Quiet work, selfless deeds, noble aspirations – all for a stronger, more resilient Ontario. As Lieutenant Governor, I have been fortunate to encounter people and organizations striving to make our province a healthier, more prosperous, place to live, work, and play. This chorus of many voices and dedicated hands are generous and forward-thinking but also, best and most encouragingly of all, committed to the values of our country.
If any generality may be drawn about the concept of democracy, it is its incredible breadth. Helping to prepare my Office’s art exhibition Speaking of Democracy, certainly reinforced this important dimension. Indeed, the idea encompasses cultural heritages, political convictions, revered institutions, intricate processes, timeless values and so much more.
As The Queen’s representative in Ontario, I have come to know that democracy is not, simply, about constitutional affairs but rather, more profoundly, about people and the way we choose to live together. It is as complex as we are, that is to say – endlessly. This observation is both wonderful and daunting.
In my travels across the province, I have witnessed the extent of the ‘quiet work’ undertaken to secure a better, more sustainable, future for everyone. In small towns and large urban centres, I have met those who give time and sweat to the notion of civic engagement. From the classroom to the ballot box, from the newsroom to the stage, their work not only brings us, but holds us, together.
Much work remains to be done, yes, but too often we forget to encourage and highlight the work that is ongoing. In the following eight categories, covering a wide-array of civic and cultural life, I hope that you take inspiration from, just as I have, the devoted individuals and initiatives working to advance our collective, deeply human, project – democracy.