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Published on Wednesday, May 4, 2016

2016 Margaret Trudeau Intro

May 4, 2016 CMHA Presentation

2016 Margaret Trudeau Intro
How would it make you feel to be invited to introduce Margaret Trudeau?

Two strong feelings welled up in me. First, it made me feel incredibly happy - but not for the reason you might think, and I’ll get to that in a minute or so. Second, it made me feel incredibly nervous, because what could be said that you don't already know about so famous a Canadian as Margaret Trudeau?

Then it came to me. There is something you might not know about Margaret Trudeau. And it's very relevant to tonight. Margaret Trudeau has been inspiring change for the better right here in Halton. She has inspired me as a mayor and as a chair of the police board. In both jobs important work is underway to build up mental health programs for the public and for civic employees.

We're working on the first community safety and well-being plans. Margaret Trudeau has been a galvanizing and inspirational leader in the cause of promoting well-being. She is building on great work done by others whom we can all respect. Let me tell you about two.

First, 53 years ago, in a study called, More for the Mind, a study of psychiatric services in Canada, the Canadian Mental Health Association said, and I quote:
“In no other field, except perhaps leprosy, has there been as much confusion, misdirection, and discrimination against the patient, as in mental illness… Down through the ages, they have been estranged by society and cast out to wander in the wilderness. Mental illness, even today, is all too often considered a crime to be punished, a sin to be expiated, a possessing demon to be exorcised, a disgrace to be hushed up, a personality weakness to be deplored, or a welfare problem to be handled as cheaply as possible,”

Second, and not as long ago, in 2005, in a report called Transforming Mental Health: Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada, by the Standing Senate committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, let by The Honourable Michael J. L. Kirby, chair, The Honourable Wilbert Joseph Keon, Deputy Chair, a gentleman named Roy Muise, of Halifax, was quoted as saying poignantly what is needed, and I quote:
“To the people at Canada, I say welcome us into society as full partners. We are not to be feared or pitied. Remember, we are your mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, your friends, co-workers, and children. Join hands with us and travel together with us on our road to recovery.”

We have a good beginning behind us on this road. And we have a good way ahead of us to go on this road.

And, now, the reason why it makes me feel so happy to introduce Margaret Trudeau tonight is the chance it gives me to thank her for something she did 32 years ago. She agreed to trust a young television producer - that would be me - who saw in her the spark that would fire a good TV talk show and help illuminate issues of the day.

Margaret Trudeau is still illuminating issues of the day. Margaret Trudeau still has that spark and engages and encourages others. We're so lucky to have her here with us. Ladies and gentlemen, Margaret Trudeau!
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: Speeches



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