Manitoba Lieutenant Governor

Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba

The Honourable Anita R. Neville, P.C., O.M.

Royal Commonwealth Society “Commonwealth Day” Reception

Remarks by

The Honourable Anita Neville, P.C., O.M.

Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba


Government House

Thursday, March 16, 2023, 5 p.m.

(please check delivery)

 Fellow Manitobans, welcome to this celebration of international friendship and an organization dedicated to freedom, equality and understanding.

I am delighted to welcome you to Government House, here in the heart of Treaty One land, 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.

We acknowledge northern Manitoba includes lands that were, and are, the ancestral lands of the Inuit.

Here and throughout Manitoba, we are working to advance understanding, healing and reconciliation and build a better home for all.

I know that the Royal Commonwealth Society of Canada is also committed to reconciliation and learning from history. Your advocacy of national commemoration of August 1st as Emancipation Day – recognizing the day slavery in the British Empire was abolished in 1834 – is a sign of that commitment.

So too is your upfront acknowledgement of the Commonwealth’s roots in the British Empire. These are aspects of our history we can’t hide from.

The transformation from an empire to a network of independent nations committed to freedom and equality of peoples is a story of the triumph of hope and goodwill.

The Commonwealth’s history is a force for good – including its role in opposing Apartheid and investigating coups and attacks on democracy – gives us much to celebrate on Commonwealth Day.

Commonwealth Day also reminds us of our ties to the other member nations with which we share ties of history, language, culture and values.

This is not just the first Commonwealth Day of the reign of King Charles III. It is also the first in-person Commonwealth Day celebration since the pandemic, and it is a chance to bid farewell to a long-time and beloved president of the Manitoba Branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Mr. Murray Burt.

Like the Commonwealth itself, this day is a story of continuity and change and enduring values that have gone through trials and become stronger.

Your work helps to maintain awareness of and commitment to those values and that history. In so doing, you help transform our province and our country for the better.

I will conclude by reading His Majesty’s Commonwealth Day Message…

Commonwealth Day was an occasion of particular pride for my beloved Mother, The late Queen – a treasured opportunity to celebrate our Commonwealth family, to whose service she dedicated her long and remarkable life. 

 In succeeding Her Majesty as Head of the Commonwealth, I draw great strength from her example, together with all that I have learnt from the extraordinary people I have met, throughout the Commonwealth, over so many years. 

The Commonwealth has been a constant in my own life, and yet its diversity continues to amaze and inspire me.  Its near-boundless potential as a force for good in the world demands our highest ambition; its sheer scale challenges us to unite and be bold.

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the Charter of the Commonwealth, which gives expression to our defining values – peace and justice; tolerance, respect and solidarity; care for our environment, and for the most vulnerable among us.

These are not simply ideals.  In each lies an imperative to act, and to make a practical difference in the lives of the 2.6 billion people who call the Commonwealth home. 

Whether on climate change and biodiversity loss, youth opportunity and education, global health, or economic co-operation, the Commonwealth can play an indispensable role in the most pressing issues of our time.  Ours is an association not just of shared values, but of common purpose and joint action. 

In this we are blessed with the ingenuity and imagination of a third of the world’s population, including one and a half billion people under the age of thirty. Our shared humanity contains such precious diversity of thought, culture, tradition and experience.  By listening to each other, we will find so many of the solutions that we seek.

This extraordinary potential, which we hold in common, is more than equal to the challenges we face.  It offers us unparalleled strength not merely to face the future, but to build it.

Here, the Commonwealth has an incredible opportunity, and responsibility, to create a genuinely durable future – one that offers the kind of prosperity that is in harmony with Nature and that will also secure our unique and only planet for generations to come.

The myriad connections between our nations have sustained and enriched us for more than seven decades. Our commitment to peace, progress and opportunity will sustain us for many more. 

Let ours be a Commonwealth that not only stands together, but strives together, in restless and practical pursuit of the global common good.”

Thank you, Merci, Meegwich.