Good afternoon Chief Justice Fraser, Premier Notley, former Premiers Stelmach and Hancock, MP Earl Dreeshen, MLAs, Grand Chief Martial, President Poitras of the Metis Nation of Alberta, distinguished guests, friends and family.
I’ve often used the phrase “life is long and big” to describe the wealth of possibilities we encounter during our time on earth…but in my wildest dreams I could not have imagined my life’s path leading to this moment.
I’m humbled by this rare opportunity to represent Her Majesty the Queen and to serve as a safeguard of everything that the Crown in Canada represents.
I’m also honoured to let you know that, in the first three months of my mandate, on September 9, Albertans and all Canadians will mark an important milestone… when Her Majesty the Queen becomes the longest reigning sovereign in Canada’s modern era.
I’m further looking forward to celebrations in 2016 to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Canada, and I’ve always been proud of Alberta’s leadership, together with Saskatchewan and Manitoba, in that important movement.
We are blessed to live in a place that offers peace, freedom, democracy and the rule of law to all citizens, and I’m very much aware that my principal duty as Lieutenant Governor is to safeguard those key constitutional principles that define who we are as Canadians.
I take these duties very seriously and I promise to my fellow Albertans that I will apply all of my energy and abilities to serving the best interests of our great province.
I’m looking forward to working with Premier Notley and I have every confidence that her government, and all Members of the Legislative Assembly, are equally dedicated to making our province all that it can be.
While I know that my constitutional duties are a cornerstone of the job, I’m also aware that there are other elements that are just as important…and a whole lot of fun.
For example, my husband Doug and I are looking forward to the ceremonial aspects of the office...to the moments when we get to celebrate the best of Alberta and travel around this amazing province.
We both know from our sports backgrounds that there’s nothing like celebrating a win but we’ve also discovered that it’s as much, if not more enjoyable, to be the one lifting up and applauding a teammate…to see someone else achieve a goal.
Albertans have remarkable strength, dedication and compassion…it’s something I’ve witnessed in the many volunteer activities I’ve been privileged to work on over the years…and I’m looking forward to honouring those who give the best of themselves to make our province great.
I’m also excited and humbled by the opportunity to honour and continue the legacies of past Lieutenant Governors.
I recognize that I’m following in some pretty big footsteps.
I have the utmost respect for the Honourable Donald S. Ethell and I greatly admire the work he’s done on all fronts, including the Lieutenant Governor’s Circle on Mental Health and Addiction.
I pledge to continue his work and I will also do everything I can to match the level of respect he has extended to our Canadian men and women in uniform, from members of the military to first responders in Alberta communities. They all are heroes in my eyes.
In particular, I’m holding Constable Daniel Woodall in my thoughts and prayers today. I’m sure everyone joins me in honouring the service of our fallen hero.
Former Lieutenant Governor Kwong and the late, the Honourable Lois Hole also created valued legacies during their tenures that I will honour and respect.
Like the Honourable Norman Kwong, you’ll find that I’m a keen sports fan and I will continue his work to foster active living for all Albertans. And, like him, I promise to cheer for all of Albertans teams with equal enthusiasm.
When it comes to the legacy of the Honourable Lois Hole, as a former teacher it’s second nature for me to support education, libraries and literacy.
I’m also a great music lover who understands the importance of the arts to society, and I’m looking forward to celebrating the best of Alberta artists.
As for what I hope to bring to my own tenure, it’s a daunting thing to consider given the legacies of my predecessors…but I do find myself drawn to those among us who are facing barriers in life and who, with a little lift, could accomplish great things.
I know how much of a difference the right teammates and game plan can be in turning the tide and changing the scoreboard in your favour, and so I’d like to do what I can for fellow Albertans who need a little help in achieving their goals.
It could be offering support to people living with intellectual disabilities, which is an area I’ve come to learn about through my association with the Special Olympics.
It could be helping parents, schools and communities to ensure that all of Alberta’s children have the emotional tools they need...the soft skills of empathy, patience, compassion and resilience...that are as important to success in life as any academic learning.
Those soft skills truly determine how we move forward past life’s inevitable challenges.
When I think about life’s obstacles, and life’s opportunities, I’m reminded of something that the visionary and inventor Charles F. Kettering once said.
I think it perfectly captures the innovative, hardworking and audacious spirit of Albertans...a spirit that lets us know, without question, that anything and everything is possible.
Kettering said, “Nothing rose to ever touch the skies unless someone dreamed that it should, believed that it could, and willed that in must.”
Throughout the proud and bold history of our province, Albertans have been dreaming we can be better…believing that we can make it happen…and willing our aspirations to take flight.
It’s a spirit that I’ve witnessed over the years as a member of the Alberta business community and it’s the same spirit that inspires citizens to get involved and give back to their communities and our province as a whole.
Albertans have vision, hope and grit in equal measure…and that combination has allowed us to do great things together.
I look forward to this rare opportunity to learn and to serve the place that I love and I will look for ways… however humble they may be…to encourage my fellow Albertans to dream just a little bigger and raise up our province just a little higher.
Thank you, God Save the Queen and God Bless Alberta.