If you don’t understand the
rules, scope or context it won’t
count for anything.”
Retired Ontario politician and university administrator,
speaking at Trent University:
Let me conclude with one last political story. It centres around my maiden speech in the legislature. I wanted it to be significant and memorable,
so I waited for weeks until a private member’s bill about equal pay for
work of equal value was being introduced by a colleague. I worked hard
on the speech.
When debate day came I was third to speak for the NDP, and when
the speaker recognized the member for Scarborough West and I rose in
my seat, all members of the house broke into applause. When it subsided
Speaker Stokes said, “You have one minute.”
“But, but Mr. Speaker, I have worked for weeks on this. It’s my maiden
speech,” I protested.
“You have 45 seconds,” he replied.
I stared at my notes, concocted a short précis and sat down.
We won the vote.
So, I learned two things from that incident. First, you can plan and
plan until you have an impeccable presentation but if you don’t understand the rules, scope or context it won’t count for anything. Second,
sometimes shorter is better.
You are changing Canada,
you are making a difference.”
Governor General of Canada, speaking
at University of King’s College:
I would like to leave you today with the same message I have delivered to
countless young people all across Canada. There are those who would say
that you are the leaders of tomorrow. But that is simply not the case. You are
already leaders today. You are changing Canada, you are making a difference.
Whether you plan to study further or enter the workforce, whether
you stay in Halifax or move to other provinces or countries, I know that
you will take all that you learned here with you.
Use your talents, use your passion, use your knowledge, use your kindness, use your creativity, use everything that you have at your disposal to
do good in this world. Because when you do – when we all do – we build a
fairer, smarter, more caring society.
Today, like a launch, is
not the purpose of what’s
Canadian astronaut, speaking at
University of Waterloo:
Often it all comes together to one day, like today. In my case, it’s come
together to launch, but sort of what’s happening today is like a launch.
Today didn’t happen by accident. … Today as a launch is very much a
manifestation of the result of years of work, of an initial decision, of years
of self-discipline, of improving yourself, of learning things you didn’t
know. And then finally the day arrives, you put on the special clothes and
you launch your spaceship. And where that takes you, where it lets you
look in the future, of course, is the real purpose of it all.
Today, like a launch, is not the purpose of what’s happening. Today
is the door opening, or the result of you having opened doors to all the
things that are coming. And just as when the engines shut off after eight
minutes of a rugged ride, the things that you can now see and the perspectives you now have, the ability to appreciate something in a different
way because of a new perspective, is the real purpose of that long, fraught
process that either got you above the atmosphere or brought you to be
seated in those chairs today.
And like in any venture, of course, the next thing you ask is, where next?
To watch video clips from some of these and other speeches, please visit