Mr. Speaker, in January of last year the Prime Minister told the House the Government of Canada would create a legacy to honour the memory of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. On that occasion the Prime Minister spoke of Mr. Trudeau in the following words:
--Canadians were moved to reflect on and discuss not only the Trudeau legacy but the meaning of Canada and our attachment to it.
His vision was of a mature, confident Canada shaping its own destiny, tied together by a common citizenship, based on shared rights and mutual responsibility--
A bilingual Canada in which citizens could enjoy and benefit from our rich French and English heritage. A country respectful of the special place of aboriginal people. A multicultural Canada, opened to the world and fully seized of its global responsibilities. A just Canada in which opportunity is truly equal.
Last week the Minister of Human Resources Development and I published our innovation strategy. In the strategy we spoke of the need to create a Canadian program similar to the Rhodes scholarships to promote excellence, encourage those who seek it and reward those who achieve it.
I am honoured to announce today that the Government of Canada will endow the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation with $125 million allocated in the budget to enable the creation of a truly world class program for advanced studies in the humanities.
The Foundation will award internationally competitive doctoral fellowships, similar in value and stature to the Rhodes, so that Canadian universities will continue to attract the very best students from our own country, and around the world. And all of this, in the name of Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
What is a more fitting legacy to man who symbolized youth, excellence and the innovative spirit?
The innovation agenda that we announced last week spoke of creating in Canada a culture of excellence to strengthen our economy and to increase our prosperity, but excellence is not measured by material progress alone. Yes, we want the highest standard of living in the world. We want to make the best products and services to create a research climate that will fire technological achievement and spur scientific discovery. The knowledge economy demands no less. Together we will do all of that and more.
But there are equally urgent and important questions of first principles, of values, that go beyond our standard of living to our quality of life. These are questions that can be answered only by excellence in the human sciences, in philosophy and in law, in government and public policy.
The endowment that we announce today will challenge young people to address the great questions to which Prime Minister Trudeau devoted his life, both in and out of politics, as an academic, a lawyer and a statesman.
How can we build a Canada that creates the conditions for, and removes the obstacles to, individual and collective freedoms?
How can we move forward with confidence, fully expressing our sovereignty in a world in which our interests are entwined with those of other, equally sovereign countries?
What are our responsibilities to one another as citizens both of Canada and of the broader world beyond our borders? How can we advance that great Canadian project to move ever closer to the ideal of a just society in which liberty is assured and opportunity is equal?
Thirty years ago this month Pierre Trudeau acknowledged that the pursuit of excellence of the highest values, of the just society will never end. He said:
To seek the Just Society must be amongst the highest of human purposes. Because we are mortal and imperfect, it is a task we will never finish; no government or society ever will. But from our honest and ceaseless effort, we will draw strength and inspiration; we will discover new and better values. On the never-ending road to perfect justice we will, in other words, succeed in creating the most humane and compassionate society possible.
We pledge today to continue that honest and ceaseless effort. To do so we have enlisted the participation of a remarkable group of people. We are delighted that the board of directors of the Trudeau Foundation will include such distinguished Canadians as Peter Lougheed, Louise Fréchette, Bob Rae and Bill Davis.
I also want to recognize the participation of Marc Lalonde, Senator Jacques Hébert, Roy Heenan, Ted Johnson, former premier Roy Romanow and university leaders Robert Lacroix, Martha Piper and Sean Riley. I am also indebted to my colleague, the Minister of Canadian Heritage for her help in shaping this program and to her deputy minister, Alex Himelfarb, for his invaluable assistance.
But two people deserve particular credit. Without Sacha and Justin Trudeau's determination, idealism and yes, their father's famous stubbornness, today's announcement would simply not have been possible. Their father would have been very proud of Sacha and Justin and I thank them on behalf of Canadians everywhere.