07/07/2011

'Canada has far surpassed all that we were promised'

Speech by The Duke of Cambridge in Calgary, Thursday 7th July 2011.

Well, this is different.

Thank you very much, Prime Minister. Merci beaucoup: bon soir a tous.

A week ago in Ottawa I spoke of how much Catherine and I looked forward to getting to know Canada and Canadians.  I can only say that the experience of this past seven days has exceeded all our expectations.

We have been hugely struck by the diversity of this beautiful country: from Ottawa to Quebec; from Prince Edward Island to the Northwest Territories; and now the excitement of Calgary - and what about these fantastic white hats.

We have seen how geographical diversity is matched by the diversity of the people we have met: anglophone and francophone, First Nation and new immigrant.  We shall always remember the moving ceremony in Ottawa, on Canada Day, when proud immigrants took the oath to become new Canadian Citizens.  Lucky them: lucky Canada in welcoming them into the Canadian family.

The Canadian family is another of the abiding memories that will stay with Catherine and me.  Canada is not just a great Union of Provinces and Territories, it is a great union of peoples from many different backgrounds who have come together to make this a model - and a magnet - for those who value freedom, enterprise, tolerance and compassion.  A country where all can get on individually - and yet all can get on as a national community.

We have learnt much about Canada`s history not least from the remarkable veterans we have met: the vital contribution made by Canadians who fought for freedom in the wars of the twentieth century, and by those who have followed their example so bravely in the conflict in Afghanistan.

We are intensely proud of their sacrifices and immensely grateful.  Catherine and I are also full of admiration for the tremendous courage and resilience of the people we met yesterday at Slave Lake, as they rebuild their lives after the devastating fire.

Many of the Canadians who have contributed so much in Afghanistan are young.  And the youthfulness and vitality of this country have also made a great impression on us over this past week, particularly our inspirational visit to Maison Dauphine in Quebec City.

Canada has extraordinary potential.  With its natural resources, thriving economy, and rich human capital, it will surely be one of the great countries of the twenty-first century.

Monsieur le Premier Ministre, merci beaucoup pour une belle soiree. Et merci a tous les canadiens et canadiennes pour cette visite inoubliable.

In 1939, my great grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, said of her first Tour of Canada with her husband, King George VI: `Canada made us`. Catherine and I now know very well what she meant.

Canada has far surpassed all that we were promised.  Our promise to Canada is that we shall return.

Thank you.

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