Prince Charles told an audience in Charlottetown today that while the world faces great challenges, he believes young people are up to the task of facing them.
The prince made his remarks on day three of a four-day visit to Canada. He and his wife Camilla will fly to Winnipeg Tuesday evening.
“We can overcome challenges when we bring together the talent and creativity of people,” said the Prince of Wales, who is in Canada with his wife, Camilla, on a four-day tour of parts of Eastern Canada and Manitoba.
“There is so much creativity, determination and conviction amongst young people just waiting to be tapped.”
The Prince of Wales spoke to invited guests at Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown after being awarded the Symons Medal for his contribution to Canadian society.
Prince Charles said environmental degradation has led to challenges in access to water, energy and food. The environment has long been an issue for the prince, but those concerns have grown since he became a grandfather.
“These are environmental, economic and social issues all tied together,” he said.
“It is all our grandchildren who will have to live with the very serious consequences of us believing today that we can simply carry on with business as usual as if nothing has changed.”
In praising the potential of youth, Charles made specific reference to a model parliament he had just attended at Province House, next door to the Confederation Centre. He said Canada was clearly in good hands with the coming generation.
Prince wields big stick
After the prince's speech, the royal couple attended separate engagements.
While touring a workshop at Charlottetown's Holland College, Prince Charles delighted photographers by brandishing a large wooden mallet designed for hammering in wooden pegs.
Camilla meanwhile visited the Prince Edward Home, Charlottetown's newly opened residential health-care home. After a tour she had tea with the premier's wife and listened to a children's choir.
The royal couple arrived in Nova Scotia on Sunday afternoon, receiving a warm welcome before participating in various events in Halifax and Pictou. They landed on P.E.I. Monday evening.
They attended a concert at Province House featuring P.E.I. musicians as well as non-musical acts.
The couple began public appearances Tuesday with a visit to the youth parliament at Province House.
Flanked by the royal couple, Speaker Carolyn Bertram asked each of the 15 students about their experience with politics and the model parliament.
Prince Charles then asked the participants, those who were also pages in the legislature, how their experience has changed their understanding of the political process — in particular, had it encouraged them, or had it put them off.
Julia O’Hanley, as leader of the opposition, said she was encouraged that government and opposition got along much better than it appeared during question period.
Afterwards, the royal couple stopped for a few minutes to chat with the participants.
From Province House, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall walked next door to the Confederation Centre, where the prince received his Symons Medal
- Royal visit 2014: Prince Charles and Camilla's Canadian tour
- Prince Charles, Camilla visit Pictou and Halifax
After lunch, the prince and duchess visited Cornwall United Church in Cornwall, west of Charlottetown.
The couple met with members of the church choir and talked with children at the church taking part in a program in the church hall. A number of community groups were also at the church to greet them.
Duchess visits private school
From Cornwall, the couple moved on to separate engagements.
Camilla returned to Charlottetown to visit Immanuel Christian School, a private school with 103 students in kindergarten to Grade 9. The duchess had been attracted to the school by a letter-writing campaign from the students.
The school band performed, the students read poetry, and there were excerpts from an upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet.
Prince Charles visited P.E.I.'s newest provincial park at Bonshaw. He was shown fly fishing on the river, met with young members of the Earth Rangers, and was present while Mi'kmaq leaders blessed the trail system.
A plaque was unveiled, officially naming the trails: The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Trail System.
The royal couple boarded a flight for Winnipeg a little after 4 p.m.