OTTAWA — A statement released Saturday by former prime minister Stephen Harper marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation:
Dear fellow citizens,
As we mark the sesquicentennial of our Confederation, we as Canadians should stop to reflect upon how fortunate we are. In an era of unprecedented global wealth and opportunity, there is simply no better place to live.
While it may be tempting to congratulate ourselves for this blessed state of affairs, our gratitude should instead go to those who came before us and built so much of what we have. It starts with acknowledging the leadership and wisdom of Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir George-Etienne Cartier and their colleagues. Coming together in a time of great danger, they constructed a system that would allow British, French, Aboriginal and Immigrant to unite, while preserving their unique institutions, languages, cultures and faiths. That achievement is, despite the youthfulness of our country, one of the most enduring models of democratic governance in the world today.
Generations of men and women have since added their own stories to the annals of our history. Through wise decisions, hard work and sacrifice, they built our economy, developed our society and enhanced our liberty. Consecrating those triumphs are the tens of thousands of Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country in distant lands, fighting to ensure that the great evils of the past 150 years did not come to our shores.
A full appreciation of all we have been given should also lead us to embrace our own responsibilities to those who follow. Are we also ready to take the hard decisions rather than the easy paths? Are we prepared to dedicate ourselves to great causes in the face of grave challenges? Are we willing to make sacrifices in our own time so that our descendants will continue to enjoy our freedoms in theirs?
If our answers to these questions are yes, and our actions bear out those convictions, then we can be assured that, in another 150 years, Canada will be even stronger and better than it is today.
God bless Canada,
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper
22nd Prime Minister of Canada
The Canadian Press