The Head of the Public Service Award Ceremony

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Speaking Notes for 

Mel Cappe
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet

Hull, Quebec
December 11, 2000

Check Against Delivery

  • Distinguished guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, I am especially pleased to join with you today to honour some extraordinary men and women. Through this Award, they are being recognized by their peers for their outstanding contributions to government and to Canadians.

  • The Head of the Public Service Award pays tribute to individuals and teams who have demonstrated a high standard of excellence in the following categories: Service Delivery, Valuing and Supporting People, and Policy.

  • Also, for the first time this year, we are presenting a fourth category at this awards ceremony: the John Tait Memorial Award for Values and Ethics. John Tait was a 'true public servant,' and was the person people sought out for counsel on difficult issues of integrity, values and ethics.

  • This afternoon, we will honour two individuals from Citizenship and Immigration Canada who have mainfested excellence in values and ethics. They have exemplified the very highest standard of public service values in the course of their work - democratic, professional, ethical and people values. These are the values that John Tait lived by throughout his career.

  • All of today's recipients confirm that service to one's nation remains an honourable career option for innovative, hard-working, and dedicated men and women.

  • Each one of you is a model not only to those of us whose fortune it is to know and work alongside you, but also to the next generation that is considering committing their time and energy to public service.

  • You have contributed significantly to meeting the challenges facing us in the Public Service today. Some of you have applied leading-edge technologies to overcome the barriers of geography or to preserve our environment for future generations. Others have created new ways to manage processes and motivate people in order to set organizations on a bold new course.

  • Still others have developed ways to instil new regard for other values we hold in common - equity, integrity, and respect for those who protect our freedom.

  • The combined efforts of so many people have a profound impact on the Public Service of Canada. It is through the excellent work of individuals and teams that the Public Service gets its strength and becomes the best it can be.

  • To give you a sense of how far we have come in improving the way we do business, consider these words written in 1992 in the "First Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada":

  • ".. Many recognize the need for change but are perhaps uncertain or apprehensive about how to bring it about. They have a strong commitment to their vocation as public servants and to their clients in the public. Yet they are also doubtful about whether those changes will really benefit the Public Service."

  • Now, nearly nine years later, we can look back with pride on a wide range of reforms and efforts at renewal. It is clear to me that the work of those we honour here today, and thousands more like them across Canada, has clearly shown the benefits of these changes.

  • There is often a temptation to label innovators as ahead of their time. Not so with the recipients of The Head of the Public Service Award. They are precisely the people the Public Service of Canada needs now.and into the future. They are champions of change within an institution so vital to our democracy and our quality of life. All Canadians will share in the benefits of the accomplishments we will hear about today. Furthermore, employees of the Public Service will enjoy a work environment that is more flexible, adaptive and responsive.

  • Some of this year's recipients have longstanding records of achievement in the Public Service of Canada. Others are relative newcomers to the service of Canadians and we are happy that they came aboard.

  • As you review the notes in your program and listen to the citations read here this afternoon, I want you to listen to the words about innovation, commitment, duty and service.

  • When you talk to the proud recipients after the ceremony, I want you to listen to the passion in their voices as they tell you what it is they do for Canadians. Most of all, I want you to listen for the pride they share in service to their nation.

  • What you likely won't hear is just how very demanding they are of themselves.

  • To me, that speaks volumes of the selfless dedication and commitment to purpose of the people of the Public Service of Canada. Each of us has willingly embraced a duty to Canadians and it is for this reason we are so very proud to see these values reflected in this year's honourees.

  • I would ask all of the recipients to stand now to receive our acknowledgement.

  • At this time, I would like Peter Harrison, the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, and Janice Cochrane, the Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to come forward and read the citations for this year's recipients of the Head of the Public Service Award.