Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon told students at Lake City Secondary School that freedom is the most precious possession Canadians have.
“There aren’t many places in the world that you can get in a vehicle on one coast and drive thousands of miles from coast to coast to coast and nobody’s going to stop you and ask you for identification,” Guichon said during an assembly held at the Williams Lake campus Tuesday morning.
Guichon was in Williams Lake to officially launch Thompson Rivers University’s Applied Sustainable Ranching Program, but spent time addressing students at LCSS and Nesika elementary and visiting the Seniors’ Village.
It was her first visit to the community in her official role as lieutenant governor.
Democracy is not an armchair sport, Guichon said as she encouraged students to get involved with politics.
“Don’t just elect someone to represent you in city hall and in Victoria. Continue to give them your input, advice and counsel.”
When it was their turn to ask questions the students queried Guichon on the Syrian refugee crisis, validity of the monarchy, climate change, whether Justin Trudeau was the right choice for Prime Minister, how she was chosen for her role and whether she’d visited Williams Lake before.
“I am so excited that 70 per cent of Canadians got out and voted in the last federal election,” Guichon said. “I think it’s wonderful and we all should give ourselves a hand.”
When pressed for a personal opinion on Trudeau by one of the students, she responded that she will wait until she meets him in person.
As for the refugee crisis, Canada has the opportunity to reach out to people who are caught in war and degradation, she said.
“There’s a lot to learn. It’s incumbent upon us who are well off to help the situation.”
Guichon said in her previous life as a “cowboy,” she visited Williams Lake attending cattlemen’s meetings and was involved with rewriting the water act and regulations for range use.
After a student asked Guichon why she was inspired to run for the position, she explained her name was one of three put forward and submitted to Ottawa for a final decision.
“It was the furthest thing from my mind, but it came at an opportune time,” she said. “My two oldest children and I had just written up a management agreement for them to take over the ranch. Unfortunately in agriculture we often don’t have a retirement plan and this has become a wonderful retirement plan.”
Answering the climate change question Guichon said she’s an environmentalist.
“I say that knowing that all of us are environmentalists as long as we eat and breath and drink clean water. I am concerned about all of the environmental changes that we see happening. I cannot see that we can go on being forever consumptive in this world as our populations grow.”
Before leaving Guichon presented principal Gregg Gaylord with two books for the school’s library and bookmarks for all of the students.
The bookmarks contain information about her Sing Me A Song contest where participants are asked to create a song about Canada’s 150th birthday coming up in 2017.
Guichon said details are available on her website and entries are due by March 31, 2016.