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December 2001

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Address by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien (left on top)
on the occasion of the investiture of
Nelson Rohlilahla Mandela (right on top)
as an Honorary Citizen of Canada

November 19, 200, Ottawa, Ontario

 

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honour and privilege to say a few words about a man whose life and meaning cannot be captured in mere words: Mr. Nelson Mandela.

 

Sir, in your long walk for freedom and justice you led a mighty struggle against fear and ignorance. Armed only with the courage of your convictions and the rightness of your cause, you triumphed -- for all of the people of South Africa and for the world.

 

As President of your country, you were an abiding force for reconciliation. You have been a resolute soldier for peace. And stirring voice for the children of the world. You have lived the pain of Africa. And sense the longing of her people for a brighter future. A goal that must remain a common cause for the world even as we struggle with other pressing threats and challenges.

 

Indeed...the commitment of Canada to Africa remains stronger than ever. The New Partnership for Africa's Development will be a principal focus of the G-8 Summit that Canada will host in Kananaskis next June. Canada will play a leadership role in this remarkable enterprise.

 

Sir, you have, in every way, been living and inspiring proof of something you once said that has always struck me with its simplicity. You said that "A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."

Please accept my compliments, sir: You have a gift for understatement.

 

Each time you have visited Canada you have honoured us. Today, you are doing us the greatest honour of all by accepting our invitation to join the Canadian family.

 

As a sign of our enduring bond, and as a memento of this truly special occasion, I would also like to present to you a Canadian flag that this very day flew on the Peace Tower of our Parliament Buildings.

 

And it is now my pleasure, as Prime Minister of Canada, to introduce Mr. Nelson Mandela: A citizen of the world by excellence. And, forever more, a citizen of Canada.

 

Please join me now in welcoming him to our family.