The Honourable Anita Neville, P.C., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
CORRECTIONAL EXEMPLARY SERVICE MEDALS CEREMONY
Thursday, February 16, 2023
(please check against delivery)
Fellow Manitobans, welcome to Government House for this celebration of professionalism in service to Canada and its people.
I am pleased to welcome you here in the heart of Treaty One land, in the traditional home of the Anishinaabe and the Red River Metis People, in the capital of a province that is home to the Cree, Dakota and Dene people. Here in Manitoba, we are working to infuse the spirit of reconciliation and understanding through all of our public services and institutions.
For nearly 40 years Canada has had a series of Exemplary Service Medals to recognize individuals who have dedicated their careers to the protection of the safety of others – in positions that put them in difficult situations and in direct contact with danger.
The Correctional Exemplary Service Medal was one of the first of these – recognizing both the challenges you face and the importance Canadians attach to your work.
Not everybody is cut out for the work performed by correctional workers. Whether you are working directly with incarcerated people in a correctional facility or working in the community with individuals on parole or probation, your job requires a special mixture of empathy and strength.
It takes a special set of skills and personal attributes to remain on guard to keep your community and your colleagues safe, and at the same time support an environment that enables rehabilitation.
Your work creates an atmosphere of safety, dignity and hope in places that could very easily be soaked in despair.
The special thing about these Exemplary Service Awards is that they recognize the day-to-day courage you show every time you go to work, with each interaction, year after year.
We all need courage in our lives – but there’s a lot more to courage than we often think. It’s not just what you do in a rare emergency. It’s how you carry yourself every day.
As the poet Maya Angelou put it, “without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest.”
Thank you for your service and thank you for practicing courage in its many forms.