OTTAWA– As a new year dawns, we are filled with a renewed sense of hope.
In my installation speech, I spoke of a smart and caring nation. A nation of neighbours helping neighbours.
A nation where all Canadians develop their talents to their fullest potential.
A Canada that applies the knowledge of its citizens to improve the conditions of all at home and around the world.
I visited Afghanistan in the early days of my mandate. I saw a lot of despair, but I also saw Canadians helping and contributing their talents.
One of the Canadian signature projects in Kandahar province is to rebuild 50 schools and train the teachers. Ten years ago, there were fewer than 700,000 children going to school in Afghanistan. Today, there are more than 6 million, one-third of them girls, and counting.
Rebuilding schools and ensuring the peace that will permit boys and girls to have an education are key to reconstructing family life in Afghanistan.
We should be inspired by the courage, determination and conviction of our men and women in the Canadian Forces.
We think of them and the civilians working at their side to build a better society.
Looking back over the past year, we can see that there are many accomplishments for us to celebrate, like the 2010 Winter Olympics and its record 14 gold medals. As we embark on a new year, let us not forget our neighbour in need. Let us all work together towards a smarter and more caring nation.
My wife Sharon, my family and the Rideau Hall team join me in wishing you health, happiness and peace.
Governor General David Johnson