Without repeating what has been so well said by Mr. McInnis, President of the Federation of Press Clubs of Canada, I should like to congratulate both the recipients of the Awards and those who have received special attention.
I do so, not only personally because the Trophy bears my name, but as the spokes-man in matters of this kind for Canadians as a whole.
Mr. President, I do not wish to add to your fine words on the work that went into preparing these remarkable prize-winning features, but I would like to express my appreciation to the authors on behalf of all Canadians.
I would also be remiss not to mention the two runners-up for 1972 – La Presse, from Montreal, and The Windsor Star.
I am delighted that the Press (and I use the word in the larger sense to include all the communication media) is so well represented here today. My wife and I welcome you most cordially.
As you have said, Mr. President, this is but the third presentation of the Michener Award for Journalism of the Federation of Press Clubs of Canada. When the Award was proposed by the officers of the Federation a few years ago, it appealed very strongly to me as a useful means of encouraging excellence in a field of endeavour which was not being given enough attention in Canada.
It has been traditional with Governors General, and particularly with the Canadians Vincent Massey and Georges Vanier, to support noteworthy contributions to Canadian life in artistic, cultural, charitable and athletic fields. Some of these may have got a bit off course – perhaps I should say off the track – thinking of the Stanley Cup or the Grey Cup.
There is no doubt, however, of the importance of the journalist and his counterparts in radio and television as molders of opinion and essential supporters of a democratic society. This influence has been strongly borne in on us by what is happening across the border at this very moment. What is now being disclosed and throwing the government into confusion seems to flow directly from the determined work of reporters in keeping the issue alive and digging up information.
We are all happy, I am sure, that in Canada no such malignant growths have been found and I hope could not be found. Nevertheless it is notable that each Award made today involves action by the Press towards purity in public life or the defence of a weak or oppressed group. These Awards reflect the public conscience of our journalists. They reflect also the good judgment of those who have made the selections.
I should like to include in my felicitations the judges, already named, as well as the Federation of Press Clubs of Canada and its officers who have sponsored this competition. It makes me proud to have my name and office associated with so much that is constructive and helpful in our daily lives.
I am sure we all await the opportunity to talk with the representatives of the Globe and Mail, the Scotian Journalist, La Presse of Montreal, and the Windsor Star.
My wife and I look forward to having you join us at a reception in their honour.
His Excellency Roland Michener
Governor General of Canada
Rideau Hall, Ottawa
May 9, 1973.