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Governor General

 

Personal Causes of the Rt. Hon. Rom�o LeBlanc

"If I am to be known for anything, I would like it to be for encouraging Canadians, for knowing a little bit about their daily, extraordinary courage. And for wanting that courage to be recognized." Installation speech, February 8, 1995

As Governor General, Romo LeBlanc, had a number of causes that were close to his heart. While not officially part of his duties, they shaped how he carried out his mandate. Through many of his speeches, Mr. LeBlanc tried to bring more attention to voluntarism, the teaching of Canadian history, Aboriginal peoples, and peacekeeping and the military.

"Volunteers have enriched the lives of every Canadian, and asked nothing for themselves. Now we will honour the hidden helpers and the unsung heroes of Canada. It is time to give something back to the givers." Speech on the occasion of the "Unsung Heroes" winning design (Caring Canadian Award), November 21, 1995

 

Mr. LeBlanc strongly believes that Canada's greatness as a country comes from its citizens. He launched a new award -- the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award -- to recognize the everyday courage and dedication of ordinary people who have made extraordinary contributions to their families, communities or country.

"I am told that there is a proverbial phrase among the Inuit: 'a long time ago, in the future.' Let the children see our history, and maybe it will help to shape the future." Address to the Empire Club and the Royal Commonwealth Society, June 26, 1996

 

Mr. LeBlanc often commented that Canada is known for its generosity, acceptance and compassion, characteristics he credits, in part, to our unique history. Our settlers had to work together and pioneer as a community to survive in such a large, untamed country. Even as we go through difficult times as a nation, Mr. LeBlanc believes we will keep reaching out to one another, because history shows it is our way of doing things. But we can only learn these lessons through studying and teaching Canadian history.

"We owe the Aboriginal peoples a debt that is four centuries old. It is their turn to become full partners in developing an even greater Canada. And the reconciliation required may be less a matter of legal texts than of attitudes of the heart." Speech on the occasion of the presentation of the 1996 Native Role Models, February 23, 1996

 

Of course, there are groups in our history and in today's society that haven't always received fair treatment. Mr. LeBlanc placed great importance on the role of Aboriginal people in Canada. He advocated an attitude of generosity, so that the Canadian characteristics of acceptance and compassion that have impressed the world can help to heal the problems between Native peoples and non-Native peoples at home. As Governor General, Mr. LeBlanc proclaimed National Aboriginal Day, June 21, to recognize Aboriginal people, their culture, their history and how they helped build our country.

"We send our [peacekeepers] off to some disputed zone, full of local intrigue and power blocs and uncertainty and danger, and they are supposed to save lives not with their weapons, but through their competence and their character. And they do it." Speech on the occasion of the presentation of the insignia of the Order of Military Merit, February 5, 1997

 

Mr. LeBlanc, a strong supporter of the Canadian military, felt the members of our armed forces make unique contributions to our country and to the world, and they deserve our support and gratitude. "They have brought the courage of war to the business of peace," he has said. "Future historians will probably place peacekeeping among Canada's greatest gifts to the world."

More details can be found in his speeches.

Updated: 2010-07-16
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