RCMP Troop Graduation

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Remarks by Kevin G. Lynch
Clerk of the Privy Council, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Public Service
to the RCMP Graduation

April 14th, 2008
Regina, Saskatchewan

Thank you for the warm welcome at Depot. It is a privilege to offer some remarks to Troop 30 on the occasion of your graduation.

This is a formative moment in your personal and professional lives. You are not simply about to start a job, nor even a career in policing, you are about to begin serving in one of Canada's great national institutions, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Institutions matter to a country. Canada has anchored its constitution in the principles of peace, order and good government. We want peace, and Canadians, serving is one of our national institutions, the Canadian Forces, have been willing to fight and die to preserve it. We embrace the importance of good government, and Canadians have built the national institution which I head, the Public Service of Canada, to support it.

We value order, and Canadians have built the national institution of the RCMP to nurture and protect it. Your motto says it: "Maintiens le droit" (Maintain the right)

Symbols matter to a country. I have the honour every day to look out from my office to two of them: the Parliament Buildings, topped by the soaring Peace Tower and its billowing Maple Leaf flag. The New York Times recently remarked on this same image: "the nexus of Canada's federal government just steps from downtown, across an unfenced emerald lawn ... is thrillingly accessible"...

You, the women and men of the RCMP, in your red serge, are equally one of our national symbols.

History matters to a country. Anyone who has visited Vimy Ridge, gazed up at the hauntingly beautiful Canadian war memorial, walked the battlefield where so many young Canadians died, thought about the impossibility of a young country of farmers and fishermen and tradesmen mustering an army of 100,000 well-trained and Canadian-led soldiers who smashed the imperial might of the German army in 1917, understands the promise of our history.

You, too, are an integral part of our history. The westward and northern push to establish our country from sea to sea to sea, and the need to preserve order in these lands, led to the creation first of the Northwest Mounted Police in 1873, becoming the RCMP in 1919.

In short, the RCMP is part of the fabric of Canada, encompassing our history, our symbols and our national institutions.

Your role is as our national police force. You are drawn from all regions of our country, trained to serve anywhere in our country, stationed throughout our country, and you must always be national in mindset, never local or provincial.

The RCMP you are joining today is, in many ways, very different than 30 years ago when I joined the public service. The world is much more complex, the threats to our citizens and country are much more diverse, globalization has reshaped crime as much as commerce, and technology has transformed the world of policing as it has all other aspects of our lives.

But what hasn't changed is Canadians' desire for peace, order and good government. What hasn't changed is the unique role for you, your fellow officers and the RCMP in meeting those expectations.

I have met RCMP officers serving in Haiti and Afghanistan, officers keeping the peace in remote Inuit communities, officers tackling white collar crime in our major cities, officers protecting us from terrorism that we never imagined would threaten our land. Canadians may not fully understand these risks but they totally expect the RCMP to be up to the task of protecting them and their families.

Being a public servant, and we all serve the Canadian public, is not easy. It takes commitment, it takes dedication, it takes confidence, it takes courage and, at times as RCMP officers well know, it takes the ultimate sacrifice that anyone can offer their country.

But, unlike any other career choice, public service allows you to make a selfless difference to your country, in ways big and small, day after day. That's why you joined the RCMP. And that's why Canadians are fortunate you did.

Good luck. Be proud. Make a difference.

Thank you