Message from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination March 21, 2006
March 17, 2006
As you know, it is so important to me that we break down solitudes, regardless of which barriers stand in the way: age, gender, ethnicity, language, religion, poverty, to name but a few. Racism and discrimination, which continue to be problems in our society, sink their insidious roots in the soil of ignorance and lack of understanding. They have no place in a society that prizes above all the values of respect, openness and sharing, which are paramount for me.
For over a century, people have been coming here from every part of the world to make a better life for themselves and their families. As they have pursued their dreams, they have enriched our entire country. Now, all of these diverse peoples live together in harmony, playing in the same parks, shopping in the same stores, studying in the same schools. It is an achievement that has eluded many cultures, and one that we Canadians sometimes take for granted. We all have a share in this achievement, which is why, on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we should celebrate our success.
At the same time, we need to build on that success, for there remains much work to be done. Together, we must find daily solutions to ensure that all citizens can take their rightful place in our society. I firmly believe that by breaking down the solitudes, we can demonstrate that it is possible for many cultures to live together, in one united community.