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Executive Council
March 19, 2013

The following are speaking notes delivered March 19 by the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, at the Installation of Lieutenant Governor Frank Fagan.

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Your Honours,
Mr. Chief Justice and Mrs. Green,
Senator Fabian Manning
Members of the House of Assembly,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my great delight today to welcome Frank and Patricia Fagan to your new roles on behalf of people throughout our province.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are eager to meet their new Lieutenant Governor, and I know how much you are looking forward to the opportunities you will have over the next five years to engage with them.

The Monarchy and its Vice-Regal offices have changed immeasurably in recent decades. The pomp and circumstance remain very impressive – and who wouldn’t be impressed by a motorcade, an honour guard and a 15-gun artillery salute!

But thanks to the leadership of The Queen, her family and those who have served to represent her in recent years, the distance separating this royal institution from the people has narrowed significantly.

When William and Kate toured Canada some months ago, it was abundantly clear that the connection with people was stronger, more immediate and more vibrant than ever.

I believe that you bring to this office that very same down-to-earth, heartfelt concern for people and connection with people, and I am anticipating great things as you take on your new roles representing the Crown here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

I could certainly join others in listing off the many accomplishments that make you eminently qualified to take on the significant responsibilities awaiting you. But instead today, let me focus on the people you will be meeting in the months and years ahead.

Many of them will be young people, not quite sure how everything works in our society, but eager to learn and eager to make a difference. As you look into their eyes and engage them with genuine interest, they will feel the surge of self-confidence that comes from being respected.

Some of these young people have been profoundly disadvantaged; some have been downtrodden; some have faced the challenges of a disability and persevered despite the hurdles in their path.

By holding your gaze and shaking your hand, they will feel the surge of pride and self-worth that comes from acknowledgement of their efforts. The experience of meeting you may well be what propels them to take on even greater challenges and chalk up even greater victories. That is the magnitude of the power of your new office. You have the capacity to change lives.

You will walk into communities far removed from Government House where garden parties and galas have little to do with people’s daily struggles. People may ask you frank questions about the relevance of the office you hold. It is in those moments of stark honesty when you will have the opportunity to leave the greatest impression and make the greatest difference.

It is in those moments that you can help people see that the institutions that define this place are not far removed from them but intimately connected with who they are, where they live and what they do.

You are not The Queen’s representative at Government House alone, but also her representative in the gardens of Glovertown, in the long shadows of Gros Morne, along the rocky shoreline of Nain and in the kitchens of Kippens. You are not above the people or apart from the people, but one with the people that your government serves.

And you are not just a representative of someone else. You are also clothed in the experiences you have gathered as a family through a lifetime of work and public service.

Young athletes will receive your accolades and your friendly advice with open ears because they know your advice comes from the firsthand experience of a sports-loving family. The words of encouragement and respect you speak to young entrepreneurs will sink deep because they realize you know a thing or two about running an enterprise.

Community volunteers will give you a firm handshake of respect because they know you stepped up to the plate with contributions of your own and made the choice to make a difference. When you encourage others to give of their resources and their time, you will touch the conscience of those you speak to because they can see what you have done.

As a couple who has known both the joys of parenting and the profound heartbreak of loss, you will be able to embrace people with empathy and compassion just as they reach out to embrace you with heartfelt concern as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians so often do.

Many times we wonder why we are called on to endure life’s most difficult trials. I believe the silver lining in those darkest moments is that they equip us more fully to help others face the challenges that they, too, must endure.

You are a wonderful couple, and it is truly an honour for all of us as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to have you serve together as The Queen’s representative in our communities.

I am confident that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will embrace you with open arms, not only in the grand ceremonies that celebrate and elevate their greatest accomplishments, but also in those quiet moments of one-on-one conversation when those all-important connections that unite us are made most meaningful.

May you both enjoy good health and a profound sense of fulfillment as you take on your important new role.

2013 03 19             11:15 a.m.

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