In my career in the Public Service, we have seen a lot of technological change including the arrival of the first word processors, the first cell phones, the first fax machines, the first internet, as well as cyber-attacks, smart phones, and social networks.
There is no quiet part in the public service. The fact that anybody takes a bit of their time, energy and commitment, and spends it on making their workplace a little bit better, is a great service to the rest of us.
The public service is a diverse institution and offers many career opportunities. Within the public service, we have strong networks of people from various spheres of work: communications, science, IT and data, legal and so forth. It is tremendously helpful, not just to you, but to the public service, that people who do regulatory work, do it together.
Canada operates within the Westminster software of governance, which has evolved for over seven or eight centuries. This governance software includes the basic principles of the Crown’s powers, the Crown’s taking advice from the Executive, and the Executive being responsible and answerable to Parliament. Over time, this system has turned out to be quite adaptive.
Back when I was the Deputy Champion for the Persons with Disabilities Community, as it was then called, I participated in events like this one today for many years. It is very important for me to be here today.
This event is about you. It is about you as individuals, as teams, and as an important institution, which has served Canadians for 150 years. I want you to take enormous pride in what you have accomplished.
This is a moment of real accomplishment and it is important that we take time to celebrate. There are about 260,000 men and women who work in the Public Service of Canada right now. You add that up over the years, it is many Canadians and they do a great job but it is a very small percentage of those that get to executive positions. These are positions of leadership, of impact and of influence. It is a tremendous personal and professional accomplishment and I would encourage you to savour it and to share it with your family, friends and neighbours. I hope you will enjoy this evening and the fact that you have joined the leadership of the Public Service of Canada.
The first thing I would like to do is reinforce this important message: “do not be a passenger”. Take charge of this experience, and “lean into it”, as the Prime Minister often says. Take charge of your own learning and development, and use this forum for networking. I know that the people that have gone through Executive Leadership Programs in the past have formed strong professional and personal bonds, and it is an opportunity to get to know some remarkable public servants and Canadians. Take full advantage of this opportunity.
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