21 December 2007 Ottawa, Ontario

Greetings from the nation’s capital.

The Christmas season is upon us once again and it’s a wonderful time of year. We can relax and be with our loved ones, celebrate our faith, reflect on our good fortune to live in the greatest country in the world.

Of all the joys of the season, perhaps none is more satisfying than the joy of giving. Not just the gifts exchanged between family and friends, but the gifts of time, money and effort many give to people less fortunate than ourselves. That spirit of generosity is one of the things that defines us as Canadians and its purest expression today is the Canadian mission in Afghanistan, where our soldiers, diplomats and aid workers are, at great cost to themselves helping the Afghan people rebuild their shattered country.

2007 was a great year for Canada and in 2008, we will be celebrating some important milestones in our country’s history:

– the 150th anniversary of the creation of British Columbia

– the 250th anniversary of parliamentary democracy, first established in Nova Scotia,

– and the 400th anniversary of the founding of Québec city by Samuel de Champlain, the very first governor of Canada.

On behalf of our family, Laureen, Ben, Rachel and myself, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and best wishes for a healthy and happy new year.

See the Christmas message on video: