I am pleased to welcome you to Rideau hall tonight. I must say that when I walked in and saw you “all dressed up”, I nearly went back to check my calendar to see if I had the date right and these were indeed journalists sitting there.
Seriously, let me first address a most cordial welcome to the Right Honourable Roland Michener and his gracious wife. It is always a pleasure to welcome them back to their former home of course, but especially so on the occasion of the presentation of the Michener Awards.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to Rideau Hall this evening. You media professionals often come here to cover ceremonies and receptions for the benefit of your readers, listeners and viewers. It’s only fitting that, in turn, you are now the honoured guests whereby you get to understand what it’s like to be under the spotlight as you try to eat your dinner in peace.
To the Michener Award winner I say, congratulations! You have earned the respect of your confreres as well as ours. The press, written or spoken, plays an important role in the history of a society and you must be vigilant to ensure that journalism remains free and dynamic. Such journalism is the best guarantee for democracy.
I would also wish to extend hearty congratulations to all the finalists for their fine showing.
We are lucky to live in a country which cherishes its freedom of the press and you have a responsibility to work unceasingly towards preserving this freedom. I urge you to continue to ensure that our communications media remain the best in the world. Again, congratulations to the winner and best wishes to all.
Thank you – Merci.
His Excellency Edward Schreyer
Governor General of Canada
Rideau Hall, Ottawa
November 7, 1981.
The judging for the Michener Award goes beyond journalistic merit to consider what the project has accomplished, the absence of self-serving journalistic interest, and the resources available to entrants so that larger and smaller competitors are on a more equal basis.