I want to thank you for where you have come from and what you have done. I want to challenge you to continue that legacy into the future, to always pursue excellence in your analysis, evidence in your advice, to challenge your own assumptions about the way the world works or what is going on out there. You have specialized expertise in some areas that nobody else in town has, and you have partners all around the public service that have deep expertise and networks and connections. Learning how to collaborate with other organizations and teams is the secret sauce of public service these days.
The Public Service Commission is an important institution and so is your mission statement. I think you may pass over it probably a little too quickly: promoting and safeguarding a non-partisan, merit-based and representative public service that serves all Canadians. That is something we have tried to do generation after generation, government after government as things have changed. We helped shape the country but in many ways, the country shapes us too.
I now think of the public service very much as a community of communities and not so much about the 300 organizations and their organizational charts. Today’s public service is about the 260,000 men and women that come to work every day, driven by values and commitment to serve their country. How do we work together? You decide. Create a community and talk to each other, generate ideas. All over the public service now, people are speaking up and finding communities. I am here to encourage that.
I often describe the Public Service as a chameleon. We help shape the country and I have experienced very cool moments when you can sit in the Cabinet room and watch your advice and analysis supporting and influencing the way democratically elected governments steer the country. But we are also caught up with this societal shift. Canada has changed its attitudes to same sex marriage, mental health, greening of the economy, carbon footprint, mental health, and #MeToo. This means that we also have to change our attitude.
APEX is a very valuable partner. In fact, I believe, this year’s symposium is the largest in its history, and the 30th event. Congratulations! This is an important accomplishment. Thank you to the organizing team and all of the APEX community for this great event. APEX is far more than an annual conference that surfaces every year. It is an ongoing voice for the approximately 5,000 people who are the executive community in the public service.
There are many opportunities. It is an exciting time to be in Canada when you look at what is going on around the world. It is also an exceptional time to be a member of the best public service in the world. I hope you feel it is a great time to be part of this Human Resources community that serves the rest of the public service as well as Canadians.