SPEECHES FROM LXXXVII CONVOCATION:

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Speeches from: Commandant; Principal; Minister National Defence; & Governor General

COMMODORE WILLIAM TRUELOVE:

What a wonderful looking crowd and what a wonderful day at the Royal Military College of Canada, and the graduates are looking very fine. Your Excellency, Minister MacKay, Mr. Stevenson, Dr. Sokolski, members of Senate, faculty and staff, distinguished graduates, families and friends and most importantly, the class of 2010, welcome and good afternoon.

Après quatre années exigeantes, le grand jour est enfin arrivé. Comme il n’y a pas d’examen après la cérémonie, je vous invite à vous détendre et à savourer le moment présent. Vous le méritez bien. En qualité de commandant du Collège militaire royal, je suis ravi de célébrer cette journée mémorable avec vous et de saluer les très impressionnantes promotions de 2010.

And I do so cognizant of our men and women who are today engaged in combat and with deep sadness on the recent death of Colonel Geoff Parker, a master ‘ s degree graduate of the Royal Military College. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family this afternoon.

J ‘ai le grand honneur d’accueillir nos récipiendaires d ‘un grade Honoris Causa, notre commandant en chef, son excellence Michaëlle Jean et un ancien du CMR, M. Larry Stevenson. Nous vous remercions de vous honorer de votre présence  aujourd ‘hui et du soutien constant que vous apportez au Collège militaire royal.

A special welcome to our Chancellor, the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Peter MacKay. Sir it is always a pleasure to have you with us and we certainly appreciate your tremendous support and commitment to RMC and to the men and women of the Canadian Forces.

J ‘aimerais également saluer le recteur du collège, M. Sokolsky, nos distingués collègues du sénat et tous les membres militaires et civils du corps professoral du CMR. Alors que vous regarderez défiler les finissants de 2010, soyez très fiers de tout ce que vous avez accompli pour aider ces incroyables leaders à atteindre cet important jalon. Je suis très reconnaissant de votre dévouement envers les étudiants que vous avez aidé à exceller et envers le Collège militaire royal du Canada.

To the graduates, please a round of applause for the faculty that have given you such a tremendous education. Let me also acknowledge and thank the representatives of the RMC Club and Foundation for your presence and for your essential support that your organizations provide to the college. You are what allows us to achieve the margin of excellence that these graduates represent, so thank you very much.

As I look out over the crowd, I see the moms and dads, the husbands and wives, the friends and families of the graduates beaming with pride and rightly so because you too have passed another year of school. Well done and congratulations. Today marks the end of a journey for you also, unique I ‘m sure for each and no doubt filled with some moments of doubt and concern along the way. It is impossible to overstate the importance of family in a military career and we can never thank our families for all that they do to allow us to be successful in our service to this great country that we have the privilege of living in. And so on behalf of the class of 2010 and the Canadian Forces, let me say to all the families thank you. Let ‘s have a round of applause for the families.

J ‘aimerais maintenant m’adresser aux diplômés. Félicitations. Brenda et moi sommes très, très fiers de vous. Pour réussir à obtenir votre diplôme, que ce soit un baccalauréat, une maîtrise ou un doctorat, vous avez dû donner le meilleur de vous-même et satisfaire aux normes les plus élevées. Le CMR est l’une des meilleures institutions du Canada et compte parmi les meilleurs collèges militaires du monde. Ce haut niveau d’excellence a été confirmé une fois de plus cette année, non seulement par les résultats exceptionnels obtenus par nos diplômés mais également par                 l’ incroyable succès remporté par les étudiants du CMR dans les activités et les concours tant nationaux qu’internationaux dans tous les domaines d’étude.

For the majority of the graduates, the officer cadets of the class of 2010, you were required to achieve academic excellence while also progressing military training, physical fitness and ensuring that you obtained the required level of bilingualism. We filled your days and demanded a great deal. Indeed, no other institution in Canada makes such demands of their students and you met them all with excellence. Bravo Zulu to you all.

As a result of this success and on completion of your commissioning tomorrow, you will move on to the next phase of your careers where you will lead the men and women of our Canadian Forces. Your nation has invested a great deal in you and now they look to you as they have the many generations before you to serve with distinction and I have the greatest confidence that you will do exactly that. To achieve this however, you must never stop learning. Today marks the beginning, not the end of your education.

The world in which you will serve as young officers is one of rapid change and great uncertainty. To be successful, you must remain engaged and informed. So as I noted in our final session together last week, I encourage you and challenge you to read as a matter of habit a newspaper every day, a quality magazine every week and a book a month and I encourage you to do that in both official languages throughout your life. Never stop reading, never stop seeking knowledge, never cease your education because there is so much more to learn.

Pour conclure, félicitations à vous tous pour le travail accompli. Vous avez haussé la barre et vous reflétez ce qui est si merveilleux à propos du Collège militaire royal du Canada. Merci de vos efforts, de votre engagement et de votre dévouement. Et surtout, je vous remercie de servir le Canada et les forces Canadiennes.

Brenda and I wish you every success in the future.

Mr. Chancellor, as the Commandant and Vice-Chancellor of the Royal Military College, it is indeed my great pleasure to present to you the class of 2010 with my strongest endorsement sir. Thank you.

DR. JOEL SOKOLSKY:

Votre excellence, monsieur le chancelier, M. Stevenson, mesdames et messieurs du sénat, collègues universitaires et militaires, membres du personnel civil, amis et familles et surtout chers étudiants et étudiantes auxquels nous sommes sur le point de conférer un diplôme, soyez tous les bienvenus à la collation des grades et remise des diplômes au Collège militaire royal du Canada.

We are gathered here today to mark the culmination not only of individual achievements on the part of our students and to honour two great Canadians for their contribution to the nation, but also to reaffirm the fulfilment of the university solemn obligations. At the Royal Military College of Canada, we are in no doubt as to what those obligations are. As a university, we are above all pledged to the free and independent pursuit of knowledge and its transmission to the wider society.

But in that broader endeavour, one that we share with students and scholars at all times and in all places, we have special obligations, for we are charged by the Government of Canada to provide the academic leadership in identifying and meeting the educational and professional development needs of the commission officers and non-commission members of the Canadian Forces and preparing and motivating officer cadets for effective service through the design, development and delivery of a curriculum of undergraduate and graduate studies in both official languages.

In doing so, we are further charged by the government and people of Canada with maintaining nationally and internationally recognized academic integrity and quality standards. Let there be no doubt that your university has fulfilled these obligations and that the undergraduate and graduate degrees granted here today represent the best in academic integrity and quality and are without peer nationally and internationally.

Toward the conclusion of today’s ceremony, we’ll recognize two colleagues for their excellence in teaching and in research. Within academia, there is a persistent debate as to whether or not universities can or ought to be divided into research institutions which focus on faculty research and graduate study or teaching institutions which primarily address the needs of the undergraduate population.In this debate, the implicit assumption is that research and teaching are somehow at cross purposes with each other and that devoting energy to one area removes resources and attention from the other.

Je dois avouer que je trouve ceci une discussion très curieuse, considérant notre expérience au Collège militaire royal du Canada. Dans un certain sens, sans vouloir tracer une ligne entre la poursuite de la connaissance et la transmission aux étudiants, je suis convaincu que l’enseignement supérieur se combine très bien avec les buts et les philosophies de tous les établissements universitaires recherchantes. Toutes les universités, si elles veulent mériter la confiance de leurs étudiants, parents et public doivent combiner la recherche et l’enseignement, quelle que soit leur classification, leur taille, leurs traditions ou les spécialités de la discipline.

Here too, the Royal Military College of Canada has risen to the challenge and fulfilled is obligations. The Royal Military College of Canada is a small university that punches well above its weight in the amount, scope, quality of the research it produces. Our faculty attract research grants from external funding agencies such as the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Defence Research and, and Development Canada, to name only a few.

RMC faculty and graduate students have been recognized nationally and internationally for their achievements with numerous awards including a Rhodes scholarship and a continuous flow of research funding that attracts students from across Canada and around the world. With this foundation, we are also in an excellent position to serve the broader needs of the Canadian Forces by admitting into our graduate programs officers who have been selected to conduct graduate studies in order to fulfil the needs of the armed, the needs of the armed forces.

What does this is record of achievement in research and graduate studies mean for undergraduate cadets? It means a great deal. While the Royal Military College of Canada’s reputation as an excellent teaching university may have disguised for some its standing as a centre of excellence in research and graduate studies. The many benefits that flow from research and graduate studies have been no secret to our undergraduate students. It is evident in the additional resources that can be applied to the undergraduate programs, in the expertise and dedication brought to the classroom and beyond.

Surveys show that the Royal Military College of Canada faculty are held in high regard by officer cadets, both for the quality of the education they receive and for the mentoring and personal attention faculty devote to them individually. By valuing and fostering research and graduate studies, the Royal Military College of Canada has been able to attract and maintain a professoriate whose commitment and enthusiasm for their disciplines and the pursuit of knowledge immeasurably enriches the undergraduate program and learning, learning experience.

Moreover, to the extent that we are able to provide to the Canadian Forces an educational institution that offers graduate studies to serving members of the military, we provide the officer cadets with excellent examples of the importance of continuing learning in professional military career. And it’s not just our opinion that all of this gives us the margin of excellence we seek. In national and international academic competitions in which our cadets have tested and measured their knowledge and skill against that of their peers, they have not only succeeded but in doing so, have garnered the praise and admiration of the scholarly and educational communities.

At the Royal Military College of Canada, as in any university worthy of the name, world class researchers mean world class teachers which in turn results in world class students. And in the outstanding achievements of the cadets graduating today, you have ample proof of this. So while others may continue to debate whether the quality of undergraduate education suffers when research and graduate studies are promoted within the university, the Royal Military College of Canada has shown that they can, indeed they should be mutually reinforcing. And for this, we owe the sincerest appreciation to our faculty, whose remarkable achievements inside and outside the classroom have created a true scholarly community ever conscious of its obligations to the pursuit of knowledge and in parting of that wisdom to their students.

The flourishing of this community is also assured by the dedication of our administrative staff and military colleagues, without whose indispensable efforts, RMC would not be able to fulfil these solemn obligations. I would like, on behalf of our colleagues, and personally, to thank our commandant, Commodore William Truelove for his support and his friendship. He and I remarked to each other that every day, at the Royal Military College of Canada is an exercise in civil military relations. Here too because of his leadership and wisdom, the seemingly irrevocable perspectives have proven to be indeed reconcilable. And I thank you.

Toute notre gratitude et notre reconnaissance vont au Major général Daniel Gosselin. Nous avons en fait eu la chance de ses nombreuses contributions à la nation tout au long de sa carrière militaire exemplaire. Ayant inclus le commandement de l’Académie Canadienne de la défense, comme professeur et chercheur accompli, le Général Gosselin a apporté aux Forces Canadiennes sans jamais faillir à son engagement, une éducation de haut niveau. Nous le remercions sincèrement et nous lui souhaitons tous les succès qu’il mérite dans ses fonctions présentes et futures.

J’aimerais surtout offrir toutes mes félicitations à nos diplômés pour leur persévérance qui est la clé de la réussite universitaire et pour avoir lancé à vos professeurs et mentors, des défis quotidiens. Enfin, aux amis et aux familles réunis ici en ce jour mémorable, je tiens à vous offrir au nom du Collège militaire royal du Canada mes sincères remerciements pour le soutien que vous avez apporté à tous ceux et celles qui sont sur le point de recevoir leurs diplômes. Et par l’entremise de ces diplômés à l’importante mission de votre université nationale. Merci.

It is now my honour to present this year ‘s honorary degree recipients.

Michaëlle Jean est née à Port-au-Prince en Haïti. C’est en 1968 qu’elle est arrivée au Canada en compagnie de sa famille après avoir fuit le régime dictatorial de l’époque. Après avoir obtenu un baccalauréat des arts en littérature et langues modernes italien et espagnol, elle a poursuivi des études de maîtrise en littérature comparée à     l’ Université de Montréal. Elle a enseigné l’italien au département de littérature et de langues modernes de cette même institution. Trois bourses lui ont permis de parfaire ses connaissances, celle de l’Université de Pérouse, de l’Université de Florence et de l’Université catholique de Milan. Mme Jean parle couramment cinq langues: le français, l’anglais, l’italien, l’espagnol et le créole.

During her studies, Mme Jean worked for eight years with Quebec shelters for battered women, while actively contributing to the establishment of a network of emergency shelters throughout Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. She later brought her considerable talents, sensitivity and experience to the media realm, where she became a highly regarded journalist and anchor of information and public affairs programs at Radio-Canada and CBC Newsworld. She also worked with her award winning filmmaker husband, His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond, on three major documentary films.

Mme Jean et M. Lafond have a daughter, Marie-Éden, an energetic 11-year old and budding musician. As the 27th Governor General since confederation, Mme Jean is admired and respected for her determination, conviction an courage. These three attributes fuel her deep commitment to reach out to all Canadians and break down solitudes, to empower youth and to inspire women in their quest for equality and dignity.

Her Excellency is an extraordinary ambassador of Canadian values and realities abroad, championing cultural diplomacy on a human and social scale, fostering respect for human rights and encouraging all those who seek justice, tolerance and freedom.

En tant que commandante en chef du Canada, Mme Jean se distingue en donnant une signification supplémentaire à l’esprit de corps en rendant visite au personnel des forces Canadiennes au Canada et à l’étranger, en les soutenant pendant les moments difficiles qu’ils ont vécus au BFC Trenton et en reconnaissant leurs exploits et leurs confères de décorations militaires telles que la décoration de la vaillance militaire et la décoration pour service méritoire. Pour ceux qui sont diplômés aujourd’hui, il est intéressant de stipuler qu’une de ses fonctions inclut la signature des brevets                d’ officiers, signature qui certifie le travail que chaque élève officier a accompli depuis son arrivée.

C’est facile de reconnaître vos qualités si excellentes et c’est avec tout mon respect que je suis fier de vous compter comme une des nôtres.  C’est pourquoi monsieur le chancelier que c’est avec beaucoup d’affection et d’honneur que je vous présente son excellence, la très honorable Michaëlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D. gouverneure générale et commandante en chef du Canada afin que vous puissiez lui désigner personnellement le titre de docteur en science militaire Honoris Causa.

L’HON. PETER MACKAY: Votre excellence, en vertu des pouvoirs qui me sont conférés par mon titre de chancelier du Collège militaire royal du Canada et sur la recommandation du sénat de ce collège, je vous décerne un doctorat Honoris Causa en science militaire.

Je vous accorder un doctorat en science militaire. Félicitations votre excellence

LA TRÈS HON. MICHAËLLE JEAN: Merci. Merci beaucoup.

DR. JOEL SOKOLSKY:

Larry Napier Stevenson was born and raised in Northern Quebec, the son of an intrepid entrepreneur. His father had been a mosquito pilot during the second world war, before starting a number of successful businesses including a bush flying enterprise. This early exposure to risk taking and business acumen were to be major influences in Larry> ‘> s life. After moving to Montreal at the age of 14, he was introduced to a number of his father> ‘> s old flying buddies from the war, many of whom had been graduates of the Royal Military College of Canada, including Mr. Jean Ostiguy, class of  ’42 and who had a significant impact on Larry ‘s life.

With this background, Larry set his sights on attending CMR-RMC and it was the only school to which he applied. He graduated in 1978 with an honours degree in Economics and Commerce.

Les années que Larry a passées au CMR de St-Jean et de Kingston ont été remarquables. En effet, il a fini premier de tous ses cours dans son métier                     d’infanterie. Ses qualifications extraordinaires de leadership ont été reconnues lors du défilé de 1978 où il a été nommé au plus important poste confié à un élève officier de quatrième année,  soit le poste d’élève officier senior. Il a également eu l’honneur de recevoir ce même jour le sabre d’honneur pour son leadership. Après la réception de son brevet d’officier dans le régiment d’infanterie légère Canadienne de Princess Patricia, il a été très rapidement promu au rang de capitaine. Pendant ses quatre années de service avec l’armée Canadienne, il a fait deux rotations à Chypre pour le maintien de la paix et pour lesquelles on lui a décerné par deux fois la médaille du maintien de la paix par l’organisation des Nations Unies.

Durant cette période, il a commandé un peloton du régiment aéroporté Canadien. Après avoir pris sa retraite de l’armée en 1982, il s’est inscrit à l’école de commerce de Harvard. En 1984, son diplôme de MBA en mains, il a commencé une nouvelle carrière civile en entrant chez Bain & Company. Après quatre ans, il est devenu un associé du bureau de Londres et a dirigé et développé la division Canadienne.

Seeking more complex and difficult challenges, Larry left Bain in 1993 to found and become President of Pathfinder Capital. Within a year, he had acquired Smiths Books, eventually merging it with Cole’s Books to become the world famous Chapters Books. Under the stewardship of Larry as President and CEO, Chapters grew to become the largest book retailer in Canada. With Larry, Chapters developed and introduced the book superstore, a model that is the prevailing one still in use today. In 2001, Chapters was acquired by Indigo, so Larry, ever seeking new challenges, returned to academia to pursue graduate studies in international relations at the Sorbonne in Paris. After completing his studies in 2002, he went on to head Pep Boys Automotive in the United States and is now the managing director of Callisto Capital, a private equity firm.

Les qualifications extraordinaires et les accomplissements de Larry sont largement reconnus. Il a été nominé Outstanding Young Canadian. Il a été choisi pour être The Top 40 Under 40. Il a été nommé entrepreneur de l’année en Ontario. En 2000, il a reçu le prix Canada’s Innovative Retailer of the Year et a été élu président du conseil de la vente au détail du Canada.

Now when asked to describe to what he attributed his great success, he had this to say. “RMC had a tremendous influence on my life. RMC taught me discipline and taught me that success comes from knowing yourself very well, both the strengths and the weaknesses. My classmates at RMC knew me better than any boss I have ever had in business. I was also able to learn from a number of great leaders, both at RMC and later during my four years of service in the PPCLI and the Airborne Regiment. These leaders taught me that at the end of the day, the folks that make it happen are the folks following the leader and that the leader ‘ s role is to help map out a coherent direction. The successful leader keeps morale up even when the chips are down. ”

Larry Napier Stevenson, dirigeant de l’armée, innovateur, preneur de risques et entrepreneur a résumé en ces quelques mots les valeurs inculquées à tous les élèves officiers du Collège militaire royal du Canada. Vérité, Devoir et Vaillance. Monsieur le chancelier, je suis fier et honoré de vous présenter les matricules 11721, Larry Stevenson, afin que vous puissiez lui désigner personnellement le titre de docteur en droit, Honoris Causa.

THE HON. PETER MACKAY: By virtue of the authority vested in me as Chancellor of the Royal Military College of Canada, and upon the recommendation of the Senate of the college, I confer upon you the degree Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, and I admit you to the degree Doctor of Laws. Congratulations Larry.

DR. JOEL SOKOLSKY:

It is now my great privilege to invite our Chancellor, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence to introduce the convocation speaker.

THE HON. PETER MACKAY:

Thank you Dr.Sokolsky. Commandant Truelove, members of the Senate, members of the Canadian Forces family, our distinguished veterans, Reverend clergy, faculty, friends and special guests, 2001 graduates of Royal Military College of Canada and our two most recent graduates, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean and Larry Stevenson. Let me congratulate you both on being selected as this year’s honorary degree recipients. The passion and unflagging pursuit of excellence that have defined your careers serves as an inspiration for all and we are honoured by your presence here and also pleased to honour you.

What a great pleasure for me to be back on such a beautiful day for RMC graduation. In fact, this is what we call a chancellor’s weather and depending on the weather this evening, it could be commandant weather.  A big welcome to the proud families and friends who are joining us after so many years of support through ups and downs, through the late night phone calls, care packages, shared excitement, sometimes trepidation, of goals met and even expectations exceeded. Many of you     I ‘ m sure feel that the time passed quickly. Others could not wait. And as the great American humourist and comedic philosopher Groucho Marx once said, time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like an apple.

The day is finally here.

Il doit être difficile de croire que votre fille ou votre fils fréquente déjà ce vénérable collège de Kingston depuis quatre ans, un collège et une ville ancrés dans une histoire si riche de traditions si nobles. L’une de ces traditions de longue date est d’ailleurs la qualité de l’enseignement offert au Collège militaire royal. Je remercie donc la faculté et le personnel de se dévouer constantement en vue de l’atteinte d’excellence. Vous avez joué une rôle primordial dans la formation de jeunes leaders canadiens qui sont assis devant nous aujourd’hui et qui feront beaucoup pour notre pays, j’en suis convaincu.

L’incessante soif d’apprendre qui à été inculquée aux diplômés s’avère peut-être le résultat de ces années d’études au collège. À tous les diplômés, ne cessez jamais de remettre en question le monde dans lequel vous vivez.

While RMC, as all of you know, is steeped in long held traditions, at last year’s convocation, which my second, this being my third, I wanted to try something new and based on the reaction, I thought that it went over quite well. So let’s make it a tradition. I know that you, the graduates, have trained very much in formality, discipline, protocol, long time spent on parade and in classrooms, but for a moment, let ‘s just take a break from the formality. I would ask you as graduates to please stand and locate that special person here in the forum, here in the auditorium who supported you and just give them a little wave, please, if you would. Please stand graduates. Find that special person out there in the audience.

Now if you would, please remain standing. This, this simple gesture is important. It lets your family and your friends know and your teachers know how much you appreciate the encouragement that they ‘ve provided you. Now once you’ve done that, I would also ask you to turn to the person to your left and to your right and congratulate them. You’ve been through a lot together here at RMC. From that muddy and sometimes bloody first-year obstacle course, from the late night study sessions and the hours together on the sports fields and the parade square, you ‘ve made it together.

Because today, please be seated, you ‘ re very good at following orders, let me congratulate all of you. You have made it. Today is very much a day that belongs to all of you, the class of 2010. And it ‘ s an honour to, to address you directly not as Minister of Defence or Chancellor, but as a proud Canadian for as I look out upon all of you, those of you graduating today will no doubt shape the future of our country and certainly the future of the Canadian Forces. RMC may be a small college, but as the principal has said, it ‘ s a great one. It has graduated many distinguished individuals who have gone on to make their mark in the world, as you will.

Degrees from this institution have been conferred upon numerous Chiefs of Defence Staff, Olympians, not one but three Canadian astronauts, heads of industry and academia and even the odd politician. You can ‘ t all make it big.  Many bright men and women just like you have crossed this stage and the education that they received here readied them for outstanding success.

Now, I spoke with a few of the graduates here today and asked them about their greatest concern upon graduation. Some mentioned student loans, some mentioned their first posting, however the most common response was that I won ‘ t trip and fall while getting my degree.  That was the greatest anxiety. But know that as graduates of RMC, the tradition here is certainly someone will catch you. For the hurdles will not end here, when you leave today.

As the commandant has recognized, we have, you have chosen a noble profession. One of public service and one that requires sacrifice of personal freedoms, the sacrifice of time with loved ones and I too would also want to recognize the sacrifice of Colonel Geoff Parker, his wife MJ and their children today. What you are doing now and what you are about to do represents the soul of public service. It ‘ s about making Canada and the world a better place. It ‘ s about doing something larger than yourself and putting others ahead of self, sometimes at great risk. The world in which we live is rapidly changing, some would say becoming more dangerous. And without risk comes little reward but sometimes comes blatant criticism.

And I was reminded of this when I read a quote that I would like to share with you from President Roosevelt. It ‘ s called The Man in the Arena, although with almost 25% of RMC graduates being women today, this applies to men and women. It comes from a letter called The Citizenship of the Republic.  ” It is not the critic who counts, but the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who comes short, who strives valiantly, who errs but comes short again and again because there is no effort without error, but who does actually strive to do great deeds, who knows great enthusiasms, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the triumph of huge achievement and who at worst if he fails, at least fails daring greatly so that his place shall not be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. ”

With the Canadian Forces playing a critical role at home and abroad, Canada needs an officer ‘ s corps that is strong, bright and innovative. That is you. An officer corps that is ready to adapt to ever evolving security environments, a corps that is ready to make a profound difference. And to look for inspiration, you need look no further than our current Chief of Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk, a man of great character and integrity who will be with us this evening. And I ‘ m confident that all of you are up to the challenge. In fact, I ‘ m confident that Canadians are with you in that endeavour.

Et le gouvernement du Canada est également prêt à relever le défi.   En fait les forces Canadiennes sont e une force armée moderne de première classe, de premier ordre prête pour l’avenir dont vous faites partie et à quoi ressemble votre avenir. Le gouvernement continue de bâtir une force armée en mesure d’exceller au pays. Il s’enforce de faire des Forces Canadiennes un partenaire fiable dans le cadre de la défense du continent. Et il s’assure que le Canada continue à faire preuve de leadership à l’étranger. Tout est prêt à prendre meilleurs soins des militaires canadiens et leurs familles.

By virtue of choosing the career path that you are on, you ‘ ve recognized the vision held by Canadians, that we have a purpose beyond our own self-interest, a purpose beyond our front doors, our expansive outdoors and beyond our borders, a purpose that takes our military and will take you and your colleagues to all corners of our great country and the far reaches of the globe.

In Afghanistan, many graduates of this university are making progress in securing a vulnerable population against a resolute adversary and contemplate for a moment your generation, your generation of veterans, some as young as 20, 22 years old with two and three combat tours under their belt. We will have a new generation of leadership in the Canadian Forces, hardened by that experience but heartened by the progress that we are seeing in Afghanistan today. From operations in the fields and villages and towns of Kandahar Province to training the Afghan National Army and Police, Canadian men and women in uniform are determined to leave Afghanistan a better place, a country better governed, more peaceful, more secure than when we found it as the mission began in 2001.

And although a priority, this is only one of Canada ‘ s 16 international operations around the world. And I can honestly say that I ‘ ve seen the change. Many have and many will. And it ‘ s certainly etched in the minds of those who have served in that country. A change for the better; 2.5 million girls now in school where in 2001, there was zero. Seven million more children in school overall. Thousands of children vaccinated against polio. In fact, the mortality rates are down. Commercial and financial lending through micro finance is up. Water supply and agrarian quality is up. This will be the first year in 50 that more wheat than poppy will be produced in Afghanistan. Voter participation up. Ratio of women in Parliament up. Human rights and hope, the quality of life all up. And a chance for a lasting stability.

And so the accomplishments are real and they ‘re there for all to see despite the extreme violence of a despotic Taliban effort. And yes, your military is very busy and yet the dedicated men and women continue to go the extra mile when called upon. And when the tragic earthquake struck Haiti on 12 January, Canada was among the first nations to respond and I recall vividly speaking with Her Excellence that evening. Our response was rapid and effective the day of the quake and in fact, within 16 hours, Canadian boots hit the beach in Haiti. And within two weeks, we had a full up force of 2,000 fully engaged soldiers, sailors, airmen and women providing emergency medical care, clearing rubble, distributing millions of litres of water and hundreds of meals, hundreds of thousands of meals. Canada ‘ s response no doubt saved lives.

And at the same time, the very same time, over 4,000 military personnel were assisting the RCMP in providing security at the Vancouver Winter Olympics and Paralympics. It was a particularly successful time given the Games, as we saw, were not just a sporting event but a national celebration. Obviously winning a record 14 medals, gold medals didn’t hurt as didn’t, it didn’t hurt to be the US men ‘ s and  women ‘ s hockey team.

This remarkable ability to effectively conduct operations at home and around the world speaks to the dedication and creativity of our men and women in uniform. And from all that you have studied and observed, you know the pace is not going to slow down anytime soon. You’re graduating at a very busy time. And you thought that exam time was hectic. Brace yourself. The Canadian Force is at a high tempo, the highest in decades. And whether it’ s working in supportive, other agencies like the RCMP , to provide security in next month’s G8 and G20 summits, supporting provincial or municipal authorities when environmental or humanitarian disasters hit or strike our borders, undertaking arctic patrols in the harsh northmost regions of our country, a growing challenge I might add.

We saw recently in operation Op Nunalivut just last month where our SAR techs plucked an Australian adventurer, Tom Smitheringale, from Arctic ice after he fell through the ice on his way to the North Pole. He was one of 1,200 lives saved by Canadian SAR techs last year alone. The research, the rescues, the incredible efforts made by our men and women in uniform speak volumes and Canadians expect a lot and the forces never let them down. And it’s the leadership shown by the officers and shown by many of you that ensures the success of Canadian missions at home and abroad. You continue to make us proud.

And so as you leave here today, take inspiration from previous generations who> ‘> ve gone before you. Canadian Forces successes over the past years have set a bar very high for all of you in your careers. But be inspired by those who went before you. Be inspired by the principles of truth, duty, valour more than just words, but indoctrinated on your person and personified by you. And know that your families are so proud. Know that Canadians appreciate what you do and your colleagues here in Canada and around he world as well. And as the world changes and we adjust, you are at the forefront, the sharp end of the spear and you carry the shield to lead the Canadian Forces in the future, whether you studied at RMC as members of the military or as civilians, I ‘m sure you’ll agree that this is a fascinating time to engage in defence and security studies.

Your dedication and hard work have prepared you well for whatever lies ahead. And take time now to reflect and rest, maybe even recover, but remember, remember what you’ve learned and the legacy of this institution that lives in all of you. It ‘s the spark that I see in your eyes today and the flame that will ignite your imagination for the challenges that you face ahead where I know you’ll lead with integrity, courage, compassion and imagination. And success sometimes requires a step outside your comfort zone. A great Canadian once said you ‘ll miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take. W. Gretzky.

And as another great person once said, it ‘s my hope that many years from now,     you ‘ll look back on your life and be confident that you fought for what you thought was fair and right and risked for that which mattered and that you gave help to those in need and that you left the world a better place.

Félicitations. Bonne chance tout le monde. And congratulations to all of you.

Mesdames et messieurs, c’est un grand honneur.

Ladies and gentlemen, it ‘ s my great pleasure, honour to introduce Her Excellency, the Governor General, someone whom Canadians have come to know well. Your Commander-in-Chief. As her extensive accomplishments have already been described to you, I will only say this. She has given much to her country, distinguished herself in innumerable ways, most notably in my view, she has done great things for the Canadian Forces. She’s been an inspiration to us, standing side by side by our men and women in uniform, young and old, at Vimy Day ceremony in Ottawa, amongst the rubble in Jacmel, her birthplace in Haiti and in the dust and heat of Afghanistan, in the training fields, flight decks and often face to face with grieving families who have lost loved ones.

Her diverse career has proven how multi talented she is, but I cannot do justice to her invaluable contributions to Canada and to Canadians in a short introduction. So let me simply end by thanking her on behalf of all Canadians. She represents our country, a huge heart, a compassionate soul. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming to the podium Canada ‘s 27th Governor General, Her Excellency Michaëlle Jean.

THE RT HON. MICHAËLLE JEAN:

Merci infiniment. Chancellor MacKay, first time I have this pleasure of calling you and to address you as Chancellor. It’s very good to see you again and to be here in your presence. Vice-Chancellor, Principal, members of the Senate of the Royal, the Royal Military College, the Military Wing, graduates, families, chers amis, avant de commencer, j’aimerais que nous prenions le temps de nous recueillir et de saluer la mémoire du Colonel Geoff Parker du Royal Canadian Regiment, qui a trouvé la mort lors de l’attentat-suicide au coeur de la capitale Afghane, Kabul, il y a deux jours.

Let us with utmost respect, salute the commitment of Colonel Geoff Parker who paid the ultimate sacrifice while proudly serving in Afghanistan. He died in the deadliest attack NATO troops have suffered in Kabul this year, killing and wounding dozens of soldiers and civilians. Colonel Parker had a special link, as you know, with RMC, having earned two Master degrees from your institution. We will never forget him.

Nous ne l’oublierons jamais.

So please stand, let us stand please. Let us take a minute of silence.

Recueillons-nous à sa mémoire.

Merci infiniment.

Sachez chers amis que c’est avec fierté et humilité surtout que je reçois cette après-midi ce grade honorifique d’une institution si ancienne et aussi réputée que le Collège militaire royal du Canada. Sise sur un site absolument magnifique, que j’ai eu le plaisir de découvrir aujourd’hui, et chargée d’histoire cette institution est non seulement un lieu d’instruction militaire mais un fleurons de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche au Canada et cela grâce notamment à l’excellence de son personnel militaire et civil.

Plusieurs des militaires et des aides de camp qui m’appuient dans mes fonctions comme le Major Chantal Brais  qui était à mes côtés aujourd’hui ainsi que le Lieutenant colonel Jean-François Simard qui m’accompagne aussi aujourd’hui, eh bien, ils sont des anciens élèves officiers. Ils ont étudié ici. Et c’est avec émotion qu’ils se souviennent de leurs années au collège et des professeurs et supérieurs qui ont marqué leurs parcours et qui ont marqué leur vie. Ils me parlent de la camaraderie qui rend l’aventure inoubliable, de l’insistance sur le bilinguisme et de la place accordée aux femmes. Ils me parlent aussi de l’entraînement souvent très rude, des activités sportives et scolaires exigeantes et surtout, surtout de l’immense sentiment de satisfaction et de fierté d’avoir tout donné et d’avoir réussi.

Et dès mon arrivée dans ce lieu où toute une jeunesse s’efforce chaque jour de se surpasser en endurance, en connaissances et en mérite, j’ai compris tout de suite la profondeur de votre engagement. J’ai compris la profondeur des liens qui vous unissent après ces quatre années d’apprentissage d’une rare intensité.

I am fully aware that I, that I am in the presence today of young women and men who meet the highest academic, physical and military standards. I am today in the presence too of leaders who will shoulder the responsibilities of command and who will lead by example in their words and actions in English and in French. And as I expected the honour guard this morning, those whom I had the opportunity to speak with expressed their pride, their pride in this institution, their sense of belonging and their desire to represent Canada and the Canadian perspective in all its richness.

And you have certainly not chosen the easiest path, and the life that awaits you outside this institution will be no less difficult. You will face extremely tense and complex situations. You will be required to put the interests of others before your own and sometimes, the lives of others before your own, the lives of the women and men under your command, those too of the civil> ians, women, men, youth and children you will be helping during our missions. You are being asked to perpetuate a tradition based on truth, duty and valour, as indicated by your college ‘ s motto. And these are noble values in the purest sense because they call upon the very best in us.

And I have seen these values embodied admirably by the members of the Canadian Forces I’ve had the pleasure, as Commander-in-Chief, of working with and of seeing in action since the beginning of my mandate, nearly five years ago. Starting with the Aboriginal veterans I accompanied during a spiritual journey to Europe in 2005, notably to the Canadian War Cemetery in Beny-sur-Mer where so many of our Canadian soldiers are buried. And I> ‘> m also thinking of the many soldiers, past and present, of all ranks and from all, from every service whose commitment, bravery, courage, selflessness, merit and in some cases, sacrifice I have recognized during official ceremonies.

I ‘m also referring to all those I met at the naval and military bases I visited during regional visits across the country. Moreover, I always remember the soldiers I went to visit on two separate occasions in 2007 and 2009 on the ground in Afghanistan where some of you may be called to carry out the same mission. And we must not forget that these women and men left parents, children, spouses and friends to go to this troubled spot of the world and defend democratic ideals, all people, all people should be allowed to aspire to.

Et en Afghanistan, j’ai vu nos militaires construire des infrastructures essentielles au développement que l’on voudrait durable dans ce pays de toutes les misères. J’ai vu la complicité qu’ils ont su établir avec des enfants et des professeurs Afghans dans       l’ une des nombreuses écoles de la province de Kandahar, qu’ils ont contribué et aidé à construire et qu’ils alimentent en équipement. Et j’ai observé attentivement tout le non-verbal chez ces enfants alors qu’ils côtoyaient et en la présence de nos militaires. Et ce que j’ai lu dans leurs yeux, c’est de la confiance. Ce que j’ai lu dans l’expression de leurs sourires et de leurs regards, c’est de la reconnaissance.

J’ai pu constater la qualité du dialogue que nos militaires ont noué avec des représentantes et des représentants de la société civile Afghane lors des rencontres que j’ai tenues au sein de l’équipe de reconstruction provinciale à Kandahar. Et j’ai pu mesurer également l’importance des défis. La tâche mes amis, est colossale. Et chaque blessé, chaque perte est un coup porté en plein coeur. Nous le savons. J’ai tant de fois tenu dans mes bras et consolé des pères, des mères, des partenaires de vie, des enfants, des collègues qui avaient perdu là-bas un être cher et qui ont accepté  que je les accompagne sur le tarmaque à la base militaire de Trenton, comme je le ferai, comme nous le ferons Monsieur le ministre ensemble à la cérémonie de rapatriement qui se tiendra demain pour le Colonel Geoff Parker, aux côtés de sa famille, aux côtés de ses enfants, de ses proches, de ses amis, de ses frères et de ses soeurs d’arme. Nous le ferons avec coeur, nous le ferons avec amour, nous le ferons avec reconnaissance.

Et d’ailleurs sur toutes les bases militaires où je suis appelée à me rendre, je rencontre vos familles et je les écoute, je les écoute me parler de leur vie, de leurs défis et de leurs réalités et je vous avoue que j’ai le plus grand respect pour le support et la fierté qu’elles vous témoignent.

Your families make enormous sacrifices and I don’ t think we can ever over emphasize the contribution they make to the success of the forces and the missions it carries, it carries out here at home and around the world. I have just returned from a state visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo where Canadian soldiers are tirelessly working with MONUC, the United Nations mission in Congo, under extremely difficult conditions to bring peace to a region of Africa where armed groups maintain a climate of terror and use sexual violence as a weapon of warfare.

And a few weeks earlier, I was in Haiti where, where Canadian soldiers along with humanitarian organizations and with the help of the Haitian people, were working to meet the most urgent needs after the January earthquake, and some of them are still there. And we know how this earthquake devastated entire regions of the island and left it in ruins. And I have therefore witnessed the generosity again of our soldiers. We speak about their courage, but we need to remember every day that they are first and foremost generous souls, generous spirits. And I saw their willingness to contribute to the well-being of populations in regions where it is imperative to reestablish and maintain peace, provide emergency assistance and/or take part in reconstruction efforts.

And in Haiti, those affected described your efforts, the efforts of the Canadian soldiers as a work of love.

Les militaires Canadiens travaillent avec amour. C’est ce que les Haïtiens que j’ai rencontrés sur place m’ont eu de cesse à me répéter. Ils travaillent avec amour, ce qui voulait dire avec respect, avec compassion, avec dévouement. Le mot amour est grand, il embrasse tout cela.

And today, I see that there is a whole new talented generation on which the forces and the entire country can rely.

Vous assumerez des postes de décision et j’ai confiance que vous offrirez un leadership solide et un appui indéfectible aux femmes et aux hommes que vous dirigerez et aux femmes et aux hommes que vous appuierez. Soyez une source             d’ inspiration pour les autres, pour nous toutes et pour nous tous comme l’ont été pour vous et pour nous vos prédécesseurs. Et que l’idéal de justice, l’idéal de paix et de liberté qu’ils ont porté comme un flambeau, parfois même au péril de leur vie, nourrissent votre engagement et vous guident. Et si vous saviez à quel point je suis fière d’être votre commandante en chef, et à quel point j’ai été honoré de revêtir à quelques reprises votre uniforme, j’ai compris qu’on ne tient pas son corps de la même manière. J’ai compris votre fierté. J’ai compris cet héritage immense que représente l’uniforme, celui que vous arborez avec fierté.

J’ai toujours pris très au sérieux les responsabilités qui m’incombent et votre confiance m’a honoré.

And I know that you are not born the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces. You become it. In this regard, I have counted on the Armed Forces Council, which I have met with several times and on two commendable Chiefs of the Defence Staff, General Hillier and General Natynczyk to support me, advise me and guide me. I hold them in the highest esteem and I’m extremely grateful to them.

Donc, à vous toutes et vous tous ici aujourd’hui qui recevez votre diplôme, je souhaite une carrière fructueuse, riche en défis et en accomplissements, et plus encore, je vous souhaite une vie bien remplie, que vous contemplerez avec satisfaction, heureuses, heureux que vous serez d’avoir apporté votre contribution à l’édification d’un monde pacifié, plus juste et plus humain. Merci pour tout. Merci       d’ être qui vous êtes.

Thank you very much.

Photos by Armaan Khan