Johnston challenges Canadians to build bigger, better country

Teresa Wright
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Governor General marks 150th anniversary of Charlottetown Conference in P.E.I.

Governor General David Johnston is challenging Canadians to build a smarter, more caring Canada as they celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference and the formation of Canada in 2017.

Johnston is in Prince Edward Island for a three-day tour to mark the anniversary of the meetings held by the Fathers of Confederation in Charlottetown in 1864 and its importance in Canadian history.

In a speech at the Confederation Centre this afternoon, Johnston reflected on the ambitious plan embarked upon by the Fathers of Confederation when they travelled to P.E.I. 150 years ago with the aim of building a nation.

Looking ahead to 2017, when Canada will celebrate its 150th birthday, Johnston said Canadians must continue to build a bigger and better country.

“Can we exceed ourselves in embracing change and reinventing Canada, while holding onto and strengthening the values and ideals that are most dear to us?” Johnston said.

“Let us exceed ourselves because we can and because we must. And let us start here in Charlottetown where this experiment called Canada began.”

Johnston also participated in a ribbon cutting for the reopening of the Homburg Theatre in the Confederation Centre.

Speaking in the newly renovated theatre, which still smells of fresh paint, Johnston drew comparisons between the founding of Canada and theatrical productions.

“The arts and particularly the performing arts are by nature collaborative, drawn on diverse talents in pursuit of a common goal,” he said.

“When the Fathers of Confederation gathered at Province House, they too created something that is more than the sum of its parts.”

Premier Robert Ghiz spoke of the importance of the Confederation Centre in fostering and cultivating the talents of a whole generation of artists and performers from across the country.

He said this was what the Homburg Theatre is all about.

He also encouraged all Islanders and Canadians to come and see Anne of Green Gables The Musical, which will begin its 50th consecutive season at the Confederation Centre next month.

But don’t just come this year, come year after year, Ghiz said.

“Because it is a show, to me and I think to many Canadians, that never grows old.”

The event this afternoon also saw the Confederation Centre presented with the Gilbert Buote Award for its production last year of Ted Dykstra’s musical Evangeline.

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Recent comments

  • Canadian For Canadians
    June 16, 2014 - 21:44

    “Can we exceed ourselves in embracing change and reinventing Canada, while holding onto and strengthening the values and ideals that are most dear to us?” Johnston said. Yes Mr. Johnston. Let's reinvent Canada and hold to our ideals by getting rid of individuals who serve no purpose to society while taking from the public purse. Especially those who come by this as their foreign birth right. And while we are at it, let's get rid of those within the country who represent them.

  • ??? ???
    June 16, 2014 - 20:01

    Gov Gen is supposed to be a rep of the Queen here in Canada & not giving his opines on anything. Tell me if I am wrong.

  • don
    June 16, 2014 - 16:39

    Johnston said Canadians must continue to build a bigger and better country. that might work in the rest of Canada Mr but here on PEI only friends of ghiz can build bigger and the rest of us starve and go heat less in the winter. come back to the island during the winter and visit seniors not who ghiz wants you to see. but the poor seniors that ghiz is draining from your HST.

  • Peter
    June 16, 2014 - 16:38

    That being said, I now have to ask ... Is Mr. Johnson challenging Canadians to build a smarter, more caring Canada, or is he daring us to defy PM Harper?

  • Peter
    June 16, 2014 - 16:35

    Methinks it's time for Mr.Johnson to call PM harper in and disolve parliament, so this can happen. I agree with what he (GG Johnson) says, but it can't be with Harper as PM. As other posters have already noted, PM Harper is the roadblock, but Mr. Johnson has the power to remove this roadblock and allow Canadians to either confirm or deny Mr. Harper's stance towards where we, as a country, want to go.

  • Mark Booth
    June 16, 2014 - 15:41

    He should be challenging the villain encamped at 24 Sussex Drive to be working toward this end. The policies he and his cronies keep forcing upon the Canadian citizenry does not promote caring or unity, only despondency and apathy.

  • enough already
    June 16, 2014 - 15:39

    Time for Canada to close it's borders . Severely limit who get into the country until the economy rebounds . Lets not hear how immigration is so great for the country, there are lots of studies that disagree with that thought.

    • don
      June 16, 2014 - 16:40

      no government lib,pc,ndp will never close the door. to many kickbacks.

    • The Observer from Stratford
      June 16, 2014 - 16:55

      And just as many that disagree with your thought. Immigration is always a two edged sword but its positives for the receiving country usually outweigh the negatives. For PEI the influx of new blood should serve to end the blatant insularity of this Island and open it up to new ideas. It needs that to happen badly.

    • Bob McGuy
      June 16, 2014 - 22:17

      Great idea. Ten years from now when all Islanders are in Alberta and the country as a whole is suffering from a labour shortage, we can be proud that we employed an socio-economic strategy based largely on xenophobia.