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Address to the
International Boating and Water Safety Summit
Loreena McKennitt

Newport Beach, California
March 16, 2005

Thank you so much for inviting me here tonight.

I consider it a great honour for me to speak to North America's leaders in water safety….

This organization is at the very forefront of what my own efforts have attempted to help achieve: a change in the way that our society behaves on the water.

So, you've given me a real gift in inviting me here…

And it's truly a kind act to a Canadian.

You see, in Toronto in March, "water safety" means not falling in vast puddles of melting snow, and PFD stands for "profoundly frozen digits."

Some Canadians will do anything to get to California in March.

So thank you…

When your past chair, Marty Law, and Barbara Byers, from the Canadian Safe Boating Council invited me here, they made note in their letter of my own story. As you may know, I lost my fiancé Ron Rees, in a boating incident seven years ago, on Georgian Bay, which is located in the northeast half of Lake Huron.

Shortly after that, I launched the Cook-Rees Memorial Fund for Water Search and Safety which went on to raise well over $3 million dollars, from personal donations and largely from sales of a recording I was mixing at the time of Ron's death.

Because I had little background in this whole area, I was assisted in assembling an advisory group with some of Canada's top experts in water safety and search and rescue.

And we've now spent close to seven years funding water search and safety initiatives across the country - including many run by police forces, by the Canadian Coast Guard, and by community organizations.

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