I am very honoured to be here with you, on the historic site of Signal Hill, to watch the sun rise on Canada's 126th anniversary. And, with you, I share the hope that we are witnessing, as Canadians, the dawn of a new era for Canada.
This is my first Canada Day celebration as Canada's 19th Prime Minister. I'm also proud to be the first Prime Minister to come to Signal Hill to celebrate Memorial Day with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. I will never forget the warmth of your welcome, nor will I ever forget this special morning.
Let us resolve together that the sun will always rise, across this vast and diverse land, on a united, prosperous and fraternal country; a country where it matters not as much where we come from, individually, as where we want to go together.
We are a young country; much younger than the mother-countries of modern Canada - Great-Britain and France; much younger than most other countries, on all continents, from where millions of Canadians have come in recent decades. But in the space of these 126 years, as a federation we have created on this continent a model for civilized societies everywhere. Together, anglophones and francophones, Aboriginal peoples and new Canadians, women and men, young and old, we have built a country that was founded and has thrived on personal initiative and the simple but strong principles of tolerance, justice and equality.
We are a vast country: more than nine million square kilometres in area, more than 7,000 kilometres from East to West, and nearly as many from North to South. For example, as we assembled here this morning, some of my neighbours in Vancouver had not long ago gone to bed—I hope. Many of you may never see the sun go down on English Bay, in Vancouver. And many Vancouverites may never experience a sunrise here on Signal Hill.
But Canada is not too big to fit in the heart of each and every one of us. Our dreams and aspirations are not too ambitious that we cannot fulfil them in our lifetime. We are a great country. And the true greatness of Canada can only be measured by the pride, the affection, the love, that it inspires in all Canadian citizens, from Bonavista in the East to Vancouver Island in the West, from Pointe-Pelèe in the South to the future Territory of Nunavut in the North.
Whether we speak English or French, whether our Aboriginal ancestors settled here thousands of years ago or we ourselves arrived at Gander, Pearson or Mirabel as immigrants only years ago, we all share one of the greatest privileges that can be bestowed upon humankind: we are all Canadian.
I said it in French in Valleyfield, Quebec, on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, on the eve of my swearing as Prime Minister of Canada, I intend to repeat it in few hours on Parliament Hill and later on tonight in Vancouver, and I am so very proud to say it here in St. John's, on this glorious morning: there is no greater privilege that a human being can hope for than to be a Canadian citizen.
With this unique privilege come important responsibilities. We are all the custodians of the greatness and the splendour of Canada. We, and we alone, can strengthen its unity, preserve its environment, protect its values and traditions and ensure its prosperity.
As Prime Minister of Canada, I will devote all my energy and all my abilities to building an even better country. And as a government, we are firmly committed to putting our financial house in order, sharpening our competitiveness, guarding public safety and modernizing our social programs. We will put people first, because we want Canada to remain one the best places to live in the world.
But no woman or man alone, no group of people, no government by itself can ever hope to achieve the reforms that are needed to meet the challenges of the 21st century. We must work together, now more than ever.
Canada is our country, our homeland; it is our history and our hope. On this very special day, I ask you to join with me in celebrating our citizenship on, this hill, this morning, in sending a strong signal of pride to all Canadians, who, in turn, will awaken today to celebrate Canada Day with us.