Governor General brings message of hope


MARCH 9, 2016 11:19 AM

Governor General David Johnston, right, shakes hands with Doug Hackett, president of the Squamish Community Foundation in West Vancouver last Thursday.

Community Foundations in the Sea to Sky region have answered the call to action in helping to create more smart and caring communities.

This was the message delivered by the Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, on Thursday afternoon (March 3) at an event at the Kay Meek Centre in West Vancouver.

Johnston and his wife Sharon were on a two-day visit recognizing remarkable Canadians with awards and honours as well as participating in a number of cultural, innovation-themed and community-building events.

The Sea to Sky Community Foundations, which include Squamish, Whistler, Sunshine Coast, North Shore, West Vancouver and Bowen Island Community Foundations, hosted the event.

When Johnston was in Vancouver five years ago, he issued a call to action to create smarter and caring communities ahead of Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.

He said community foundations across the country have answered that call and the foundations in the Sea to Sky region are no exception.

“You are exceptional in what you have been able to achieve,” said Johnston. “You are strengthening your communities in so many ways, socially, environmentally, culturally and economically. Your region is culturally diverse and its rapidly changing demographics represent both a challenge and an opportunity.

“In short, while the Sea to Sky region is one of the most beautiful and prosperous regions in Canada we can’t afford to be complaisant. Each of you gets this. That’s why you are here today, because you know there is always more to do and that we must do more.”

Following Johnston’s presentation, Chris Kennedy, superintendent and CEO of West Vancouver Schools, hosted a short panel discussion that included business owners and area youth. The discussion reinforced the need to work together across the region.

“Canada is only as strong as its people as its communities. People don’t just live in Canada – they live in West Vancouver, Bowen Island, Squamish, the North Shore and on the Sunshine Coast,” said Johnston. “People live their daily lives in communities, communities are where the rubber meets the road. That’s why your efforts are so vitally crucial in building a more smarter and caring Canada.

“I’m simply delighted to see all the Community Foundations from the Sea to Sky region working together. You will have a much greater impact that way and this gathering today will strengthen your network and your future together.”

Doug Hackett, president of the Squamish Community Foundation, said the presentation reinforced just how much more work needs to be done.

“I guess the message for us, because we [the Sea to Sky community foundations] really bought into his thoughts of a smart and caring community, there is lots more that we can do,” Hackett said. “We have all kinds of things going on in Squamish and great opportunities, but those opportunities don’t always go to every member of our community, so we need to push those opportunities further down so that more people see those opportunities.

“The work doesn’t stop, but it’s great to have the recognition from David on how far we have come,” said Hackett.

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