to properly recognize our teachers who are responsible for our intellectual development. If there is one trumpet call from my remarks today let it be “Cherish Our Teachers.”

I have always had great admiration for the teachers and educators of this country.

As we consider our vision for 2017, I ask “Can we have equality of opportunity and excellence too?” I believe that no nation in history has worked harder than Canada to ensure equality of ­opportunity. How do we square that with excellence as well? For me, the answer is through our public educational system which is the most inclusive in the world.

How do we ensure accessible education for all so that all ­Canadians can realize their full potential? And how do we reconcile universal access with stellar achievement? And how do we continue to innovate in order to compete with the world’s best? Innovation at its simplest is crafting a new idea to do things better. Innovation embraces both technological and social innovation. We want the same continuing commitment to excellence in our learning and research institutions that we saw in our Canadian athletes who brought us a record 14 gold medals at the 2010 Winter Games, we need the kind of innovation that has made “BlackBerry” a household expression.

We want to emulate our Olympic and Paralympic athletes by constantly striving for excellence in all that we do.
We want to be the Smart and Caring Nation; a society that innovates, embraces its talent and uses the knowledge of each of its citizens to improve the human condition for all.

When we set our sights together, we can do better and inspire each other to achieve great things.