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Notes for an address
by the Prime Minister Kim Campbell
Parliament Hill, Ottawa
July 1, 1993

We celebrate today the birth of our country; we affirm today our love of country and our faith in its future. We are reminded today that our country has been passed into our keeping, and is kept in the hearts and minds of our people. We are also mindful of how far we have travelled together, and how much we have yet to accomplish together.

Canada's first Prime Minister sought, unsuccessfully, to give women the vote. Today, a century after his passing, a woman stands before you as Prime Minister of Canada. Canada's first Prime Minister also sought, successfully, to bring British Columbia into Confederation. Today, I stand before you as Canada's first Prime Minister born and raised in British Columbia.

Our first Prime Minister saw a country that would be known for its generosity of spirit. And so it is. He saw a country that spanned a continent between the oceans. And so it does. From Signal Hill in Newfoundland, where I saw Canada Day begin, here in the Capital and across the river in Hull, to Vancouver, where I will be tonight, this day and this country cover six of the world's 24 time zones, the second largest country on earth. Sir John A. Macdonald's vision became his legacy, entrusted to each of his successors as Prime Minister and to all of us as Canadians.

Our Canada is an inclusive country, built by English- and French-speaking Canadians, together with our Aboriginal peoples, who were here first, and the millions who have come since from every corner of the world. And still they come -- one million people a year make inquiries about coming to Canada. And we welcome them still; we need their ability, we need their entrepreneurial spirit, we need their academic excellence, we need to be reminded, by their love of country, of our love of country.

This 1993 Canada Day marks our 126th year as a country. In the history of the world, that may be a relatively short period of time. But, throughout these 126 years of our common history, francophones and anglophones, Aboriginal peoples and new Canadians, have given to the rest of the world a unique example of all that can be accomplished through the respect of diversity and the sharing of aspiration.. Whether we say it in French with a Saguenay accent or in English with an accent from Newfoundland, and wherever we come from or wherever we live, we all share the most precious heritage that can be given to humankind -- our Canadian citizenship.

Canada is the homeland of equality, justice and tolerance. It is here that the meshing of two great cultures, further enriched by the contributions of our Aboriginal fellow citizens and the millions of men and women who have come from every continent, has allowed us to create one of the most prosperous and most dynamic societies in the world.

We Canadians are not given as a people to great patriotic displays, but when we think about it, few of us would change places with anyone else in the world, and most of us think of Canada as the very best country in the world. On this day, of all days, Canadians agree on that. It is for all of us to keep the sense of country that we feel on Canada Day, every day of the year. And to do that we have only to consider the abundant blessings of this country.

In the lifetime of the generation born since the end of the Second World War, our population has more than doubled to 27 million people. By the end of this decade, we will be 30 million Canadians strong. Between now and then we must prepare for the challenges of a new century, to assure that we maintain both our standard of living and our quality of life.

Canadians want for their children the same opportunities enjoyed by my own generation. These are compelling challenges for the 90s, challenges which can only be met if taken up by all of us as Canadians. And should we find the task somewhat daunting, we need only consider the difficulties overcome by the founders of our country. We need only remember that 126 years ago, Canada was born in a season of hope.

That is what we need in Canada now: a new season of hope. On this special day, my first Canada Day celebration as Prime Minister of Canada, I pledge to protect and nurture this hope, to devote all my energy and my abilities to building an even better Canada. I will need your help. But I am very confident of our success, because together, in the course of our 126 years as a country, Canadians have shown the world that the road to individual and collective success lies in our determination to maintain our competitiveness as a country and our solidarity as a society.

And today, I am very proud to say with you, Happy Canada Day! Bonne fête, Canada!


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