Mr. Speaker, before I begin I would like once again to congratulate the member for on his new role as leader of the official opposition. We all have a lot of work ahead of us, and we will work for a better Canada.
Last week, Canada lost the only sovereign that most of us have ever known. It is important to take these occasions, here in Parliament and across the country, to recognize the service and leadership she provided us.
When someone lives until 96, this should not come as a surprise, and yet her sudden absence has struck us all palpably and profoundly. Her Majesty was everywhere: on coins, in her portraits hanging in Parliament and post offices, and in her televised Christmas address, a cozy ritual in homes from coast to coast to coast. The Queen meant so much to so many of us, and she exuded a humility and compassion that provided comfort to all.
I was extraordinarily fortunate to have known Her Majesty throughout my life. The first time I met her was in 1977 when I was just a little boy. When I would meet with her as Prime Minister almost four decades later in 2015, I joked that the last time we met she had been taller than me. She responded with a quip about my making her feel old. Her sense of humour was one of her many great qualities and one of the many reasons why she was one of my favourite people in the world.
She embraced her role as Queen of Canada, our Queen, our head of state. Her conversations with me were always candid. We talked about anything and everything. She gave her best advice on a range of issues. She was always curious, engaged and thoughtful. Canadians can be forever grateful for her counsel.
In a way, everybody knew her. Canadians feel like they have lost a family member, a family member who grew up alongside us. She was only nine years old when she carried out what was perhaps her first official duty for Canada, appearing on a postage stamp. That was in 1935. Her Majesty was with us for important birthdays, like in 1967 when she cut Canada's centennial cake on Parliament Hill. Our country came of age under her reign. It was Her Majesty who proclaimed and signed the Constitution Act of 1982 and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These pillars of our democracy help uphold the stability of our country and keep us free.
Her Majesty felt at home in Canada. She visited Canada more often than any other country. A few years ago she said, “whether watching a chuck wagon race at the Calgary Stampede or athletic prowess at the Montreal Olympics, whether listening to an Inuit song of greeting in Nunavut or the skirl of pipes in Nova Scotia, I have always felt not only welcome but at home in Canada.”
The Queen had a deep appreciation for our culture. In 1964, she said that she was pleased to know that there was a place in our Commonwealth where she was expected to speak officially in French. She liked the language very much and spoke it impeccably.
Many words have been used to describe the qualities that mark the legacy of Her Majesty, words like duty, service, devotion and stability. Each of these words marks a slightly different aspect of what she gave to us.
When we think of duty, we reflect on how the Queen embodied the Crown above all else, how her final public act was a constitutional one as she invited the United Kingdom's new Prime Minister to form government and how her last public statement was one offering condolences to survivors and the loved ones of the victims in Saskatchewan.
When we think of service, we remember how, in 1945 as Princess Elizabeth, she donned a uniform and joined the Allied efforts, including those of more than a million Canadians, during World War II.
When we think of her devotion, we recall images and stories of Her Majesty as a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Our thoughts are with her devoted family as they mourn her with such grace and love.
Above all, when we think of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, we reflect on how she provided us with stability. Her 70-year reign is unprecedented. Last June, we celebrated the Platinum Jubilee of a Canadian sovereign for the first time ever. Canada experienced extraordinary peace and prosperity during her reign.
As Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent said when he addressed this House after the death of King George, her father, in 1952, “We have, in our commonwealth nations, a system of government as free as any on earth”.
Today, the world is in a tough place. We are all reeling from an unprecedented global pandemic. Putin's brutal and unjustifiable war is threatening global stability. Around the globe, democratic institutions are being challenged, but Canadians can rightly be proud of living in one of the strongest democracies in the world. Our institutions are healthy. Our debates are robust, and we have an enviable stability and resilience despite, or perhaps because of, Canadians' vast diversity of beliefs, backgrounds and perspectives.
It is this very strength and stability, represented by the Crown and embodied by the Queen, that Canadians have always benefited from, and we, as parliamentarians and Canadians, dedicate ourselves each and every day to those democratic principles. Each of us sitting here in this House has chosen to serve our communities and our country. We also do so in the knowledge that the challenges of our time in public office are time limited, but for Her Majesty public service was her entire life.
Right up until the very end she had an unflinching enduring commitment to service and to building a better world and a better future. All of us here know that service requires sacrifices; the Queen did so with grace. Her selflessness and dedication is a model to remind us of the weight and the importance of every day we sit in this House and to inspire us as we go forward.
In our constitutional monarchy, the Crown's functions in our government are to be a bedrock for our constitution and to transcend the daily political debates. Our new King, King Charles III, demonstrated his commitment to the larger sweep of history with his most recent tour, which included a focus on the generational work necessary to achieve reconciliation and fight climate change. The stability of our overarching democratic institutions gives Canadians assurance and peace of mind so we can all focus on the issues that matter most, like taking care of people, our economy, our communities and our planet.
Before I conclude, on behalf of all Canadians, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to the royal family.
This weekend I am going to London with former prime ministers and governors general to attend Her Majesty's state funeral, which will take place on Monday. On that day, Canada will mark her passing with a national day of mourning and will be holding a commemorative ceremony.
I hope that, next Monday, Canadians from coast to coast to coast will take a moment to reflect on Her Majesty's incomparable legacy and the high ideals she embodied.
Queen Elizabeth served her duties and her peoples up until the end, there for all of us until her final moments. We shall all miss her immensely, but I know, as we all know, that our new sovereign, His Majesty King Charles III, will uphold the very values that we speak to today and continue her legacy.
Long live the King.
Mr. Speaker, the House of Commons is reflecting on the exceptional life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of Canada, our Queen.
For about seventy years she was our head of state, and beyond that she also served the Canadian people. She was a role model for all those shouldering public service responsibilities.
Her sense of duty reminded us that, for all the pomp and circumstance, the real work of governing is not glamourous. It often requires putting aside egos, keeping our heads down and keeping on with the job. Her humility reminded us that government is not about us; it is about those we serve. We are, indeed, servants and not masters.
The Queen had a special place in our hearts and we had a special place in hers. She spent more official time here in Canada than in any other country, save the United Kingdom.
She first visited Canada as Princess Elizabeth in 1951. It was on that trip that she said, “From the moment when I first set foot on Canadian soil, the feeling of strangeness went, for I knew myself to be not only amongst friends, but amongst fellow countrymen.” She would visit Canada over 20 times as the Queen. She was present at so many of our most important occasions: the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, the centennial Expo in 1967, the 1976 summer Olympics and the patriation of our Constitution in 1982.
As we reflect on Her late Majesty's life and service, we reflect also on the enduring nature of the institution over which she was the Crown.
On her visit to Canada in 1951, then Princess Elizabeth planted an oak sapling in Vancouver. Seventy-one years later, that sapling has grown into a mighty and stately oak whose canopy provides relief from the sun or, it being in Vancouver, perhaps more likely shelter from the rain. The oak tree has long been a royal symbol. It is a symbol of the British constitution, whose forms we inherited and whose conventions we follow in this House. In Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, he wrote the constitution was a spreading oak tree, under whose protective shade the British could peacefully and securely enjoy life, as is only possible for those who live under ordered liberty.
In Burke's day, the Crown was already a largely symbolic institution. The Civil War had made Parliament supreme more than a century earlier. The conventions of cabinet were established and are similar to what they are now today, but there were voices who thought it was time to set aside the monarchy. Burke understood, however, that the key to stability, civil peace and freedom was not to scrap the Crown, but to keep it free from day-to-day politics.
When each of us entered this place, this Parliament of ours, we entered a place rooted in a historic compromise between Crown and commoner, a compromise that was forged over centuries through bloody conflict, but also through peaceful evolution. The authority of the Crown may in a sense be fictional, but it is also functional. The separation of symbolic authority from political power allows partisan politics to be contested fearlessly without threatening the enduring constitutional order. Parties and politicians come and go; the Crown endures. The division of duties or the “org chart”, as we might say in workplace lingo, is simple: The Crown preserves parliamentary democracy and the commoners practise it, as we do here in this place.
Where does all this come from? Well, it is at least as old as the Magna Carta itself. In 1215, the barons gathered in the fields of Runnymede outside of London to confront the King. They were angry at being overtaxed to fund royal adventurism overseas and frustrated by arbitrary excesses of royal power at home. They were determined to rein in the Crown's authority. The barons forced King John to sign the great charter, the Magna Carta, which spelled out the rights and freedoms that the Crown must honour. This was and is liberty under the law.
Over the next 800 years, those liberties would be gradually extended, improved upon and given not only to citizens of the United Kingdom, but to all of those who inherited British-style parliamentary democracy. Though the system is 800 years old, it is only one generation deep. If one generation throws it away, all may lose it forever. That is why the work of Her Majesty in preserving that liberty and that system is such a treasured gift to us all and to many more yet to come. As Burke put it, it is a “partnership...between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born”.
We are the living generation and we have a duty to pass on to our children what Diefenbaker called the “heritage of freedom” we inherited from our ancestors. This is an inheritance of all Canadians, not just those of British lineage. I myself am not of British descent, but I recognize that this tradition and these liberties are my own, just as our first French Canadian prime minister, the great Wilfrid Laurier, did more than a century ago.
When visiting France in 1897, prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier stated, on behalf of all French Canadians, that he was loyal to England and to France. He said, “We are faithful to the great nation which gave us life, we are faithful to the great nation which gave us liberty.”
He explained this to a French audience. It is our glory in Canada.
When the Queen spoke at the patriation of our Constitution in 1982, at a ceremony not far from where I stand and all members sit today, she said:
The genius of Canadian federalism...lies in your consistent ability to overcome differences through reason and compromise. That ability is reflected in the willingness of the ordinary people of French-speaking Canada and English-speaking Canada, and of the various regions, to respect each other’s rights, and to create together the conditions under which all may prosper in freedom.
In his inaugural address, King Charles III stated that he was raised with the greatest respect for the precious traditions, freedoms and responsibilities of our unique history and our system of parliamentary government.
I congratulate the new king on his responsibilities, and I look forward to serving, here in Canada, all Canadian peoples, as he, too, devotes his life to service.
It is with a heavy heart but heartfelt thanks, and with confidence in the future, that I say Godspeed Queen Elizabeth II, God save the King and God bless Canada.
Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I want to join with my colleagues in marking the tragic loss of life in Saskatchewan, on the James Smith Cree Nation and in the town of Weldon. The sorrow and pain for the families who lost their loved ones to such unspeakable violence is beyond our understanding. We hold these families close in our hearts.
Today I want to join in marking the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and extend my condolences to her family. At the age of 21 she made the promise that she would spend her whole life, whether it be long or short, fulfilling her duty. For more than 70 years, she kept this promise.
Two days before she died, she met with the incoming British prime minister and invited her to form a government, ensuring that she fulfilled this final constitutional duty.
Queen Elizabeth II led a remarkable life, a life marked by history. Amid tremendous change, she was a figure of stability, providing a constant symbol to many.
Ninety-six years is a long time for anyone to be alive. She was born before mass communication and media shrank the distances between nations, before television, and long before the Internet brought us limitless access to information.
Her life was marked by war. In World War II, as her parents vowed to stay in London while it was bombed, she and her sister were moved to Windsor for safety. As children in war, the Queen and her sister took to the airwaves in a radio broadcast for other children who were also experiencing the worry and fear of bombing attacks and parents gone to fight.
Throughout her life, Queen Elizabeth II used her platform to offer encouragement in difficult times. Most recently, during the pandemic, she reminded us that we would get through the challenge and the pain of not being able to see loved ones. She asked us to greet the tough times with optimism and hope, by pulling together and doing what needed to be done. She said, “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again. We will meet again.”
For many, her death marks the end of an era. She is the only queen we have ever known. She loved Canada very much, and I have heard many stories from people who were very touched by their encounters with Her Majesty.
In the days since her death, I have heard many Canadians talk about meeting her. She came to Canada often, as has been remarked, showing her affection for this country. Many who met the Queen, sometimes for the briefest of moments, feel that she took the time to listen to them and was interested in their lives and sincere in her appreciation for the chance to meet them. This was her gift: to make one feel seen in a crowd of thousands and to invest her whole attention in every encounter, even when it was one of many.
I would also like to take a moment to congratulate King Charles III on assuming his mother's legacy. He is grieving this profound loss as the world watches, while also ensuring that he lives up to the task. I hope he will rise to the challenge of reconciliation that has been laid before him by First Nations leaders and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
One of the calls to action is for the issuing of a royal proclamation of reconciliation. I hope that when the has his first meeting with the new King, he will remind him of this outstanding call to action and the power that King Charles has to further the goal of reconciliation.
There is also much work to be done to repair the relationship of the Crown with many people around the world who experienced pain as a result of colonialization. Loss of language and culture, violence and war are the legacies of a colonial past. I believe the new King has an opportunity and a responsibility to do what he can to right the wrongs of the past.
In closing, I want to again extend my deep condolences to the family of Queen Elizabeth II. More than a monarch, she was a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. It is for her family that we must feel the deepest sympathy. They have lost a pillar of strength, a reminder of their own history and an example of a life well lived.
Mr. Speaker, with our parliamentary leader unable to attend this morning, it is my honour to rise on behalf of the Green caucus to mark the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Before I begin, I, too, want to acknowledge the tragic loss of life in James Smith Cree Nation and let that entire community know that we are thinking of them.
With her reign of over 70 years, the longest of any British monarch, Her Majesty was a true example of living a life of service. I would like to express our condolences to her family and all of those who loved her.
Reflections on the life of the late sovereign tend to centre on the word “duty”. It was the decision of her late uncle to reject the call of duty and follow the call of love that led her father, King George VI, to the throne. It was his untimely death in 1952 that threw a young woman, a newlywed at that, into a life of service and duty. The personal cost to her and her family can never be fully known, no matter how many Hollywood treatments her life inspires.
As a constitutional monarchy, our system of government acknowledges Her Majesty the Queen as our head of state. That close connection binds all members of the Commonwealth. Of course, there are many political questions that remain to be discussed. Today is not that day. Today, we honour and mourn a remarkable woman who loved this country and its citizens, the late Queen Elizabeth II, who set a standard that is unparalleled.
My seatmate and colleague from had wished to be here this morning and I know she has cherished various encounters with the royal family. Although she did not meet with the Queen, the Queen's husband, the late Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, and his son, now the King, were very active in the conservation of nature and environmental causes. Her Majesty shared those concerns.
What endeared her to so many of us were her playful encounters. The just referenced her quips that he made her feel old, as in 2015 at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta, when she poked fun at him for publicly making her feel ancient.
Personally, I think it is fabulous that Noel Coward so loved the Queen and the Queen Mother for their mischievous senses of humour.
As we reflect on the Queen's life and the road ahead, let us hold the duty of reconciliation with indigenous people across the country.
Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that I rise today as Minister of Canadian Heritage to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
It is in difficult times, such as times of mourning, that we connect with our fundamental humanity, that we feel that sense of solidarity, that we remember we belong to a community. That has been clear in recent days as people around the world have shared memories and paid tribute, and the people of this country are no exception.
Queen Elizabeth II has been an inspiring figure for Canada throughout her life. She has been there every day, for almost half of our country's existence. During the 70 years of her reign and during her 23 visits to our country, 22 of which were as Queen, she visited all regions of Canada. She went from east to west and from north to south to meet and listen to Canadians. She said that she felt at home with us, and that she shared the pride of our achievements. In defining moments, the moments of joy but also of sadness, she was there. She was always there with us.
She was present for some of our country's signal moments, including Expo 67, which many say put Montreal on the map. In 1970, she attended the centennial celebration of Manitoba's and the Northwest Territories' entry into the Canadian Confederation. The Queen was at British Columbia's centennial in 1971 and at Prince Edward Island's in 1973.
She was with us for the 15th Commonwealth Games in Victoria in 1994. This was the first time athletes with a disability were able to compete in the games. She also came to visit the newly added territory of Nunavut to meet the vibrant communities in the north.
The Queen proclaimed our national flag and established our honour system. In 2007, she helped reopen the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. In 2010, she marked the centennial of the Royal Canadian Navy in Halifax.
I could go on for quite some time, but these few examples show the strength of her commitment and her longevity in public service. She was a stable presence for our country in a world changed by war and human tragedy. With her extraordinary sense of service and tremendous sensitivity, she stood by us and Canadians in challenging times and times of celebration.
In her life, many who knew her well said that she was very funny. We even got a sense of that recently when we all joined her in a good laugh as she had tea with Paddington Bear for her Platinum Jubilee.
As a patron to more than 15 Canadian charities, she helped build a better society by promoting education, health, child welfare, the arts, military service and so much more.
Until the very end of her life, she was committed to the well-being of our communities. Just a week ago, she offered her condolences to the victims of the horrific attacks that occurred in Saskatchewan and to all those who lost loved ones during that tragedy.
She embodied the values of solidarity, unity and generosity that we as Canadians share and pass on to our children and grandchildren.
In recent years, as a people, we have stood with the Queen in her difficult moments, including the passing of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, whom she called her “strength”.
This week, we are grieving together. Let us therefore take the time to pay tribute to her. I encourage people to visit the commemorative website in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. All Canadians are invited to sign the book of condolences, which can also be done online. Yesterday, more than 45,000 Canadians had already shared their memories and expressed their condolences to the royal family. It is deeply touching to see so many messages from people from all over the country, from all walks of life, people who have different beliefs but who remember this queen, who was a friend and unconditional ally to Canada.
In recognition of the significant relationship between Her Majesty and Canada, and to shine a light on her service and contributions, many buildings and landmarks are now illuminated in royal blue from sunset to midnight. As well, Canadian flags will be flown at half-mast on Government of Canada buildings at home and abroad, including the Peace Tower, until sunset on September 19.
On the day of Her Majesty's funeral in London, a national ceremony of commemoration will take place here in Canada, in Ottawa, and broadcast live on television and social media. People in our capital region will be able to gather along the route of the memorial parade just prior to the actual ceremony. This national day of mourning will provide an opportunity for all Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, to reflect on her accomplishments, her love of our country, her warmth and her grace.
All details about the national commemorative ceremony can be found online. I encourage people to consult the Canadian Heritage website.
We will very much miss the Queen's reassuring presence and unique smile as well as her leadership and kindness. She embodied the values of constancy, stability and compassion, which will forever be etched in our country's history, and I have no doubt that Her Majesty's example will inspire our new sovereign, King Charles III, in his commitment to our nation.
Finally, I would like to present my most sincere condolences to the royal family and reiterate that Canada will always remember the dedication and affection Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II showed our nation.
May she rest in peace.
Mr. Speaker, for generations of Canadians, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a constant in a world filled with change. Even when she was 96 years of age, many of us felt like she would always be there. After all, she had been a part of so much of our history. She was our Queen, so it feels almost unreal to declare “God save the King”.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited Canada more often than any other country on earth. I remember with great clarity Her Majesty's visit to Stratford in 1997 to view a scene from The Taming of the Shrew at the Stratford Festival. I remember watching her helicopter land in the aptly named Lower Queen's Park. I then ran to Upper Queen's Park and stood on a lawn chair six or seven rows back to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty during her walkabout. Many in our community also remember her previous visit to Stratford, in 1959, with Prince Philip for a performance of Shakespeare's As You Like It.
When our country celebrated great milestones, she was here. She was her for the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, Expo 67, the Montreal Olympics, the patriation of the Constitution, the centennials of the entry into Confederation of British Columbia and, 34 years later, for that of Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 1964, she was here for the 100th anniversary of the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences.
In an address at the opening of the Confederation Centre, Her Majesty The Queen reflected on her beloved Canada. She said:
We know the splendor of her achievements in peace and in the dark years of war, the esteem in which she is held in the great councils of the world, the contributions to the enrichment of the Commonwealth, the generosity and sense of responsibility toward the newly developing countries, and willingness to assume the gravest of international responsibilities—all these and much else have grown out of this great act of political statesmanship and have made Canada what she is today.
We, as members of the House of Commons, represent one of two houses of Parliament, but we also represent one of three parts of Parliament: the House of Commons, the Senate and the Crown. Indeed, the first time these three parts of Parliament formally convened was in 1957 for the opening of the 23rd Parliament. In the Speech from the Throne, the first to be delivered by the monarch, the Queen stated:
I greet you as your Queen. Together we constitute the Parliament of Canada. For the first time the representatives of the people of Canada and their Sovereign are here assembled on the occasion of the opening of Parliament. This is for all of us a moment to remember.
Parliamentary government has been fashioned by the wisdom of many centuries. Its justice, authority and dignity are cherished by men of good will.
I share that quotation from 1957 because it reflects the sincerity with which Her Majesty conducted her constitutional obligations.
In Walter Bagehot's The English Constitution, he ably divides the institutions of government into two parts: the dignified and the efficient. The dignified parts are “those which excite and preserve the reverence of the population” and the efficient parts are “those by which it, in fact, works and rules.” The dignified parts are the Crown. The efficient parts are the government.
Now I am sure there have been times over the decades that Her Majesty may have wondered how efficient some of her ministers may have been, but as the ever-dignified sovereign, she respected her constitutional role.
While she was always dignified, it did not stop her from surprising us, as she did with her famous entry to the London Olympics with 007, and with her ever-so-poignant tea with Paddington Bear during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this year.
Seventy-five years ago, on her 21st birthday, Princess Elizabeth pledged that her whole life would be devoted to service. To her final days, she fulfilled that pledge of service. To paraphrase Shakespeare, we shall not look upon her like again.
Mr. Speaker, I rise with a very heavy heart and much sadness to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who committed and dedicated her life to selfless duty and service. I also hold in my thoughts King Charles III, the Queen Consort and the royal family, who are not only grieving the loss of their Queen, but also their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
There will be many opportunities in the times to come to more fully reflect on the Queen's extraordinary life and service, but today I would like to speak very personally about how Her Majesty impacted one family far across the Atlantic.
In 1939, there was a young Ukrainian Canadian mother. She was a widow at 22 with two children under five. She was heartbroken and struggling. Her family were farmers in Alliston, Ontario, and there was very little money. That woman was my grandmother. Throughout her life, she talked about how a young princess had inspired her and kept her going through the darkest time of her life.
My Nanny admired that the young princess had urged her father to allow her to serve her country during World War II. She had volunteered in the women's Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women's branch of the British Army, where she became a driver and trained in auto mechanics. She understood what it meant to put on a uniform and serve. It was a pioneering move. The sight of a woman taking apart engines and changing tires also signalled a sea change in gender roles in society that would continue throughout the future Queen's lifetime.
My grandmother was inspired by the then princess and followed her lead. She found work. When Dominion Small Arms Limited munitions factory started in Mississauga, my grandmother found work to do her part for the war effort, inspired by the young princess. While these two women came from different worlds and had very different lives, my grandmother felt a connection with the princess and later Her Majesty, a princess who saw young people her age who went to war, who fought and who gave their lives. She wanted to serve the war effort against her father's wishes.
This was at a time when young men in Toronto from regiments like the Queen's Own Rifles, the 48th Highlanders and the Toronto Scottish were leaving their homes for service overseas. Families were regularly receiving bad news from the front. Princess Elizabeth understood that families were making terrible sacrifices for the war effort and for freedom. It should be remembered that today she was the only head of state that had served in the Second World War. This was a princess who did not mind getting her hands dirty maintaining different types of heavy-armoured vehicles, who operated in a man's world and who did it cheerfully, a princess who comforted the children of the nation when they were evacuated from the bombing.
Later on, my grandmother took every opportunity to stand in the crowds whenever Queen Elizabeth came. She wanted to show her support for a leader who dedicated her whole life to service and who had an impossible job. She hoped that maybe, just maybe, she might have the opportunity to say “thank you”. While she never got that chance to express her gratitude, those who did meet her were made to feel they mattered.
When we were children, our Etobicoke neighbourhood moms got together, packed us up in cars and drove us downtown so that we could get a glimpse of the royal couple and remember that moment all our lives. In grade 7, I chose to do a speech on her.
Among a sea of men in business, Parliament, radio and television, and the running of the world she stood out, as did her compassion, grace and warmth. She showed generations of women and men that women could be leaders and that they are.
In a world of continuous change, from the devastation of the Second World War to COVID-19, Her Majesty was a constant, an example, a stateswoman. Across generations so many felt that personal connection. The women at the Legion talked about watching her coronation. The women at the church looked forward to her annual Christmas message. I heard from young women how they enjoyed watching her Platinum Jubilee celebrations on their phones. I heard how people felt personally connected to her. She was also known for how she could bring people and countries together. She fostered enduring bonds among the Commonwealth of Nations.
Today is our opportunity to express our gratitude for the life and service of Queen Elizabeth II. She did not choose her life, but inherited a life of duty. At the young age of 25, she pledged her life to the service of others. Everyone in this chamber knows what it is like to serve, but all of us had a choice. She fulfilled her promise with unwavering dignity, grace and faithfulness for 70 years.
I humbly thank Her Majesty and thank her on behalf of my grandmother for the extraordinary life of a Queen who served for seven decades, who worked right up until her final moments at age 96, a woman who will remain in the hearts of many.
Today my thoughts and prayers are with the people across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. I send my deepest condolences to the royal family.
Mr. Speaker, as I rise today, I feel sadness at the passing of a great historical figure, but I take solace in a pleasant personal memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I would like to quickly share my story.
In 2002, during Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee, celebrating 50 years on the throne, I went to London as a tourist. I went to Buckingham Palace in August, when it is open to tourists. My wife and I were touring Buckingham Palace when, for some unknown reason, I turned to her and said, “I think I will come back here someday.”
Four years later, I was the commanding officer of the Régiment de la Chaudière, a Canadian Armed Forces unit whose colonel-in-chief was Queen Elizabeth II, as she was for 13 other regiments in Canada, including the famous Royal 22nd Regiment.
I was surprised to learn that, as commanding officer of the Régiment de la Chaudière, I had direct access to my colonel-in-chief. I requested an audience with Her Majesty to present her with a copy of Le Régiment de la Chaudière, which had recently been reprinted. It was a special edition printed specifically for Her Majesty. Imagine my surprise when my request was promptly accepted. The Queen's office told me that Her Majesty would receive me on May 5, 2006.
The problem was that my daughter was turning one year old on May 5, 2006. I summoned the courage to ask Her Majesty's secretary whether the meeting could be rescheduled and, again, I was surprised to hear back that they understood and that there was no problem rescheduling. The audience was postponed by two weeks. I thought it was rather cheeky of me. The Queen had granted me an audience and there I was, saying I was unavailable and asking Her Majesty to reschedule.
I was thrilled that they were so respectful and agreed to reschedule the audience.
In May 2006, I was received at Buckingham Palace, together with my honorary colonels, Marcel Belleau and Laurence Létourneau; the museum's director at the time, my friend Richard Martin; my regimental sergeant major, Claude Pineault; and our wives.
Here is another funny part of my trip to see Her Majesty. When I arrived at London Heathrow, the customs officer asked me what I was doing in England. I said that I was coming to meet with the Queen. The customs officer looked at me and asked me the real reason. Again, I said that I was coming to meet with the Queen. It made me so happy to say, “I am officially here to meet with the Queen.”
Obviously, it is very rare for tourists to enter Buckingham Palace. Usually, the gates are locked up tight and people stand out front, hoping to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty. My group and I were lucky enough to make our way through the gate and straight to the palace, to be welcomed, to be received in a hall, in front of the Queen's office.
It was obviously stressful. Meetings with the Queen at Buckingham Palace are quite rare. It is difficult to explain the feeling that comes over you when the office door opens and you see the small figure of Her Majesty waiting. It is a combination of anxiety and joy.
There are obviously protocols. When entering the office, women curtsy. The Queen must be greeted. Earlier, the Prime Minister mentioned in his speech that the Queen had a wonderful sense of humour. When Her Majesty saw that everyone was rather uncomfortable and did not know what to do, she made a joke to put everyone at ease. She said, “You know, the gentleman who was here with me before you was the general in command of my royal guard, but he is limping because he fell off his horse.” She spoke excellent French. When the Queen made that joke about the general in charge of her royal guard, the tension broke and we burst out laughing. That set the stage for our meeting, which ended up being fantastic.
The purpose of the meeting was obviously to discuss my regiment, the Régiment de la Chaudière. I mentioned to her that she had last met with her regiment in the 1950s.
She replied, quite simply, that it was about time. Her Majesty's brief response was charming. During our meeting, we presented her with the book about the regiment's history and told her about her regiment and how it was doing. It was all done without fanfare, but it was highly significant for me and my companions, my honorary colonels and our wives. One never forgets an audience like that at Buckingham Palace. The Queen had an unpretentious way of making everyone feel welcome and at ease.
To me, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II always represented the stability of our institutions. No matter the party in power in England, Canada or any other Commonwealth country during her 70-year reign, the Queen was a constant, gracious presence. Parliaments are no strangers to partisanship, but, to me, the Queen was above it all. That is what made the greatest impression on me throughout Elizabeth II's reign.
What is more, as a member of the military, I had the honour of swearing allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen. I did so first as a soldier and then as an officer. I also did so three times as an MP. I swore allegiance to a woman for whom I had an enormous amount of respect. Whether one believes in the monarchy or not, when it came to Elizabeth II, what mattered to me was the person. As I mentioned, the important thing is what she represented and her optimistic spirit that gave heart to the Commonwealth.
In closing, I am honoured to have had the opportunity to share my personal story with the House. Obviously, I am saddened by Her Majesty's death, but it was not unexpected, life being what it is.
Now we have a new king, Charles III. Long may he reign. Long live King Charles III.
Mr. Speaker, like other members of the House, I hold in my heart today those families in Saskatchewan that are grieving because of inconceivable acts of violence. They are in our prayers today.
It is with a heavy heart that I join with my colleagues today in commemorating the life of our late sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada and head of the Commonwealth. On behalf of the people of Winnipeg South, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to His Majesty the King and the royal family on the Queen's passing.
While we all mourn the loss of our Queen, we are also celebrating her exceptional life and historic reign. As our head of state, she set an example of selfless dedication and commitment to service that continues to inspire us all.
I had the honour of serving on the international executive of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. This year, Canada played host to over 500 delegates from across the Commonwealth, as the annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference was held in Halifax this past August.
As I met with representatives from the Commonwealth, I reflected on how notable it is that during the Queen's tenure as head of the Commonwealth, we have seen its transformation from a group of British colonies and territories to a vibrant and dynamic organization of democracies from all over the world that all freely choose to be members. In Halifax, we saluted Her Majesty on the celebration of her Platinum Jubilee and recognized her exemplary service to the Commonwealth and to humanity.
As a Manitoba MP, I would briefly like to highlight Her Majesty's six visits to our province.
The first time, Princess Elizabeth came in 1951 and attended the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. As an aside, in 1953, as Queen, she granted the Royal Winnipeg Ballet its royal title. It was the first ballet company to receive this honour under her reign.
Her second visit as Queen was in 1959 during her tour across Canada with Prince Philip.
In 1970, on a later visit, Manitoba was honoured to have the Queen join us for Manitoba's centennial, our 100th anniversary since joining Confederation. Her Majesty travelled extensively throughout our province and brought her two oldest children with her, the then Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
Her Majesty would return in 1984 to visit Winnipeg, Dauphin, Brandon and Dugald.
In 2002, during her Golden Jubilee, she came to attend the unveiling of the newly refurbished Golden Boy that graces the dome on top of the Manitoba legislature. On this visit, there was also the unfortunate incident where the Queen got to enjoy the Red River a little longer than anticipated, as her river taxi stalled on the water not once but twice. As hon. members will appreciate, she took it all in stride, as was her nature.
As another aside, in 2002 I was a proud recipient of Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee Medal for Canada.
Queen Elizabeth's final visit to Manitoba was in 2010. She brought with her a stone from Windsor Castle, where the Magna Carta was signed, and this stone remains a feature at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.
For the vast majority of Canadians, Queen Elizabeth was the only monarch we have ever known and we are slowly adjusting to life without her. She was a constant and reassuring presence in our lives, and during her reign we came into our own as a confident, diverse and forward-looking country. Canadians will look back fondly on the life and reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and will remember and cherish her wisdom, compassion and warmth.
We are now in a period of transition as we write a new chapter in the story of Canada with our new sovereign, King Charles III. Canada has a long history and close relationship with the King, who has visited many, many times, including this year when he and his wife, now Queen Consort, were part of the Queen's jubilee celebrations.
I wish King Charles strength in this sad time for him and his family. I know he will provide steady and distinguished service to Canada and the Commonwealth, as did his late mother, the Queen.
Long live the King.
Mr. Speaker, for seven decades, the Queen was our head of state and performed her duties admirably with great care. To many she was the Queen, but to us she was our Queen.
An accomplished historian, Joe Martin, said to me just the other day, “Her reign was unprecedented and a sterling example of duty and responsibility.” Indeed, at just 21 years old, in Cape Town she took a vow: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service”. The Queen never laid down the heavy weight of the Crown.
Her Majesty loved this country, visiting us over 20 times, including Simcoe North in both Midland and Orillia. As a young boy, my father went to see her board a train in Midland in 1959. Years later, in 2010, I went to see her as she got into a car leaving Queen's Park. She elicited a sense of patriotism among many of us and I remember feeling it that day.
It always seemed to me that Her Majesty would always be there. In some ways she always will be, but many will miss her calm and poised demeanour, which has provided comfort and stability to so many over numerous difficult periods over these last 70 years.
Our system of government may not be perfect, but the Queen performed her role with dignity and grace to ensure the integrity of our system. There was a human behind the Crown who could enjoy a good laugh like the rest of us. There is a family that mourns the loss of a mother, sister, grandmother and great-grandmother. Many of us who feel connected to Her Majesty also feel a sense of grief.
On behalf of those in Simcoe North who share in the grief of the loss of Her Majesty, we express our most sincere condolences to the royal family. May we take from Her Majesty's life example of service and apply it in our own lives.
May God bless the Queen. Long live the King.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the residents of Vaughan—Woodbridge to express our community's most heartfelt condolences on the passing of Canada’s longest-reigning sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. My prayers are for her, as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is called upon by the Lord to enter the next world.
As the Archbishop of Canterbury commented in the days after the Queen's passing, “I came away thinking there is someone who has no fear of death, has hope in the future, knows the rock on which she stands and that gives her strength”. He went on further to comment that the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s attitude was that “it's not about me, it's about what I have been called...by God to do”.
On a personal level, I do wish to share our family’s story. In May of 1971, the Queen visited the north coast of British Columbia and our family’s hometown of Prince Rupert. Prince Rupert is where, in the early 1950s, a family of seven children, headed by parents Frank and Rose, immigrated from southern Italy.
During the Queen’s visit in Prince Rupert she would mark and attend the official opening of the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, the hospital at which I would be born less than a year later. At this opening, Rose Amante, my grandmother, would have the privilege to greet the Queen and present flowers to the Queen. A picture of this encounter would then reside in prominence in my grandparents', my nonni's, home for decades to come, with its story told many times. It was a very proud moment for the entire family, and one that is forever etched in my memory as the grandson of a proud, strong and, I would say, fierce woman, whose grandson now sits in the Parliament of Canada as one of its 338 representatives.
Her Majesty vowed to devote her life to the service of the Commonwealth and its people. On her 21st birthday, Her Majesty committed that “[her] whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great Imperial family to which we all belong.” It is a vow she kept with incomparable devotion.
As our stated, Her Majesty was a constant presence in the lives of Canadians. We thank Queen Elizabeth II for her lifetime of service, her humility and her extraordinary leadership. Over her 70-year reign, the late sovereign visited Canada more than 20 times including, yes, again, Prince Rupert, British Columbia. From sweeping royal tours to visits for special milestones and events, Canadians will never forget her sincere words in 2010 when Her Majesty shared with us that Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, once said that “this country felt like a home away from home for the Queen of Canada.” Queen Elizabeth II then said, “I’m delighted to report that it still does, and I’m delighted to be back amongst you all.”
The first time the Queen set foot on Canadian soil was when she was only 25 years old and still a princess in 1951, joined by her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. In 2010, we celebrated Canada Day with Her Majesty under the theme of “Our Year to Shine: Canada Welcomes the World”. We marked our achievements as a nation and our hopes for the future. In her address to our nation, Queen Elizabeth II expressed her and Prince Philip’s joy to be among Canadians on a special date.
Her Majesty then followed by stating:
During my lifetime, I have been a witness to this country for more than half its history since Confederation. I have watched with enormous admiration how Canada has grown and matured while remaining true to its history, its distinctive character and its values.
This nation has dedicated itself to being a caring home for its own, a sanctuary for others and an example to the world.
We have just seen images of the work in which Canadian forces, diplomats and aid workers are engaged across the world in defending and serving the needs of others.
These commitments, often in dangerous and hostile circumstances, are undertaken with the support and respect of us all.
If we were to fast-forward, at 93 years of age Queen Elizabeth made a rare broadcast in 2020 to rally everyone in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic. Her words resonated in the U.K., the Commonwealth and worldwide. Her Majesty began by saying, “I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time. A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.”
The Queen followed later on by recognizing:
Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heart-warming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbours, or converting businesses to help the relief effort.
And though self-isolating may at times be hard, many people of all faiths, and of none, are discovering that it presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect, in prayer or meditation.
It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister. We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety. Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do. While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will succeed—and that success will belong to every one of us.
Her Majesty the Queen never doubted the strength of Canadians and always encouraged us to “remain optimistic”, knowing that Canadians “will rise to the challenges ahead.”
Mr. Speaker, it was with heavy hearts that I and many of my constituents in Etobicoke Centre learned of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
As Canada's longest-serving sovereign, I believe she touched many Canadians. Her legacy is profound. For many Canadians, including me, Queen Elizabeth II is the only sovereign we have ever known. In an ever-changing world, she was a constant presence and devoted her life to the service of the Commonwealth and its people.
Her Majesty was only 25 years old when she ascended to the throne and took on the role of head of state of numerous countries, including Canada. She fulfilled this role with grace and dedication for 70 years. Earlier this year, Canada celebrated the Queen's 70 years of service and the enduring bonds she built with Canadians. This was the first Platinum Jubilee of a sovereign in Canada.
The significance of Her Majesty's reign was not just in the length of her service but in the importance of her service, in the role that she played in Canada's history. Her Majesty presided over many important moments in Canadian history, and she forms an important part, in my view, of Canadian history.
Since becoming Queen in 1952, Her Majesty has known 12 Canadian prime ministers and 13 governors general. Her Majesty made 22 tours to Canada as Queen. Queen Elizabeth II also participated in the patriation ceremony of the Constitution and proclaimed Canada's Constitution Act, which included the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in 1982. She watched, she presided, as Canada became an even more confident, more multicultural and more prosperous nation.
There are many reasons I believe we live in the best country on Earth. One of the reasons is our strong democracy and the conventions and the institutions that underpin it, that protect it and that facilitate it. That democratic system makes Parliament supreme in making decisions on behalf of Canadians and for Canadians. It allows us to come together here in the House of Commons as representatives of the people to make decisions on behalf of the people, for the people.
To me, the role of the monarch in our country is not just ceremonial but substantive. One of the key roles of the Crown, of the monarch, is to protect that democracy, to facilitate that democracy. The Queen embodied the Crown and took on that role. Because of the importance of that role, because of the work that she did in protecting our democracy, it is important that we recognize how this has allowed those of us who have served here in the past, those of us who serve here today and future members of Parliament to continue to build the best country on Earth.
Many years ago I had the privilege of being present during a visit of Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh to Toronto. During my brief conversation with the Duke of Edinburgh, I came to appreciate the commitment of the Queen and of the Duke of Edinburgh in learning about Canadians. I believe this is one of the characteristics that made Her Majesty so invested and so effective in serving and representing our country.
One of the reasons I believe many of our hearts were so heavy when we learned of the passing of Her Majesty was that a lot of us felt as though we knew the Queen. I believe that she knew us.
Her Majesty touched millions of Canadians in a variety of ways. I believe that her service and her dedicated and graceful leadership will continue to be remembered and admired by people worldwide for many years to come.
On behalf of the constituents of Etobicoke Centre and myself, I send our heartfelt condolences to the members of the royal family, to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth nations during this difficult time.
On behalf of the constituents of Etobicoke Centre and myself, I would also like to extend our best wishes to our new king, King Charles III. I had the privilege of meeting King Charles III when he was Prince of Wales when he visited Canada a few months ago. He exhibited that same curiosity, that same desire, I believe, to understand and know Canadians and to serve Canadians as Queen Elizabeth II did.
Long live the King.
Mr. Speaker, there are certain days in history when the world stops and listens, and everyone remembers where they were when they heard the tragic news of what happened that day. For some of my colleagues, it may be the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. For others, it may be when Princess Diana died or 9/11. Those days, however, feel far away from our lives and they are, in part. They are a product of shock that invokes the need for answers to explain the circumstances around those days.
Those events feel far away, but in some way resemble the day that we learned of the death of the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It is one of those moments in history that many will never forget. For many Canadians, her passing did not feel far away. Though it might have been in terms of physical distance, to many of us it felt closer.
Like those other tragic events of years past, the passing of our Queen, the Queen of Canada, will be remembered because we lost more than a person. We lost part of an idea. We lost a symbol. We lost someone whom we considered our own. When the news came of her passing, I felt in a sense like I would with the passing of someone I knew, someone who was present, like a family member, distant or close, whose quiet and constant company was simply always there.
Of course, I am not related to the Queen. I never even met her and neither did millions of other Canadians who now grieve alongside us today. We felt that the Queen was like family, because we saw family in her. Like family, she was there at the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows supporting us with steadfast love and encouragement. She represented not who we were, but who we could be. She wanted us to be the best versions of ourselves. I truly believe that.
Like family, the Queen taught us about what it meant to serve others. She lived a life of selfless devotion not only to those she loved, but also to many who never met her and who never knew her. She encouraged tolerance, respect and understanding, the things that we strive for. Like family, she was always there for us whether we realized it or not. All the things changing today, our money, our legal system, our armed forces and even Parliament itself, are evidence of just how many ways she touched our lives. Sometimes, as with many of our own family members, we took that for granted.
She was the only sovereign that most Canadians ever knew. As we have grown older over the years, the Queen seemed trapped in time. The tributes that she received over many jubilees and anniversaries showed us that we knew what we had. The truth is we never thought we would lose it.
It is no secret that those who know me know of my respect for the monarchy. It is rooted in tradition and respect for this institution. Our monarchy separates politics from service and popularity from the institution. After nearly a year in this place, I have never been more convinced that unity may be a product of the monarchy and not any political head of government. It is consistent and it forces a respect. Without it, that may not always be upheld.
Her Majesty toured this country more than 20 times over 70 years, showing an extraordinary dedication for our people and our nation. She has a special place in the hearts of many in my own community, even more so than most across the country would know. Let me tell members why.
She was the first female monarch of the royal family to be an active-duty member of the British armed forces serving as a mechanic during the Second World War. She not only helped the empire by using her hands, but she also helped by using her heart. She was a quiet, steadfast figure of optimism and perseverance, encouraging people to keep calm and carry on. She was a symbol that someday, somehow, things would get better even if we did not know how or when.
She inspired a nation trapped in the darkest days to overcome and overturn the Nazi regime in Europe. In doing so, she helped liberate millions trapped in concentration camps across the continent whose descendants would grow up to be my friends, my family and my constituents.
Her service did not stop there. It speaks volumes about the Queen's character that she continued to hear stories of survivors through the 70 years as a monarch. It would have been easy to forget these individuals as many contemporary leaders did, but she took it upon herself as a leader to bring closure and healing to deeply scarred lives. She used her position of privilege to educate others about a dark period in history and so personified the mantra that we, the living, try to personify every day: never again.
There is a royal tradition that has been passed down over centuries. The monarch is never late and, as a rule, that is how it was with the Queen. On January 27, 2005, she met with survivors at the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and yet when the time ran out, there were still many in a large group who had yet to meet her. Instead of leaving, Her Majesty stayed, giving each survivor her undivided and deliberate focus. One of the Queen's attendants remarked to the late Rabbi Lord Sacks, who was present that day, that he had never seen her stay so late after the time had come for her to go, breaking such a hallowed custom.
We are extremely fortunate to have witnessed Queen Elizabeth II dedicate over seven decades, more than a lifetime for many, to the cause of our Commonwealth and the betterment of our country. Although the Queen may have passed, the spirit and joy and the feeling of love that she left with millions will never die. The legacy of her service will live on forever in the hearts of many grateful Canadians, including this member.
As we look to the future, I continue to believe that the monarchy is an important check to constitutional power being given to any bureaucracy or any government of the day. It is a humbling reminder that in this place, we work on behalf of people and the person who is entrusted with that role is reminded of the ideals and the traditions that were here long before any of us.
With that, I offer my deepest condolences to the royal family and to all of the people of the Commonwealth as they mourn the loss of Her Majesty.
God rest the Queen and, finally, God save the King.
Mr. Speaker, this is a solemn day. For the first time in the lives of many of us here today, we mourn the death and commemorate the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Being our head of state for the past 70 years is an extraordinary feat, something only Her Majesty could have achieved.
As we heard all last week and in Parliament today, Her Majesty's passion, resilience and strength in serving her country and her people were fundamental characteristics that shaped her reign.
When I think of Queen Elizabeth ascending the throne at the age of 25 after the death of her father, King George VI, I cannot help but be in awe. At 25, I had just graduated from university with a social work degree, commenced a new job at the Children's Aid Society and had a beautiful, full-of-energy two-year-old daughter. At such a pivotal age, when many of us were finishing university, starting our careers, beginning our families or making our way through the world learning from adventures and failures, Her Majesty was propelled to the highest institution of governance: the throne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the head of the Commonwealth and the Defender of the Faith.
Queen Elizabeth's reign was shaped by some of history's most notable events. These include her early years as a princess serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War, having Sir Winston Churchill as her first prime minister, the acceleration of decolonization, the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain, the deadly conflict in Ireland known as “the Troubles”, the war on terror, Brexit, and COVID-19. Despite these events emerging from British, European or global affairs, Her Majesty used her position and powers to bridge and merge people of different linguistic, cultural and political backgrounds to facilitate co-operation and collaboration toward unity, showcasing what a constitutional monarch should be.
Queen Elizabeth II's reign also covered some significant events here in Canada. She proclaimed the Canadian flag in 1965. She addressed the National Assembly of Quebec during Quebec's quiet revolution, noting how pleased she was that there was a place in the Commonwealth where people could speak in French. She opened the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976, and, of course, she signed the proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982, which created the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982.
The admiration that Queen Elizabeth II had for Canada is undeniable. During her time on the throne, the Queen made 22 state visits to Canada, making Canada her most-visited Commonwealth country. During those visits to Canada, Her Majesty toured the country, sponsored charitable works, attended ceremonies, opened Parliament in 1957 and delivered a Speech from the Throne in 1977.
Her Majesty's first state visit as Queen was in 1957, when she and her late husband spent four days here in Ottawa. However, that was not Elizabeth's first trip to Canada. As some of my colleagues have mentioned, Princess Elizabeth, as she was then known, visited Canada in 1951 on behalf of her father, who, unfortunately, was being treated for lung cancer.
I will share some aspects of that trip. Her Majesty shooks hands at the rate of 30,000 times per week, heard the national anthem played 150 times, met 53 mayors, inspected 24 guards of honour, accepted official bouquets from 23 children and signed 21 golden books. Let me remind everyone that this all occurred in 33 days.
Queen Elizabeth's royal tour of Canada in 1951 was an instrumental occurrence that influenced her reign as Queen in the years to come. Her Majesty's examples of attending the Calgary Stampede and square dancing at Rideau Hall, which, I should add, made its way onto popular Christmas cards, illustrate a modern monarchy willing to connect with younger people and reflect the civil and societal changes of the times. We should have known then that she was destined to be a queen for the modern age.
On behalf of our community of Orléans, which I have the privilege to represent, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the royal family, who lost a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother, as well as to the extended family and to the people of the United Kingdom.
As we continue to commemorate the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, we also usher in the reign of His Majesty King Charles III. I am confident that His Majesty will carry on with his vow to follow his mother's inspirational example of public service, illustrating the Crown's dedication, resilience and strength in upholding the principle of constitutional government and the values that we, as a Commonwealth nation, share and relish.
God save the King.
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured, saddened and humbled to stand in this House to pay tribute to our monarch and sovereign Queen Elizabeth II in front of her representatives of the Commonwealth nation of Canada. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly, as it is nearly impossible to adequately convey the importance of a life that has helped shape our nation for nearly half its existence.
I would like to begin by quoting Her Majesty herself, not from a period during her reign, but from the speech the young princess delivered in Cape Town, South Africa, on her 21st birthday in 1947. She said:
I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.
But I shall not have strength to carry out this resolution alone unless you join in it with me, as I now invite you to do: I know that your support will be unfailingly given. God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it.
Her declaration that her whole life would be devoted to service, regardless of its length, would follow her as she became the longest-serving British monarch and the second longest-serving monarch in history.
Another important quote was while touring Canada for her golden jubilee in 2002 when she said:
I treasure my place in the life of Canada, and my bond with Canadians everywhere.... It is my privilege to serve you as Queen of Canada to the best of my ability, to play my part in the Canadian identity, to uphold Canadian traditions and heritage, to recognize Canadian excellence and achievement and to seek to give a sense of continuity in these exciting, ever-changing times in which we are fortunate enough to live.
She loved this nation, its people, its traditions and its identity, as she visited Canada 22 times over the course of her 70 years as sovereign. With that in mind, I spent a significant amount of time considering the best way to pay tribute to a person who, for all accounts, will be written about for decades, if not centuries, in history books. Those stories will be told, but what may not be told to the extent that is necessary is the impact she had on people throughout the nation.
She always expressed such a joy in the Canadian identity, and I want to take some time to highlight thoughts and memories of the bonds Canadians shared with her. However, before I get to that, I want to give a nod to one of my constituents, Luc Morrissette of Alpine Flowers & Gifts in Elliot Lake, who has a memorial guest book on display, which will be forwarded to the palace to commemorate the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
I would like to begin the memories and thoughts shared with that of Douglas Elliott's Facebook post. He wrote, “The death of Queen Elizabeth II marks the end of an era for Canada, and in many ways, for our world.
“She was the last world leader who was a veteran of World War II. Like most Canadians, I cannot remember a time before she became our Queen.
“I never had the pleasure of meeting Her Majesty, who was renowned for her dry wit and personal charm. However, I did see her in person twice.
“The first time was in July of 1959, when I was not quite 3 years old. The Queen came to Canada to open the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the new Royal Yacht Britannia toured the Great Lakes. One of the stops was in Parry Sound, and my mother took me to see Her Majesty. I am told that when my mother pointed out that the pretty young woman waving to the crowd was the Queen, I proudly responded ‘I know!’
“I don't really remember that sighting, but I do remember the second. It was in 1984 at Queen's Park. Coincidentally, the Toronto Star's published image of the walkabout captured myself and my Great Aunt Grace beaming at our Queen with joy. I was struck first by how tiny she was, with an erect military posture, a good figure and an impeccable complexion. Not a hair was out of place. She was like a perfect little porcelain doll, and beautifully dressed.
“I will remember Her Majesty best for her role in presiding over the patriation of our Constitution and the creation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. The Queen had a good sense of humour and she was known to take delight when things went slightly awry on official occasions. Jean Chrétien (who was the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs at the time) acknowledged that Her Majesty spoke excellent French, and she often conversed with him in French. I personally confirmed this royal story with him.”
Douglas' post was accompanied by a photo, and he explained, “The photo was taken on that blustery day on Parliament Hill in April of 1982 at the official signing ceremony for the new Constitution. Chrétien looks grim, while the Queen is grinning. Apparently, his pen malfunctioned, and as he reached for another he muttered ‘merde!’ The Queen heard him and chuckled.”
Douglas then writes, “Rest in peace, good and loyal servant, and may flights of angels sing you to your rest.”
Douglas received the following responses.
Ralph Carl Wushke wrote, “I must be a more loyal subject as I saw her at least six times, including when she stepped out on the caboose of the Royal Train in Broadview, Saskatchewan to greet the Chiefs of three First Nations: Cowessess, Ochapowace, Kahkewistahaw, all in Treaty 2 territory and the farmer settler families. I was 5 and it's the most vivid pre-school memory I have to this day. She was wearing powder blue. It was high summer.”
Shelley Heinrich wrote, “In 2010, she came to Waterloo. My husband was part of her security detail. I was on a day off and as he was doing the escort. He let me know when they would be passing by our little town on the highway that cuts thru. My husband sent me a single text which read: ‘The Eagle has left the Nest’. His way of letting me know when to get Hailey to the intersection where we saw her. Neither one of us wanted to compromise her safety on her route.
“We were both very fortunate to have been a part of her visit. I walked Hailey down. She was 2 at the time. Hailey waved like crazy at the Queen and the Duke as they drove by. Both waved at her and the Queen waved at Hailey exactly how Hailey waved at her. Open hand, fingers out and a little twist at the wrist with that broad smile. The Duke raised his hand and with a smile gave a little wave. We were the only two standing there. They didn't have to, but they did. Hailey just shrieked with delight!”
Debra Pain Mallon wrote, “My uncle was the Reeve of Muskoka and my cousin had the honour of presenting flowers to the Queen. Such a gracious lady. She is with Philip now. She will be deeply missed.”
Janet Babcock wrote, “My then spouse and I were invited guests to the signing of the Constitution as he was an assistant to a Cabinet Minister. It was not only blustery but near the end of the signing it began to rain heavily. We were sitting behind Andy Haydon, then Regional Chair of the Region of Ottawa Carleton. He was bald and the rain poured off his head onto my rather stylish clothes and hat as we were all trying to imitate Princess Diana. We got a signed copy of the program with signatures from Trudeau, Chrétien and Paul Martin. It is in a box somewhere in my basement. An historic day no doubt!”
The AFN national chief, RoseAnne Archibald issued the following statement on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:
Like many, Queen Elizabeth II is the only British monarch I have ever known in my lifetime. Throughout her reign, she has been an influential role model for generations of women and will be remembered for normalising and evolving the perception of strong, female leadership. My condolences are with King Charles III and all members of the British royal family as they grieve the loss of their matriarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
I also want to share the thoughts from Kate Matuszewski. She posted, “What a sad day in history we are all sharing in today. My heart is heavy.
“Your Majesty, Ma'am, thank you for your lifelong dedication to duty and service to our Great Britain and the Commonwealth. Throughout your reign you have led by example with strength and dignity. You have lifted us up when times were hard and given us hope; you have walked among us, your subjects, and shown us compassion, loyalty, dedication, grace, intelligence, warmth, humour, and love.
“You have endeared yourself to all of us and been a shining example. For many of us, you have been our only Queen in our lifetimes! Today I mourn your passing and wish you God speed to your beloved Prince Philip, and the peace you richly deserve. God bless you, Ma'am, you have made an indelible mark on the world and in history. What a long and glorious life you have lived. I am so proud to be British and to have been raised in such a great country with its magnificent history, values and traditions. Thank you for your service. Rest in Peace.”
In response, Kimberly MacVoy Arnold wrote, “So deeply saddened by this news. I've long admired Her Royal Majesty. May she rest peacefully and may her family find comfort and strength in the coming days of the long goodbye she most graciously earned and deserves.”
Gladys Wiggins wrote, “I saw her in Kapuskasing, Ontario, as a young child. It was just before her coronation. Back then I knew this was a special event and that she was a special lady. Rest in Peace, Queen Elizabeth.”
Erika MacLellan wrote, “I remember seeing her as a small child when she came to visit my hometown. My mother took me and my playmate, all dressed in our Sunday best, waving our flags as the Queen and Prince Philip drove slowly by, standing in their black open convertible waving and smiling to the crowds. I still can see it and remembering as if it was yesterday. My mom then took us for a treat.”
Reverend Valerie Isaac's Facebook post reads, “Rest well, Your Majesty. You promised to serve for your life, however long or short. It has been an Elizabethan era that has concluded. Our sympathies to King Charles III, and the rest of the Royal Family.”
I hope that by sharing these stories and these insights, we may get a better sense of how Canadians are grieving the loss of their monarch and, by extension, the impact that she has had on the lives of people of this country.
May Her Majesty rest in peace.
Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour today to stand, on both my own behalf and on behalf of the people of , to remember, honour and pay tribute to Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada.
All of us were caught by surprise at the events of last week. We knew in our heads that this day would come, but in our hearts I think we all hoped it never would. My first thoughts are to those who mourn this loss most deeply and most personally. We knew her as a beloved monarch, but condolences must first be expressed to those who knew her as mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. May they cherish in their hearts their richest and most intimate memories, even as they shared her so generously with the people of the United Kingdom, the realm, the Commonwealth and the world.
My second task is to honour her legacy. She certainly kept the promise she made at the death of her father, King George VI. More than anyone could ever have imagined at that time, she faithfully lived up to the pledge she made when she said, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” However, her life, including 70 incredible years on the throne, was not only long. It was incredibly rich, gracious and profound.
Third, I take this moment to wish a long life, good service and a rich legacy to King Charles III, to whom now, as a member of this Parliament, I do pledge my allegiance, with historic words, that I do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles III.
Queen Elizabeth set a very high bar for any head of state of any country to match. Her selfless devotion to duty was an inspiration and an example to us all. She was not only respected, which comes with the Crown, but I would say she was deeply loved by Canadians. That love, respect and admiration was born not out of her position, but because of the person she was: a woman of compassion and warmth, of grace and dignity, of mischief and joy, of wisdom and experience, and of a deep understanding of her people in Canada and throughout her realm.
I, like most members of this House, have never known another monarch. She was a constant in our lives, reigning by example, with hard work, calm under great stress and difficulty, persistence and the honouring of tradition, but always willing to adapt to a changing world.
My earliest and most persistent memories of the Queen were from Christmas day, year after year, when, for as long as I can remember, I would hear the voice of my mother ringing out throughout our house, “The Queen, the Queen,” as we were all called to stop whatever it was we were doing, gather around the television and watch Her Majesty deliver her annual message.
This is a tradition I keep: even with the Internet, I watch it on television. She had the ability to reach into our home with a message that not only acknowledged the year that she and we had faced, but also with confidence for the coming year that those challenges would be met and that all in our world would be right and well.
We saw Her Majesty mostly from a distance, even with her many visits to Canada, but I had a few opportunities to meet her in person. The first was in 1977, as we celebrated her first 25 years on the throne. The then prime minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, invited young Canadians who had excelled in the arts and sciences to a state dinner in Ottawa. Luckily for me, he also included some young Liberals, so we got in under the bar. They sent us a protocol sheet on how to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, and it even had a note on how to eat our asparagus. We learned that we should not use a knife and fork, but pick it up with our fingers, because that is what Her Majesty does. Who knew?
We were nervous, but as the Queen entered the room our shoulders dropped, her smile welcomed us, and each one of us had a chance to tell her our story. She listened, and she cared. To be in the presence of royalty is humbling; to be in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth was overwhelming, but in the sense that the kind of humility she brought made us at ease.
There is a story told of the Queen, which may or may not be true, but if it is not, it should be. Apparently she had a habit of occasionally escaping from her favourite home, Balmoral in Scotland. She would take her own car to visit shops in neighbouring communities. One day she went into a shop and made a purchase, and the clerk at the store said that she looked very much like the Queen. The Queen simply responded, “How very reassuring.” She might have been reassured that day, but she spent her life reassuring us, and we have been the richer for it.
This is indeed a sad day. It is also a day for celebration. It is a day for celebrating a life well spent in service to others. This House and parliaments around the realm will be filled with words of tribute and admiration, superlatives used to describe Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. They are entirely justified. She was our longest-serving monarch. She was respected around the world. She joined in our most important moments of joy, and often, with a mischievous smile, engaged with us. She gave us an example and made an example of her life for all of us on how to live a life of service, duty, dignity and decency. She was remarkable.
May she rest in peace and rise in glory, even as we say, “Long live the King.”
Madam Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise today to reflect, on my part and on behalf of the constituents of Wellington—Halton Hills, on the passing of Her Majesty the Queen.
While Queen Elizabeth was our queen and our head of state, she was also a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. My thoughts are with King Charles and with the royal family.
During my time as a member of Parliament, I have been asked, “Who is the most important person you have ever met during your travels?” My response has always been, “The Queen.” She was a model of unflagging dedication to public service. At 21, she said, “My whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.” She spent her whole life fulfilling that commitment.
During the Second World War and before she became queen, like a million Canadians, she served in the armed forces and trained as a mechanic.
The Queen's reign began on February 6, 1952. At that time, Louis St-Laurent was prime minister. Since then, she has worked with 12 Canadian prime ministers, and she has witnessed and overseen nation-building transformations of our country.
For seven decades, she did everything Canada asked of her without crisis or controversy. The Supreme Court became firmly established as the final court of appeal in Canada during her reign, ending the final appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
On February 15, 1965, she issued the royal proclamation that established the iconic red and white maple leaf as our national flag.
In 1982, she came to this place, Parliament Hill, to sign the royal proclamation that repatriated our Constitution from the United Kingdom and reaffirmed our constitutional monarchy here in Canada.
Queen Elizabeth was the only monarch I have ever known. She is the only monarch my wife Carrie and our children have ever known. She is the only monarch that most Canadians have ever known. She has been part of our lives over so many decades, in so many ways.
When my father was a young man in Hong Kong, Queen Elizabeth was his queen. When he immigrated to Canada in 1952, Queen Elizabeth remained his queen.
When I was a young boy, my cousins in Hong Kong and I used to exchange letters to keep up to date on what was going on in the family. We would write to each other, and on the letter mail we sent back and forth was a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen. In one direction it said “Canada” and in the other direction it said “Hong Kong”. These stamps made me realize as a young boy that what bound us together between Canada and Hong Kong was not just family ties, but also institutions based on freedoms, liberties and the rule of law. Today, millions of Hong Kongers remember Queen Elizabeth fondly, not just as a person but as an institution that represented freedoms and liberties that are now sadly being taken away.
I remember as a young boy watching the patriation ceremony of 1982 here on Parliament Hill, where the Queen signed the royal proclamation that patriated our Constitution and established the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I also have fond memories of going to primary school in rural Ontario in the 1970s, when every single morning we would sing O Canada and God Save the Queen.
For some, the Queen's passing has been an emotional time. My wife Carrie's Auntie Pam shared this memory with us on the Queen's passing, and asked us to share it with others.
“On Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, on June 24, 1959, my dad, myself and a few friends were on the roof of my apartment building overlooking Westmount City Hall, where the Queen and Prince Philip were being presented with a jug of maple syrup. My father shouted to his friends to hurry up to the front of the building, and the royal couple heard him, looked up, smiled and waved. It made his day.
“The following day dad wanted to drive us to see the Royal Yacht Britannia and the Queen and Duke coming ashore. It was quite a long drive and en route a car door was opened in front of us and Dad had to swerve suddenly. On arrival at the ship, we walked a relatively short distance, and we were very close to the gangway. He suddenly collapsed and died instantly, and our lives changed dramatically.
“The Queen and Prince Philip had to delay disembarking from the yacht while an ambulance took Dad away. I've always wondered what the Queen was told about the delay in disembarking from the Royal Yacht Britannia.”
The Queen, our longest reigning monarch, reigned so long that her reign stretched across generations and across time. One could walk into a Royal Canadian Legion branch, a small branch in some small community in rural Canada, and see a portrait of a very young woman, about 25 years of age, and suddenly realize that it is the Queen, and realize that someone had carefully hung and preserved that portrait some 70 years ago on the wall of that legion.
Many Canadian families have cookie tins, passed along from generation to generation, of the coronation that took place in 1952. They are brought out at Christmastime and filled with the recipes that have been passed from family generation to family generation.
Carrie and I had the privilege of meeting Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip in 2010 during one of the more than 20 times she came to Canada. It was at a state dinner at the Royal York Hotel, where hundreds of guests were in attendance. She greeted every one of those guests, patiently greeting them in a waiting line. After dinner was completed, she met with the hotel workers who had served the dinner and cleaned the rooms, something she insisted on doing.
Let me finish by saying that we shall not see the likes of Queen Elizabeth again. We mourn her passing. May she rest in peace and may she rise in glory.
Madam Speaker, I want to begin by paying my respects to the victims of the recent horrible tragedy in Saskatchewan and to their families.
I would also like to acknowledge that Canada's Parliament is located on the unceded traditional territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin people.
We are here today to pay our respects to and commemorate the life of Queen Elizabeth II. In a world that changes and evolves at such a rapid pace, the Queen represented stability, service and a quiet grace. She embodied duty and commitment to one's country.
I would like to offer my condolences to the royal family and King Charles III. They have lost not only a Queen but a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. We know they are grieving that loss, and our hearts go out to all of them.
Canadians have been expressing their sorrow and sharing their admiration for the Queen since they learned of her death. Many people recall the time she visited their community or the time they shook her hand. Not all Canadians have had the same experience with the Crown, however. Some, in particular indigenous peoples, have much more mixed feelings.
Many felt a personal connection to the Queen, as she was a kind, thoughtful and compassionate individual. However, the idea of a sovereign of Canada is a complex one for indigenous peoples, who had lived on this land long before Europeans arrived.
The relationship between the Crown, Inuit, first nations and Métis is complex, continually evolving and personal, so I want to take a moment to acknowledge that some people’s reactions will be different, and that is entirely okay. That is what Canada is all about: being able to have different opinions, speaking about them in a respectful way and speaking about them in a thoughtful way.
For many indigenous peoples, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had a special and personal role in Crown and indigenous relationships. Today we are here to recognize her extraordinary lifetime of service, and I will speak about Her Majesty’s affinity for northern Canada and, of course, her visits to Winnipeg and other areas of Manitoba.
The Queen has long shown love and respect for Canada. Queen Elizabeth II travelled on 23 royal tours of Canada and made a huge impact wherever she went, drawing crowds and touching hearts.
Over the years, she made four trips to the beautiful northern and Arctic parts of our country, the first being to Yukon in 1959. That was quite a trip, indeed. It was 2,600 kilometres of travel over 45 days. During that time, she visited 90 towns and hamlets.
During that first trip, a famous Inuit carver, Osuitok Ipeelee, carved a beautiful stone image of the Queen. He had based the carving on a photograph from her coronation in 1952. However, in the photograph, her shoes were covered by her gown, so Mr. Ipeelee carved the Queen in her bare feet and presented it to Prince Philip.
The Queen once again visited the Arctic in 1970, which included a stop all the way in Resolute in the High Arctic, as well as visits to Yellowknife and Iqaluit. For the duration of the trip, she had the future king, King Charles, alongside her.
She visited Yellowknife again in 1994, where she dedicated the new Northwest Territories legislative assembly building. She then made her way to Nunavut, drawing crowds in Rankin Inlet, and attended celebrations to mark the upcoming creation of the territory, where she watched performances by Inuit and Dene artists.
During her visit to Iqaluit in 2002, she was given a bouquet of Arctic flowers with Arctic cotton. It being her third time in Nunavut, she made the effort to thank people in Inuktitut and tried her best to give the right pronunciation, which many people appreciated.
Much like the people in the north, Manitobans have good memories of Queen Elizabeth II and her visits to our wonderful province and to my hometown of Winnipeg. The Queen visited Manitoba six times. In 1970 she, along with Prince Philip and their two children, the future King Charles III and Princess Anne, visited 16 towns in Manitoba in celebration of our province's 100th anniversary.
We will never forget that the Queen travelled to Saint‑Pierre‑Jolys in 1970 to speak to Franco-Manitobans. The Queen and Prince Philip returned to Manitoba in 2002 to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee and to unveil the Golden Boy statue at the Manitoba legislature.
During the Queen's final visit to Manitoba, in 2010, she unveiled a cornerstone at the site of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights following her arrival with Prince Philip as the first official passengers at Winnipeg's new James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. That stone had been brought from the fields near Windsor Castle where the Magna Carta was signed. During that visit, she also crossed the magnificent Esplanade Riel to get to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
The Queen passed on her virtues of service and responsibility to other members of her family and passed on her affinity for northern Canada, which is obvious, to King Charles. Our new King has been a strong advocate and an early voice in the effort to educate the public about the dangers and effects of climate change. His work on climate change has a special resonance in the north, as the region is disproportionately affected by changes to its climate.
During his visits to Canada, King Charles III has often spoken about climate change. In 2009, he spoke in Newfoundland saying that climate change was a “threat...to all humanity”.
In 2017, in Nunavut, he pointed out that global warming was causing rapid and harmful changes to the Arctic way of life that has sustained the Inuit for so long.
The King has also shown an interest in Inuktitut and Inuit culture. In 2016, he invited a group of Inuit to Wales to study ways to standardize the writing of Inuktitut.
I like to think that the King's special interest in the north and his commitment to causes such as climate change are, at least in part, the product of his travels with the Queen during his youth.
We can all learn from the Queen's example, from her commitment to the common good, her devotion and her sense of responsibility.
Through political and social changes, through evolution in communications and technologies and through peace and conflict, Her Majesty the Queen served as a symbol of tradition and stability. She had a special love for Canada and she was loved in return. Each time she visited, she drew enormous crowds from coast to coast to coast.
In a rapidly changing world, one thing is for certain: There will never be another quite like Queen Elizabeth II.
Madam Speaker, a woman, a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother, who was also a Queen, has passed away. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a woman who embodied, in all her dignity and splendour, the durability of the state and duty done right. For 70 years, she inspired millions of people around the world, her subjects and people who were not British royalty, but who respected her greatly. She represented stability in a troubled world.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was not born a queen, however. It was a blip in history that elevated Elizabeth II to the highest throne of the British Empire, resulting in extraordinary ramifications for the whole of humanity. Even those with little knowledge of the hierarchy of the monarchy know that there were others in line for the throne before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Her uncle, Edward VIII, acceded to the throne in 1936, but he abdicated less than a year later. In the end, it was good that he did, because this sovereign, unfortunately, was drawn in by the swastika. Once he stepped down, he was seen being welcomed into Nazi territory and was even received by the Führer in 1937.
Fortunately, that man, who believed in the politics of appeasement, abdicated and was no longer the sovereign when World War II swept over humanity. Fortunately, it was George VI, his brother and Elizabeth II's father, who was ruler then, with Winston Churchill's full support. As a result, despite the thunder of war and the horrors of the blitzkrieg, the whole of humanity resisted the Nazi order.
Let us talk about World War II because that is when Elizabeth II became the princess and, above all, a source of inspiration for her people. When war was declared, Elizabeth II, like millions of adults and millions of children, left her home and went to live in a rural area away from cities. Of course, they were not just ordinary people. They lived in a castle. Still, teenaged Elizabeth II remained in England, despite the Luftwaffe's relentless assaults and non-stop bombing campaign. She could have left the country, but she stayed along with her parents.
When she was 18 years old, she enlisted in the British army, like 200,000 of her compatriots. She could have stayed in her manor, in her palace, but she put on a uniform. She learned to be a mechanic, which is surprising, perhaps, but true. She served her country as soon as she was able, at the age of 18.
Members will recall the wonderful photographs depicting her father, mother, sister and her, in her uniform, when humanity triumphed on May 8, 1945. What many people do not know, however, is that right after this joyful announcement for all people, Elizabeth II put on her hat, pulled it down over her eyes, and went and joined the people. She wanted to experience this historic moment with the people she wished to represent and whose queen she would become just a few years later. That is what is called connecting with the people, despite the hierarchy and majesty that obviously bring with them privileges that very few people on this earth ever get to experience.
She became queen 70 years ago. I knew that she had visited Canada 22 times, but this morning I learned that Canada was the country that Elizabeth II visited the most. I was delighted to hear that. There is a reason why Canadians, whether we are monarchists or not, or whether we are pro-English or know no English, respected the woman that she was. All of my colleagues here are talking about when she visited their riding or province, how she visited the 10 provinces and three territories and how she took time to listen to people. That is to her credit. That is why people loved her so much.
She knew 12 prime ministers, from the current Prime Minister to the Right Hon. Louis St. Laurent, my riding's namesake. I would actually like to acknowledge the people of Louis‑Saint‑Laurent, thanks to whom I am still here today.
To my knowledge, the only time a sovereign delivered the Speech from the Throne was in 1957. Generally her representative here takes care of that. It could not have worked out better, because the prime minister in office at the time, the Right Hon. John George Diefenbaker, may have been the biggest monarchist of any prime minister of Canada.
I did not know Mr. Diefenbaker. When he took his last breath, in 1979, he was a member of Parliament. Everyone tells me that he felt immense joy at the idea of welcoming Her Majesty to Canada's Parliament to read his government's Speech from the Throne.
I will give voice to some prime ministers because there are 12 who knew her and who saw Queen Elizabeth II's qualities first-hand. I chose three at random and the three have the same political stripe. It is a coincidence.
The Right Hon. Stephen Harper, who was the prime minister of Canada for nine years, said:
Over the decades Her Majesty travelled to every part of our blessed land. She loved Canada with all her heart and was truly one of us. Canadians returned her feelings with pride and very real affection. While Canada matured and prospered throughout the decades of her reign, the Queen was a vibrant symbol of continuity, stability and progress.
The Right Hon. Stephen Harper, former prime minister of Canada, made this statement about the death of Her Majesty.
I also listened closely to the statement that the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney made on TVA and LCN on two major issues, apartheid and the French fact in Canada, that were important to Her Majesty.
Former prime minister Mulroney said, “Time and again she showed her respect for the history of bilingualism in Canada...she spoke impeccable French, supported enhancing the vitality and strength of the French language and of Quebec's role on the world stage.... She had tremendous respect for the unique role of Quebeckers.”
Former prime minister Mulroney's contribution to the fight against apartheid is one of his longest-lasting and most effective achievements, and he acknowledged the Queen's involvement. He said, “I was leading the Commonwealth at that time and therefore saw her often. There was no doubt in my mind that she shared our goal of securing Nelson Mandela's release and the end of the apartheid regime, which we achieved after imposing brutal sanctions on South Africa. That's what she wanted....”
I also enjoyed watching a very nice interview he gave on CBC's Power & Politics.
The interview was with the honourable Charles Joseph Clark, the former prime minister of Canada, and his daughter Catherine. Mr. Clark said she was “a remarkable human being”, had “natural” skills for diplomacy and was the heart of the institution.
I will summarize some of what he said. Her position, by nature, was isolating, and yet Her Majesty Elizabeth II never isolated herself. On the contrary, she went out to meet the people. She treated everyone as her equal; everyone had the right to speak their mind and be heard. She was always well briefed. She had to learn a lot about complex global issues spanning such a long period of time, and she took that duty seriously.
Furthermore, during this wonderful interview, his daughter Catherine Clark said that “she was the ultimate boss lady”.
These three prime ministers, who knew Her Majesty the Queen personally, gave us a good idea of who she was.
In closing, the Queen loved Canadians and, as René Lévesque said, you cannot love the people if you do not love what the people love. Her Majesty the Queen was drawn to hockey and wanted to understand the sport. She did not always understand it, especially at her first game, but she was curious about it.
It was a wonderful sight to behold when she dropped the puck alongside the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, in Vancouver in 2002.
We had the Queen and the king of the hockey world on the ice at the same time.
Let us also recall that she was in attendance when the Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Rangers. It was October 29, 1951, and Her Majesty was then a princess, not yet Queen. The Montreal Gazette wrote an article called “Couple Watches Game, Crowd Watches Couple”. That is how people received her.
Today, as we commemorate the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, let us remember the sense of duty she embodied and demonstrated so masterfully.
King Charles III has been to Canada 19 times. I invite his Majesty to visit us a 20th time.
Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to our late Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Before I do so, I would first like to give my condolences to the families and members of the James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, as they have just buried many of the dead and are suffering from the great tragedy that has beset them.
I rise on behalf of many of the constituents of Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill to pay tribute to the Queen and offer condolences to the royal family and King Charles III. I say “many” because not everyone feels the same way about the monarchy or the Queen. Many members in this House have already referred to that.
Our relationship with the monarchy is complex. There is a history of colonialism, and there are feelings from indigenous people and francophones that do not always align with the monarchy. However, there are many people, including me, who greatly admired the Queen and her life of service.
The Queen embodied many things. One of them, for me, was family. Family has always been so important to me and to many of my constituents, as well as to many Canadians. The Queen put family first. I believe her example in being a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother and in caring for her family above all was one set for all of us and one that we should all admire.
Although I did not have the opportunity to meet the Queen as many people in the House have, I feel like I did meet her through my family. My grandmother, Marie Ellen Taylor, was born in England. She went to school in Ireland and moved to Canada as a young woman. I could not help but notice all of the cookie tins, plates, china cups and photos of the Queen in her home. She was certainly proud of our Queen. She was proud as a Canadian, and she certainly shared that with all of us.
It was not just the Queen's dedication to family. It was also her great dedication to service. When we look at the over seven decades the Queen served, we see exemplary service. She, above all, wanted to connect with people. She was Queen of the Commonwealth, and as so many have already mentioned, she loved Canada and visited us often. I believe her connection to Canada was real and that she was not only connected to her subjects here from the past but that she grew and changed as Canada grew and changed. Her acceptance and desire to get to know so many parts of Canada and so many people was great.
There is a quote I want to read that made it clear that she believed in inclusivity and respected multiculturalism in Canada. She stated:
...it is as Queen of Canada that I am here—Queen of Canada and of all Canadians, not just of one or two ancestral strains. I would like the crown to be seen as a symbol of national sovereignty, a link between Canadian citizens of every national origin and ancestry.
Later, the Queen would say, “This nation has dedicated itself to being a caring home for its own, a sanctuary for others and an example to the world.” Her last message was to express solidarity and sympathy to the loved ones of those who tragically lost their lives on the James Smith Cree Nation reserve. She cared about our issues. She cared about our country.
I go back to her legacy of service and think about how she connected with people. She was the first queen to have a televised wedding. Of course, it was the first time television was available, but she also initiated walkabouts. Many members of this House have spoken of how many hands she shook, how many people she saw personally and all of the stories and memories written in the book of condolences. She definitely touched people. The importance of human connection and the recognition of individual dignity and the pursuit of good governance is one of Queen Elizabeth's legacies.
In a speech given to the United Nations in 2010, she stated, “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.”
It was this commitment to hope and unity that strikes a chord with so many who remember her lifetime of service, composure and personal strength, and offers a profound example for us as democratic representatives of the Canadian people.
I know that many will miss her. As a strong female presence in our world over a very long period, a period of change and tumultuous times, she always offered a vision of faith and hope. It is that faith and hope, I believe, that we still need as we move forward today.
I know I will miss her caring, stable presence in our world and that many will. Her absence is a loss for us all.
Madam Speaker, it is always a privilege to rise in this House, but today I and all of our colleagues do so with the heaviest of hearts. At around this moment last Thursday, it “pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy our late Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth the Second of Blessed and Glorious Memory”, to borrow the words of the first of many accession proclamations made last weekend.
In the week which has intervened, we have witnessed and, indeed, ourselves have felt the shock, grief and reflections that have been felt in every corner of the globe ever since. For me, some of my own reflections have been upon the genuine honour and privilege I have had to have been received in audience by Her Majesty on two occasions. First, as speaker of the House, I was there with my counterpart, Noël Kinsella, speaker of the Senate at the time, to present the addresses which both Houses of our Parliament had voted to present to Her Majesty, on the occasion of the Queen's 2012 Diamond Jubilee and in 2013 following the birth of our future king, the current Prince George.
Since the House has adopted an address to our new King Charles III, the Speaker may find himself having an audience soon with His Majesty to present him with our Parliament's formal condolences. I am reminded of a personal anecdote of such an audience.
Before the Speaker meets the King, he will be presented with a briefing on protocol. We were all told what to do and what not to do. I asked the protocol officer how we would know when the meeting had ended. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, “Oh, you will know.” Sure enough, at one point in the conversation when it was clear Her Majesty had exchanged enough pleasantries, out came a box with a button on it. She very gently pressed on it and moments later, the equerry came into the room and the meeting was over. I am sure there are many people throughout Canada who wish they had that kind of box when they are having meetings that they would like to get out of.
On both occasions when I had that privilege, I can say that Her Majesty's warmth and interest in Canadian matters remarkably shone through. Those various reports members might hear or read about Queen Elizabeth being incredibly well informed about Canadian and world matters certainly accord with my own personal experiences, yet her love of Canada was not just about being well briefed on the news. Canada was tangibly present in her life. She made 22 official visits as Queen and one as Princess Elizabeth, more here than any other country.
Her longest visit to Canada in 1959 covered 45 days and 24,000 kilometres. On that trip, she performed her official duties with equal parts grace and grit as she fought through morning sickness to complete her gruelling itinerary. Canada was very much her second home. On a royal tour in 1983 which included both the United States and Canada, as she prepared to fly from California to Vancouver, she told the press, “I am going home to Canada tomorrow.”
Some members may be aware that Her Majesty's favourite horse ever was Burmese, the first of the horses gifted by the RCMP, that was foaled in Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan. The Queen rode Burmese at every Trooping of the Colour for 18 consecutive years, from 1969 to 1988, and on many other occasions, like the time she was famously photographed riding with Ronald Reagan. When Burmese retired, the Queen never rode to the Trooping of the Colour again, preferring to travel by carriage. A statue of Queen Elizabeth riding Burmese can be found in Regina, the queen city, a city I proudly represent.
We know that the people of Saskatchewan were in her thoughts right up until the end. Her final public statement a little over a week ago was to the people of Saskatchewan, specifically of the James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon, to tell them that she was grieving with them and mourning their loss. The day before that, we all saw the news and photos of her appointing a new British prime minister, her 15th. That Her Majesty, in her mid-nineties, was working right up until literally her very last days is a testament to her understanding of the responsibilities to which she was called by fate.
When she was 21, she gave a radio address that has been replayed many times in recent days. In it she declared, “my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service”. She was a young woman then, barely out of childhood, thrust by her uncle's unexpected abdication into a lifetime of service. It was an awe-inspiring promise for such a young person to make with such conviction. She knew even at that young age that there would be no relaxing retirement for her, however well-earned it would have been. Her duties would end only in death, as indeed they did.
In her last official photo she is standing beside the fireplace at Balmoral, and she exudes warmth and wisdom, though she must have known the end of her service was only a few days away. She was duty personified to the very last. That devotion to service, which our late Queen typified for the near century she lived and which she witnessed her father demonstrate so remarkably especially during the Second World War, was all the more remarkable since neither of them was meant to be the monarch from birth. It is the same example our new sovereign, King Charles III, witnessed and felt first-hand. I am sure we can have every confidence that His Majesty will follow in their footsteps and the footsteps of their many illustrious predecessors of the past thousand years.
The memories, reflections, tributes and appreciation expressed this past week have vividly recalled for all of us the majesty and magic of our constitutional monarchy, the continuity it provides and the bedrock of stability it forms. Other countries may pledge allegiance to flags, which blow unpredictably with the political winds, but our allegiance is to the Canadian Crown, which connects us in a direct line to the historic source of our Constitution. It is a living tradition of order and liberty that is renewed with each generation.
The other day I was recalling how the role of the Crown in our parliamentary democracy reminded me of the so-called parable of Chesterton's fence. In his 1929 book, The Thing, G.K. Chesterton wrote of a fence that some reform-minded folks would tear down because they did not understand its purpose, while other more cautious types would first seek to understand the original purpose of the fence and whether it was satisfying those needs. Basically, the lesson is do not destroy what we do not understand.
I suspect after this week many more will truly understand the meaningful role of the Canadian monarchy, A Crown of Maples, and that will be yet one more legacy of Her Majesty's remarkable reign. There is no doubt the Crown has helped shape Canada, but we should not view the monarchy or the Crown as some kind of foreign institution. Canada and the Crown are intertwined, and Canada has had an impact on the Crown itself.
Our francophone colleagues from Quebec are familiar with the history of our people here in North America, and they know that certain events had a significant impact on the Crown.
For example, it was the Quebec Act that first gave religious liberties to Catholics, paving the way for religious tolerance throughout the entire British Empire. That innovation that was used here in North America to help bring two peoples together changed the way Catholics, and ultimately religious minorities, were treated throughout the entire globe. We can take credit here in Canada for that legacy, the change that we effected on our system of government, and through it, the entire world and the entire British Empire. It was the Quebec Act that first established the principle that one can be loyal to the sovereign while still practising whatever faith one chooses.
When someone serves so diligently for as long as Queen Elizabeth did, it is tempting to think that they will continue forever. Perhaps that is why, although her death was not unexpected, it still moves us so deeply. We have lost someone who was part of the backdrop of our lives for as long as most of us in this House can remember. Although she is gone, we will be reminded of her for years to come. We will probably encounter her unexpectedly, when we empty coins from our pockets or rummage for stamps at the back of a drawer and we suddenly see that familiar regal profile again. In those moments we will pause and smile as we remember the life of an extraordinary woman and an exemplary Queen.
God bless Queen Elizabeth, and God save the King.
Madam Speaker, it is always an honour to rise in this House. It is particularly so today, given the reason we are here. It is always a pleasure to speak when you are in the chair, I might add.
Last week, when the world learned of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, I thought back in history to Winston Churchill, who was the prime minister upon her becoming queen and the prime minister when her late father passed away, King George VI. When the king died, Winston Churchill said that it “struck a deep and solemn note in our lives which, as it resounded far and wide, stilled the clatter and traffic of twentieth-century life in many lands, and made countless millions of human beings pause and look around them.” The same could be said about the passing of his daughter.
As we stop, pause and reflect on her 96 years of life, the world has seen so much change. In her life, she witnessed it all. In those extraordinary 96 years, in many circumstances, she was truly a trailblazer.
For starters, as we have heard, Her Majesty was a fully trained mechanic, having joined the women's Auxiliary Territorial Service and worked as a mechanic and a truck driver during the Second World War. As a member of the ATS, she was the first female of the royal family to be an active duty member of the British Armed Forces. Not surprisingly, she was also the last surviving head of state to have served during the Second World War.
In 1953, it was her coronation on June 2 that was the first such event to be televised to the tune of 27 million viewers around the world. On December 25, 1957, she made history with her decision to televise her Christmas message, 25 years after her grandfather, King George V, began the Christmas day tradition of a radio address.
Her Majesty modernized the way the royal family interacted with the public. It was during her visit to Australia in 1970 that the Queen set a precedent with a royal walkabout, shaking hands with the public rather than appearing at a distance. It is a tradition that continues today. In 2011, she made history again by being the first British monarch in 100 years to visit Ireland. Of course, she was the longest-serving British monarch in history. There were so many firsts.
Her Majesty was also an individual who embraced advances in technology. In 1969, the Queen expanded her universe, along with many other world leaders, when she included a message of goodwill on the mission to the moon. These messages were transferred onto a silicon disc, which still sits on the moon's surface today. She sent her first email in 1976 from a British army base. She was an early believer in Facebook, signing on to join Facebook in 2010, which I am pretty sure was much earlier than I joined.
Politically, over 70 years, we all know Her Majesty was the head of the Commonwealth, linking more than two billion people worldwide. She watched 14 different British prime ministers come into power during her time as monarch, starting with Sir Winston Churchill up until the most recent British prime minister. In Canada, there were 12 prime ministers during her reign, from then prime minister Louis St. Laurent, who we have heard about today, to our current .
Speaking of Canada, time and again, Her Majesty marked Canada's modern history. Over the course of 70 years and 23 royal tours, Queen Elizabeth II saw this country from coast to coast to coast and was here for every major milestone. It was no secret she loved this country. She would even proclaim that it was good to be home when she would come to Canada.
There were other details about Her Majesty that bring a smile to the face. She was a soccer fan and an avid Arsenal fan. She even invited the team for afternoon tea at the palace in 2006. I understand that she had a sweet tooth and had a piece of chocolate cake every day, including one on her birthday that she shared with all of her staff and the people in the palace. The Queen took delight in her stamp collection. It was built on the collection of her father and previous monarchs and filled about 300 albums.
Heaven forbid if someone witnessed her handbag over her arm because it was a sign to her staff that she was bored with the person she was speaking to. My colleagues need to beware if I ask where my handbag is when they are speaking. They will now know why. I expect I will be doing it a lot when the opposition is asking questions during question period.
While the Queen served with dedication, sincerity and loyalty, she was equally committed to her family. As a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she clearly took great pleasure in her family.
I want to pause for some personal reflections. I was born in Thunder Bay, and probably my earliest memory of Her Majesty was when she came to Fort William in 1973. It was a big event. The streets swelled with people. The people's pride swelled. It left a permanent impression on everybody there, including me as a young man. It was also marked by the occasion of a challenge with protocol, one might say. The mayor at the time was a rather gregarious individual who reached out and touched the Queen in a way that nobody should, and in traditional British fashion the media reported it with photographs that appeared to show the mayor exercising a certain familiarity.
She had a presence everywhere I went. I walked into my classrooms and I walked into many courtrooms, and just to be clear I was a lawyer, and she was always there looking over us. She was a fixture in our lives since the day everybody in this chamber was born, and she will be for the rest of our lives.
I had the honour to meet His Majesty King Charles III when he and the Queen Consort came to Canada this past May. I know I speak on behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, including the people of Etobicoke—Lakeshore, when I wish him the very best as he takes on his new responsibilities. He has big shoes to fill.
To Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, I say rest in peace. She certainly deserves it.
Long live the King.
Madam Speaker, it is with sorrow that I rise to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of my constituents in Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge. I offer condolences to His Majesty King Charles III and the entire royal family.
Queen Elizabeth II was probably the most well-known woman in the entire world. She was an inspiration to hundreds of millions of people for her grace, service, kindness, leadership and example.
As Canada mourns our longest-reigning monarch, we remember her historic service to the British Commonwealth of Nations, her grace, her leadership and her kindness, which inspired many and had an impact on millions of lives.
At 96 years of age, for the vast majority, she has been with us for all of our lives. We knew that she would not be with us forever, but still her passing came as a surprise because she was in the public eye a couple of days beforehand meeting with the new Prime Minister of Britain, Liz Truss. Outgoing prime minister Boris Johnson said on that day that she was “bright and focused” and that his weekly meetings with the Queen were “a wonderful moment of tranquility” and “a fantastic break from everything else”. There is a sense of loss: national loss and personal loss.
I started collecting stamps when I was a child back in the sixties. Back then, one could send a letter across Canada for 4¢. Then it was 5¢, 6¢, 8¢, and now we do not even put a numerical value on the stamps. However, hers was the lovely face on those stamps. On our pennies, and I do have a jarful, nickels, dimes and quarters, on one side is the maple leaf, the beaver, the caribou or the Bluenose schooner and on the other side is her face. We literally carried her with us. She was not only the Queen of Britain but also the Queen of Canada, our Queen, and the longest-serving Queen in Commonwealth, British and Canadian history.
Canada is the third most enduring democracy in the world, which is no small feat. Only the United Kingdom and the United States have been democracies for longer. The stability of our parliamentary system contrasts with so much of the rest of the world, which has undergone revolutions and wars or been under oppressive rule.
We are a constitutional monarchy whereby the Queen, and now the King, are the official head of state under the rule of law in a parliament chosen by the people. The roots of our freedom trace back to the Magna Carta Libertatum, which is Latin for the great charter of freedoms. It was signed to make peace between King John and unhappy barons in 1215, some 800 years ago.
There are symbols of the Crown everywhere in the country, in government and here in Parliament. For example, the Mace, which is before us here, is a symbol of the authority of the sovereign Queen, and now the King, and the power of the House of Commons. The Crown is the institution upon which our entire system of government rests. It is on the authority of the Crown that we uphold democracy, peace, justice and order in Canada. We should never doubt that the Crown is indeed a Canadian institution.
During the American Revolution, Quebec could have joined the other American colonies. We must not forget that the British had conquered New France only 15 or so years earlier, but French Canadians decided that it was much better to remain a colony under England's king and Parliament to better protect their language, religion and freedoms.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was proud of the fact that Canada was a francophone nation and insisted on speaking French at every opportunity.
Queen Elizabeth exemplified service and set the standard for all leaders to follow.
As has been mentioned, on her 21st birthday in 1947, she broadcasted to the world from South Africa, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service”.
Queen Elizabeth II did live a life of service. In fact, she served in the military during World War II against Nazism as a second lieutenant. On her first televised speech in 1957, she said, “I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice. But I can do something else. I can give you my heart and my devotion”.
Happily, she did live a long life.
On August 28th, just a few days before her passing, I held an outdoor ceremony to award Platinum Jubilee Awards in honour of Her Majesty’s 70 years of reign and in recognition of my constituents’ dedication to community service.
It was a very special time recognizing some of well-known people and others who are not well known. I think of one gentleman who, for many years, has walked for about 10 kilometres a day, and he brings with him a garbage bag to collect garbage along his way. He says he wants to keep fit, but we all benefit from his service.
On her Platinum Jubilee, she said, “When it comes to how to mark 70 years as your Queen, there is no guidebook to follow. It really is a first.... I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family.”
She said, “While I may not have attended every event in person, my heart has been with you all”.
The Queen had her own style. According to her biographer, as the Queen was quite petite, she felt that it was important to be seen in order to be believed. With that in mind, she chose to wear outfits of bright colours in her public engagements.
With colour-coordinated hats and umbrellas, it was hard to lose sight of the Queen even when it was raining cats and dogs. She kept the same style for decades: monochromatic, colourful and eye-catching, yet unflashy. She said that no one would recognize her if she wore more drab clothing.
She once said, “Grief is the price we pay for love.” As we grieve the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, it is because of our affection for her, and this sorrow is in response to the love she had for her subjects over many, many years.
As a member of His Majesty's loyal opposition, I join my colleagues in offering my full support to our new king, His Majesty King Charles III.
God save the King. Long may he reign.
I will close with this final quote from the Queen: “Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.”
Madam Speaker, I am truly honoured to address the House of Commons today, on this historic occasion, in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
For the past seven decades, she has been a constant in our world and in our lives. Through good times and challenging times, a dozen prime ministers here in Canada and even more in the United Kingdom, and all of the rapid social and technological changes that have marked the years since she ascended to the throne in 1952 as the Queen of Canada, our Queen, she has always been there.
Now, unfortunately, she is no more. Although she is no longer with us, she will never be forgotten, if what we have seen every day since the announcement of her death is any indication.
As we have heard in the tributes in this place and from around the world, she truly was a remarkable woman and her memory will live forever. The memories of her will not just be of who she was as Queen but as who she was as a person.
Despite living her life constantly in the public eye from the time that she was born, she unfailingly lived up to the enormous pressures that were put upon her. She was warm and she was a compassionate person. She displayed grace and wisdom. She believed in serving her country and serving the Commonwealth.
These are qualities that all of us should aspire to.
On this occasion, I will focus my speech on her four visits to the Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe region and the impact she had on the people in our part of the country, the beautiful province of New Brunswick.
On her first trip to Moncton in 1951, Her Royal Highness, the Princess Elizabeth, then the Duchess of Edinburgh, visited our historic park, which was named after her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
This week, one of my constituents from Moncton talked about the time that school children travelled by bus to the park that day in November to welcome the young princess. She also told me how, at age 10, she marvelled at Elizabeth's beauty and Prince Philip's imposing presence, not to mention his impressive height.
The young girl had meticulously kept an album of black and white photos of the royal couple's wedding a few years earlier and now they were standing before her in the flesh.
When asked all these years later what the weather was like on that November day, my constituent paused for a brief moment and then said that it must have been a fine day, but she could not really remember the details. She said that it was all so thrilling and that the day just seemed to glow.
I will tell the House that I live near Victoria Park, and I walk through it whenever I am home. It is a beautiful place. However, I must also admit that a fine day at the park in November in New Brunswick is by no means guaranteed. I can only guess that it was in fact the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh who made the day shine so brightly in the eyes of my constituent.
As we all know, it would only be three short months after her visit to Moncton that Princess Elizabeth, a young wife and mother of two toddlers, would suddenly lose her beloved father, King George VI, and take on the burden of the Crown, all in an instant.
Young Princess Elizabeth could have never imagined that she would wear that crown for the next seven decades and that, for so many of us, she would become not only a monarch, but also a mother and grandmother figure.
She could also never have imagined that day that, in 70 years on the throne, she would never once falter in her duty and that she would remain a symbol of grace and distinction for so many of us.
Queen Elizabeth returned to Moncton, to Victoria Park, just eight years later, but this time as Her Majesty.
This royal visit in the summer of 1959 is still the most memorable one for the people of New Brunswick. The Queen and Prince Philip had just started a cross-Canada tour when a violent storm hit New Brunswick's Northumberland coast.
In all, 35 men and boys, all but four of them from the tiny village of Escuminac, New Brunswick, were forever lost at sea. Upon hearing of the tragic news, and throughout her 45 day royal tour in Canada, Her Majesty continued to ask for regular updates about the disaster. Upon arriving in the Yukon territory, the Queen suddenly felt ill. We now know she was secretly suffering from morning sickness in the first trimester of her pregnancy. When she confided this to then prime minister John Diefenbaker, he suggested that she and Prince Philip should shorten their tour. It was also suggested to her that perhaps the sovereign use the New Brunswick leg of the tour to simply rest, once they had arrived to our beautiful province.
The Queen would hear none of it, however. Not only did the royal couple fulfill all of their engagements in New Brunswick, but they also added more stops, taking the time to meet with the widows and orphans of the Escuminac disaster on the wharf at Pointe-du-Chêne, where the Royal Yacht Britannia was moored in Shediac Bay.
There, one summer day on the wharf, our Queen, herself a young wife and mother, did her best to comfort the grieving families in both English and French, effortlessly switching between the two languages.
According to the Moncton Daily Times, the newspaper of the day, among the mothers and wives weeping on the wharf was none other than Her Majesty herself. It has been said many times that the stoicism and resolve Queen Elizabeth II demonstrated throughout her life was brightly admired by all in the realm. In that instant, during a time of terrible tragedy in our province, her resolute strength surely gave everyone great courage.
That day, however, in our little corner of New Brunswick, the Queen's compassion briefly overcame her extraordinary resolve. Everyone in New Brunswick was touched to see Queen Elizabeth II express her sadness so openly.
It was later reported that the royal couple broke precedent and donated an undisclosed but generous sum to the fund set up for families of the lost. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's gift inspired people around the world to donate to the cause as well. New Brunswick has never forgotten that kind gesture on their part.
The Queen and the Prince visited New Brunswick again in 1984 during much happier times. Nearly two decades later, in 2002, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh returned to the Moncton area for their final visit.
Next month, it will be 20 years since she visited us on her Golden Jubilee tour. During her visit, she helped my home town of Dieppe celebrate its 50th anniversary. She also inaugurated the new terminal of what is now called the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport, because she wanted to honour the people of Moncton for welcoming the thousands of travellers stranded at the airport following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, the year before her visit.
For 70 years and throughout her glorious reign, Her Majesty was there for the people of New Brunswick, in good times and also in bad times, just as she was there for people throughout the Commonwealth. We will never forget her.
I would like to conclude my remarks with a story, not about our departed Queen but rather our new King. It is a story that was never publicly reported and not really widely known. While the tragedy of Escuminac is fading in the memory for many New Brunswickers, some of the darkest days in Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe's history are unfortunately still painful memories for many of my constituents.
Eight years ago, a shooting in our community injured five members of the RCMP, three of them fatally. At the time, I was a social worker employed by the RCMP as a victim services coordinator.
The grief in our community and our police detachment in the aftermath was something impossible to describe in words. Thankfully, messages of support from the public and private came from around the world, and they really helped our people heal. One of those private messages of support came from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales himself, who also sent personal letters and bouquets of flowers to the wives of the three fallen RCMP members.
It may have been a small gesture, but it was also a reminder that no matter how bad things get, there is still good in the world. The kindness and thoughtfulness that our future king showed is the kind of thing we learn from our parents, if we are lucky.
The Prince of Wales had the good fortune of having his mother with him for 73 years, and she was a shining example.
God bless the Queen, and God bless the King.
Madam Speaker, I want to begin by expressing my deepest condolences to the royal family during this most heart-wrenching time. Her Majesty's sense of duty to Canada, along with her commitment to other members of the Commonwealth, was continually demonstrated through her noble actions. I know I speak for many when I say we are forever grateful for her devotion to this country.
“I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.” These are the famously remembered remarks from the speech that Princess Elizabeth made on her 21st birthday, in 1947. This vow was more than promised; it was undeniably fulfilled.
In 1951, two years prior to her coronation, Princess Elizabeth made a visit to my riding of Brantford—Brant. It was the first of three times that Her Majesty visited my riding. She was accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, and the couple passed through the city on their way to review cadets at the Royal Military College in Kingston.
In 1984, Her Majesty made her second visit to Brantford. Over 4,000 people, including me and my parents, gathered at Her Majesty's Royal Chapel of the Mohawks, one of Canada's three royal chapels, where she unveiled a plaque recognizing the chapel as Upper Canada's first Anglican church. She also declared the land as a Canadian national historic site for being the oldest surviving church in Ontario.
On that same tour, she visited the Six Nations of the Grand River, which is also located in my riding. The Six Nations commemorate the close ties between the Six Nations and the British Crown annually on Victoria Day, by organizing a “Bread & Cheese” day.
As many know, my riding is also known as the Telephone City. Alexander Graham Bell's family immigrated to Canada and settled on a small piece of farmland just outside the city. On Her Majesty's third and final visit to Brantford in 1997, she paid a visit to the Bell Homestead, the historic site where Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, acknowledging the achievements made by Mr. Bell along with his significance in Canadian history. On this tour, the Queen also dined at the Olde School Restaurant, which is still in operation today and is adorned with photos preserving that moment in history for its customers to continue to enjoy.
I am thankful that many constituents across my riding have taken the time to contact my office, sharing the memories of her visits, expressing the feelings of excitement, joy, hope and kindness that they had when she came, and saying that her presence was unforgettable. The Queen's visits to Brantford are clearly just one illustration of how, during her reign, she was a vigorous participant in Canadian historic evolution and a genuine advocate for the future success of our country.
Over her 70 years, Queen Elizabeth made 22 official trips to Canada. Throughout her reign, she witnessed the rise and fall of 12 prime ministers. Canada is the country that the Queen spent the most time in; thus it is safe to say that the Queen has a special place here in Canada and we are thrilled to serve as her home away from home. Her Majesty's commitment to Canada only just began when she was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom in 1952 and became the first monarch to open the doors of our Parliament in 1957. Queen Elizabeth was the first monarch to be crowned Queen of Canada, and she dedicated her life to public service.
Following in the unforgettable footsteps of her great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who had approved the federation act of 1867, Queen Elizabeth II went on to grant the Constitution Act of 1982 with royal assent. It was her influence on this legislation that made the foundation for Canada to amend its Constitution and allowed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to become law. For many, Canada entered a new era, an era full of patriation and pride.
Millions of people around the world, in Canada and across the other 14 countries in which the Queen was head of state, are mourning. During her reign, Elizabeth travelled to 117 countries, including 56 Commonwealth states, and presided over 2.5 billion residents. She was undoubtedly the world's most travelled world leader, and her visits certainly played an important role in spreading democratic values throughout the globe throughout the last 70 years.
In her 1947 speech, she encouraged everyone to make the Commonwealth freer, happier, more prosperous and a more powerful influence for good in the world. She said, “To accomplish that we must give nothing less than the whole of ourselves.” She did exactly that, and we must continue to uphold that vow.
Her Majesty's commitment to all realms of the Commonwealth will forever be cherished, and her leadership, commitment and inspiration will forever live on. The passing of Her Majesty was heartbreaking. Serving as the United Kingdom's longest-reigning sovereign, there is no doubt that the mark she left is truly monumental. It has been both an honour and a privilege to serve the citizens of Brantford—Brant as a member of Her Majesty's loyal opposition. She showed us how to lead, gave us hope and set the best example of service above self, and for that we owe her enormous gratitude.
May God grant her eternal rest.
Now, I would like to take this opportunity and stand very proudly, as a member of the riding of Brantford—Brant, and swear my allegiance to King Charles III.
God save the King.
Madam Speaker, today I, too, have the sad privilege to rise and express my heartfelt sympathy, and the sympathy of my constituents, to our sovereign King Charles III and his family as they mourn their “beloved mama”, grandmother and great-grandmother, our late Queen Elizabeth II.
Today, we are thinking about the 70 years of service given to Canada by our Queen, a head of state who played a key, albeit often discreet, role in the lives of Canadians.
Most Canadians alive today have known no other head of state. Many governments and parliaments have come and gone, while she, the Queen, has remained. Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, visited the Yukon for two days on their tour of Canada in 1959. To illustrate this memorable visit, I have shared an old Pathé clip on my social media pages, outlining the royal couple's tour through the so-called “romantic Yukon”.
Of course, 64 years ago, Whitehorse, only recently named the territorial capital, was quite a different place. Streets were still unpaved and some houses still lacked indoor plumbing. The great era of Yukon sternwheelers had ended only a few years before, and with a thriving army base there remained a substantial military presence in the community.
There are still Yukoners who proudly remember that visit, including that the power went out one night in Whitehorse, leaving the royal couple in the dark overnight. During their visit they toured the MacBride Museum and boarded a special royal train on the White Pass and Yukon railway for a short trip to the edge of the town.
Pregnant with her third child and experiencing a teensy bit of morning sickness, Her Majesty elected to refrain from travelling further, while the Duke of Edinburgh flew to both Dawson and Mayo on a four-engine de Havilland Heron. The pilot was Prince Philip himself. As another reminder of the Yukon of that time, when Philip returned to the city he was able to taxi the plane right up to the door of the VIP House, then located on the escarpment side of the airport, although since then relocated downtown.
When the royal party insisted on greeting Yukoners in an open car on their tour, officials had to look for willing drivers on the street to lend a car to the royals for the day. A suitable car was indeed found in a brand new Ford Fairlane convertible driven by Cassiar miner Vincenzo Caparelli.
It was a very special visit. To revisit this occasion is to remind us of the relationship that the Yukon and many Yukoners enjoy with the Crown.
Naturally, Canadians felt a wide range of emotions following our recent loss. For some, it was like losing a family member. Others chose to reflect on her role and her service and to express their condolences to the immediate family, stopping there.
However, for those who are feeling and living with the consequences of colonial projects undertaken by the government in her name, this loss can bring up more painful thoughts.
As a constitutional monarchy, Canadians are fortunate that this broad spectrum of emotions and arguments can be expressed publicly, sometimes simultaneously, and shared with others respectfully. There are few other countries beyond the Commonwealth of Nations where the head of state is able to rise above the political fray, providing continuity, compassionate engagement, and the longevity and foresight that elected governments, focused primarily on the next election, often overlook to their detriment.
The Crown as an institution, now represented by King Charles III, will take on that role as someone removed from the changing winds of partisanship, as the elected chambers in Canada have been since his ancestor Queen Victoria first granted Canada responsible government almost 200 years ago.
The Crown of Canada represented an important relationship between the state and its members. This relationship became particularly important in the context of the global climate crisis and Canada's continuing journey toward reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
Many of the agreements, treaties and proclamations signed between the state and indigenous peoples of the past and modern era are between indigenous citizens and the Crown. We know that elected governments have not always honoured those agreements as they should have, and some have ignored them entirely, leading to devastating results and the legacy of trauma that repeatedly plays out in tragedy. The James Smith Cree Nation murders that we stood silent for in the House this morning are the most current and painful reminder of the harm done through Canada's colonial practices, presided over by our monarchy.
However, healing can and will continue. In His Majesty's visit to Canada as Prince of Wales earlier this year, he met with survivors of residential schools and called on Canadians to listen to “the truth of the lived experiences” of indigenous peoples, saying, “We all have a responsibility to listen, understand and act in ways that foster relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.”
As a British-born Canadian of Irish and Scottish descent, and with my own mother having grown up in India's Raj, I recognize the difficult symbolism held within the Crown in my own ancestral homelands. As a settler Canadian, I see the parallels in the colonial projects across centuries, but I also recognize how the Crown has evolved to recognize the harm done in its name, whether abroad or in Canada.
Earlier this week, during his first visit to Northern Ireland, King Charles III met with leaders and politicians and spoke about the importance of reconciliation in a remarkable exchange of conciliatory gestures, a continuation of the goodwill demonstrated by the Queen in the final years of her reign.
I am confident that on the occasion of King Charles's first visit to Canada, he will continue to express a will to listen and engage with indigenous peoples and all Canadians on the journey to reconciliation across the country.
I finish today by saying that out of this period of mourning, hope and reconciliation will continue to build for a better tomorrow. What Canadian would not agree, and what better legacy could we want from our Queen?
In offering our condolences for his bereavement and as we recall the compassion, poise and grace that his mother brought to her role for 70 years as our head of state, moving Canada from a young country constrained by old ideas to a mature nation on a path to inclusiveness and prosperity, we deliver our best wishes for our new King's reign. Long live King Charles III.
Thank you, gunalchéesh, shäw níthän, mahsi cho.
Madam Speaker, it is with sadness in our hearts that we are gathered here today to pay tribute to someone who was absolutely all-encompassing. When we think about the impact Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had not only on the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth but also the entire world, our hearts grieve at the tremendous loss for all of us, and in particular those of us on whom she had an impact here in Canada especially, a country she visited so often. I think it was the country she visited most often outside of the U.K. We were beloved by Her Majesty and we loved her back. The hole she leaves in all of us here in Canada is huge, but her legacy will live on and the impact she made will continue for generations to come.
I want to extend my deepest and heartfelt sympathies to the royal family and all those who are grieving the loss of Queen Elizabeth II. The stability Her Majesty brought to the role as Queen was something all leaders can only aspire to and hope to provide to the people they represent and serve.
When I think back on the years she served and all the turmoil our world has gone through in the time of her service and throughout her lifetime, it is rather remarkable. As a child, she was raised in a time of global turmoil. She knew what it was to be in the midst of World War II and world war conflict. In that time, she knew what it was to have her family be under threat of attack. She probably experienced fears like everyone else and wondered what the future would hold, and even at that stage was beginning to feel a bit of the weight that was going to come upon her when she ascended to the throne.
It is hard to believe that no less than 12 Canadian prime ministers served during her reign, from the Right Hon. Louis St-Laurent through to our current . During her reign, 15 United Kingdom prime ministers served, beginning with the one-of-a-kind and one-and-only Sir Winston Churchill. What a way to begin her reign as Queen, serving alongside and with Mr. Churchill. Just two days prior to her passing, she swore in her 15th prime minister, Prime Minister Liz Truss.
She was Queen during the time of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. She was Queen when Apollo 11 made the first moon landing. She was Queen during the Vietnam War and experienced what the world was going through during that time. She experienced the joy of seeing the first-ever woman elected as prime minister of the U.K., that being Margaret Thatcher. She was there in our history for the repatriation of Canada's Constitution and the establishment of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Her Majesty was Queen during the terrible tragedy of Chernobyl's nuclear disaster. She was there for the fall of the Berlin Wall. She was with us during the time of the Gulf War. She was also there for the end of apartheid. She was there to witness the end of strife in Northern Ireland. She was also with us through the tragedy of 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan. Of course she was there when our world experienced the banking crisis, the mortgage crisis and the great recession of 2008-09. She witnessed the start of the Arab Spring. More recently, she went through COVID-19 with the rest of us.
Throughout the vicissitudes of life's ups and downs that our world has gone through, Her Majesty remained a beacon of stability, hope, strength and courage. No matter what our world was going through, whenever Her Majesty spoke, she spoke with a calmness and a resoluteness that resonated with all the people she had influence over.
She bore many titles. She was referred to as the Queen, the head of the Commonwealth, our sovereign and Her Majesty, but it has been said of the Queen that her preferred title, her favourite title, was Her Grace. She loved to be referred to as “Her Grace”. As the story goes, she loved that title because she felt very deeply that she was in her role of the Queen because of the grace of her lord and saviour. She took that role very seriously because she saw it as a fulfilment of her calling here on earth. At the time of her coronation, Her Majesty stated:
Therefore I am sure that this, my Coronation, is not the symbol of a power and a splendour that are gone but a declaration of our hopes for the future, and for the years I may, by God's Grace and Mercy, be given to reign and serve you as your Queen.
The Queen bore witness to the importance of faith in her life and in our world throughout all kinds of circumstances. She celebrated the joys of our seasons, and reflected upon her faith in her annual Christmas addresses that many of us remember with fondness. I am sure in times of crisis and tragedies she drew strength from her faith and she would share that with those of us listening to her messages. She was not immune to the sufferings of her people. Not only was she the Queen but she was also a mother, a grandmother, a wife, a great-grandmother and an aunt. She experienced all that those roles can bring to a person's life and emotions.
Her Majesty experienced the death of her father in 1952 and became our sovereign at the young age of 25. In August 1997, we all remember the tragic loss of Princess Diana. She also endured the passing of her husband in recent years. She understood the stress and strain during the times of turmoil that we have all faced in our lives, but there was an additional component for her. When someone is a leader, where do they go when their heart is heavy and they grieve the affairs of the people they feel responsibility for? Where did the Queen go when her heart was overwhelmed? Where did the Queen go when she felt like she needed to talk to someone? She told us. She expressed to us where she got her strength. She said:
I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.
She also said:
To many of us our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ's words and example.
Today, it is my hope in this House that where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II found comfort would also be the source of our comfort, that we would look to the same one that she, the Queen, looked to, and find great joy and comfort in the midst of deep sorrow and loss knowing that our hope goes beyond here.
God save the King, and may God continue to bless Canada.
Madam Speaker, there is a story that is told quite fondly back home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. During a visit to St. John's in 1997, she was invited to tour the historic Purity Factories, which is the purveyors of such Newfoundland delicacies as Peppermint Nobs and Hard Tack. At one point, she stopped next to a worker in his white factory coat and hairnet and watched with him as the belt went by filled with Rum and Butter Kisses or some such. There was a prolonged silence, because the worker was at a complete and total loss for words with the monarch, the Queen of Canada, standing right next to him, until she politely inquired, “What is it exactly that you make here?” Before she even had a chance to finish her question, he immediately answered, “$12.75 an hour, Your Majesty.”
I do not know if that story is even true, but I sure want it to be. We all did at the time. In a time before Facebook, it was the kind of story that leapt over backyard fences; it moved so fast. People laughed at it in a good-natured way because we saw ourselves in it, the awkwardness of the poor fellow being chosen to answer questions of the Queen who had unexpectedly stopped next to him of all people.
Maybe it was the practical nature of Newfoundlanders who assume that when they are asked, “What is it exactly that you make here,” it refers to what it is they earn and only perhaps, upon a second question, what it is they produce. Perhaps it was because we all knew that if this Queen asked the question, “What is it exactly that you make here,” it was not because she was asking about what the person makes. It was because she was asking about the person. That is how we saw her. That is how we knew her.
She had a gentle smile under a broad-brimmed hat, purse at her wrist and flowers in her hands. She walked along lines of people in parks, in malls and in factories, stopping every few steps to make polite inquiries here and there, a handshake and a laugh and then moving along unfailingly happy to be in the presence of others with never a sign of fatigue or disinterest, day after day, month after month, year after year, every year of our lives.
She was a constant and it feels like there are so few constants in our lives anymore. Maybe that is why so many of us were surprised not so much by her passing after such a long and rich life, but by our reaction to it. In what seems to be such a tumultuous time with a pandemic, a war in Europe and global events taking on such careening velocity with all our technology, her constant presence calmed, soothed and inspired.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II understood her role as the head of the Commonwealth, the formality, the responsibility and the obligation, but her brilliance was in finding a way to communicate her humanity while maintaining her mystery, to resort to quiet conversation and not broadcast, and to find some corner of our lives in which to take root and to always be there unfailingly.
She understood more than most how we starve for constants in our lives, even if she was only in the corner of our eye on TV as we made supper for the kids, a fleeting image on our phones as we took the bus home from work, there again in her hat, the line of people, her smile, her purse and her laugh. Some of those people were in on the joke with her. They know why she laughed and they know how she soothed.
Great story aside, that fellow at Purity Factories knows exactly what she said and he will never forget it. Heads of state, presidents and prime ministers were all humbled by her presence to whom she gave searingly good advice that came from experience, that came from having as her first British prime minister to come calling, Sir Winston Churchill. No matter one's station, she was a constant, unfailing and unflinching. She was our North Star, now snuffed out.
In the days ahead, we are going to notice the sky a little emptier and realize what we had all along: a steadfast guardian of our Constitution, an embodiment of the higher calling offered by public service and the face and voice we could rely on in troubling times. For now, we are burdened by the sadness of our loss, but in the days to come we will be buoyed by the example she set and the comfort she offered.
On behalf of my constituents and all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, I extend our most sincere condolences to His Majesty the King of Canada, the royal family and the people of the Commonwealth and around the world who are mourning the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, perhaps the greatest servant to the people any nation has ever known.
Madam Speaker, it is both a great honour and a sad responsibility to stand in the House today, on behalf of the people of Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in this special commemorative session. For me, today is another one of those moments that so many of us never imagined being part of. I think we are all still in a bit of shock, because despite her advanced age, we really had not begun to think about or contemplate a world without the only head of state that most of us have known our whole lives.
It is an inspiring reminder of just how long and in how many ways the Queen served all of us to note that not only was she our longest serving monarch, but Queen Elizabeth was among the dwindling group of veterans who proudly served in World War II. In early 1945, as a young woman of 19, she joined the British Auxiliary Territorial Service, becoming the first female member of the royal family on active duty, where she served in non-traditional roles in learning how to drive and maintain vehicles, an interest she maintained for the rest of her life.
When we think of her long reign, it is important to remember that her accession to the throne really was doubly unexpected. In 1936, the unexpected abdication of her uncle, King Edward VIII, made her heir to the throne at age 11. Then, the early and equally unexpected death of her father, King George VI, in 1952, thrust her into the role of Queen at the age of 26.
However, Queen Elizabeth seemed to have intuitively understood from the beginning that the role of constitutional monarch requires a broad knowledge and a depth of understanding of both politics and world affairs in order to carry out the role of Queen effectively. She worked very hard at making sure that she was fulfilling that role in the best way she could. She knew that although her powers were in fact very few, they remained very significant.
I apologize here for still being a recovering political scientist even after 11 years in the House, but I do think that an understanding of the role of constitutional monarch is important to understanding just how good a queen Queen Elizabeth II was.
By the 1860s, British constitutional scholar Walter Bagehot famously asserted that only three rights remained to the British sovereign: the right to be consulted, the right to encourage and the right to warn, a clear statement of the line between governing and reigning in a constitutional monarchy. While the Queen could exercise those rights in private, other important functions of the monarchy always required that those rights be exercised only in private. Those other important functions are to serve as a guarantee of constitutional government, to guarantee continuity of government and to provide a symbol of national unity above politics.
It was the passage of the Statute of Westminster by the U.K. Parliament in 1931 that created a separate Canadian monarchy in law. This act also clarified that the Canadian Governor General was the direct representative of the sovereign and not the U.K. government. At the same time, it confirmed the well-established precedent that the few reserve powers of the monarchy, those largely revolving around the appointment and dismissal of prime ministers, could only be discharged by the Canadian Governor General and not the Crown. What was left to British monarchs, now established legally as our Canadian monarchs? It was almost nothing, except, again, guaranteeing constitutional government, guaranteeing continuity and guaranteeing national unity.
While some have trouble seeing a monarch as a symbol of continuity and of the state and unity, personally, I see this concept as providing a key advantage by separating the concept of loyalty from politics. There are other solutions to this problem, but none are so simple and reliable as a constitutional monarchy. That is why there are so many constitutional monarchs among the great democracies of the world, not just Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and other members of the Commonwealth, but also Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Norway and Japan.
Today, we need to remind ourselves how much Queen Elizabeth II has come to represent the model constitutional monarch and exemplify the strengths of constitutional monarchy. In our system, the fact that loyalty is expressed toward the Crown protects us from the worst ravages of civil discord. Our oaths are sworn to the Crown and not to the politicians of the day. This means, as some of us like to point out, that everyone can feel free to oppose the Prime Minister without having our loyalty to Canada being questioned. We have seen the dangers of unifying symbolic and political roles in a single person and how that is still playing out in our neighbour to the south.
Queen Elizabeth's long life has caused many to take for granted a second strength of constitutional monarchy, which is continuity. She saw 12 Canadian prime ministers, from Louis St. Laurent to our current , 12 B.C. premiers, from W.A.C. Bennett to John Horgan, and countless other provincial premiers come and go. It is not a surprise given that she served Canada for nearly half of our time as an independent country.
When a constitutional monarch dies, there is no doubt about the continuity of the institution, as their heirs automatically assume the throne. When prime ministers leave office, in turn the constitutional monarchy guarantees there will be someone there to make sure the job is filled.
At this point, I want to acknowledge that the symbol of the Crown has differing meanings for first nations in this country, and I express my respect for those who have different understandings of the role and responsibilities of the sovereign as they relate to first nations. I acknowledge that this understandably results in differing and diverse reactions to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II among first nations.
Now, after my long digression on the role of the monarchy, let me return to the long reign of Queen Elizabeth in less theoretical terms.
She did this job with incredible grace and dignity, in good times and bad, and always under the relentless scrutiny of the press and public. However, somehow, despite the limitations inherent in her role, Queen Elizabeth still managed to let the person she was shine through. I am going to recount two stories that illustrate this for me, although neither is my own story. I trust the owners will not mind, as they have told these stories publicly before.
A few days ago, Dmitriy Shapiro reminded us of the story of the Queen's meeting with Holocaust survivors at the 60th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz in 2005, as recounted by late Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Sacks wrote about the Queen's attendance where she met with Holocaust survivors, and while protocol and scheduling normally kept the Queen to a very tight schedule, with the Queen usually being ushered away promptly by her staff at the end of her appearance, on this occasion Queen Elizabeth refused to leave. She remained, speaking individually to members of the large group who had gathered. One of her attendants told Rabbi Sacks that they had never seen her stay so long after a scheduled departure. Let me quote Rabbi Sacks:
She gave each survivor—it was a large group—her focused, unhurried attention. She stood with each until they had finished telling their personal story. It was an act of kindness that almost had me in tears. One after another, the survivors came to me in a kind of trance, saying: “Sixty years ago I did not know if I would be alive tomorrow, and here I am today talking to the queen.” It brought a kind of blessed closure into deeply lacerated lives.
My second story, more brief, demonstrates the Queen's compassion. It has been told by Catherine Clark, who was stuck, as a 10-year-old, at a reception of a Commonwealth heads of government meeting. When she said she wanted to leave, she was told that no one could leave before the Queen, so she waited by the door. A short time later, the Queen came by and asked why she was still at the reception after all this time. Catherine told the Queen that she was waiting for her to leave first, to which the Queen responded, “Well, let’s go then, shall we?” Then she took her hand and off they went.
There are so many more stories of this kind, stories of her kindness and genuine interest in the ordinary people she served. She has touched so many individuals and families. Even in my own family, my uncle, John Garrison, now in his eighties, still likes to recount the story of serving as part of an honour guard when Queen Elizabeth placed a wreath at the Canadian cross on a visit to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington in 1957. He recalls standing along the red carpet when she passed, close enough to reach out and touch her, although he says with a glint in his eye, “Even at a young age I understood that things wouldn't go well for me if I actually did that.”
My own experiences with the Queen were always at a greater distance, including being on the streets of Ottawa in 1983 when the Queen came to preside over the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution and in 1994 when she came to the Commonwealth Games in Victoria. On those occasions, I saw the genuine affection for the Queen first-hand.
My closest personal connection to Queen Elizabeth came at the time of her Diamond Jubilee. One way the Queen chose to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee was by awarding medals for community service, which is so fitting for a monarch whose whole life was one of exemplary service. It was a great honour as a member of Parliament to award those medals in my riding on her behalf, and it meant so much to the recipients.
Queen Elizabeth's love for Canada was shown by her many visits: 22 as a sovereign in total, I am told, including seven visits to British Columbia, with stops on Vancouver Island each time. Some stops in my riding are well documented, including her visits to review cadets at what was then the Royal Roads Military College in 1951 and 1983, showcasing the close connection the royal family has always had with the Canadian Forces.
As well in 1983, the Queen unveiled a plaque at Craigflower school in my riding to commemorate it as the oldest school building still standing in western Canada.
Of course, some of her visits had greater significance, including the 1971 visit marking the 100th anniversary of British Columbia joining Confederation, the 1994 opening of the Commonwealth Games, and probably the most Canadian thing Her Majesty ever did, which was to drop the puck at a National Hockey League exhibition game between the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks in 2002.
What stands out to me in all those visits was the obvious care and attention shown to all those the Queen and other members of the royal family met. This care and attention given to all kinds of Canadians has set a powerful message of belonging and inclusion. In doing so, the Queen set a precedent that will long survive her, a precedent I have recently seen Prince William and Prince Harry follow in carrying on the legacy of Princess Diana in embracing the 2SLGBTQI+ community.
As my time draws to a close, let me extend my personal condolences, along with those of my constituents, to the royal family in this time of great personal loss, of a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother.
Let me also say that I, like many, find it hard to imagine a Canada and indeed a world without the Queen. However, in our political tradition, where precedent plays such a great role, I am confident the Queen has left us with clear guidance on how to preserve a democratic government and how to promote unity and inclusion. She has given us a powerful example of a life of service, one lived with enormous dignity and grace.
Farewell, Queen Elizabeth II. May she rest in peace.
Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose passing is mourned by citizens of Canada, the Commonwealth and the realms, as well as millions of people around the world. Her Majesty the Queen visited my community of Cambridge twice, once in the summer of 1959 and again as part of an extended tour of Ontario in 1973, where she presented a pin at Riverside Park to the then mayor of Cambridge, Claudette Millar.
As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, I would also like to address the special relationship Her Majesty the Queen had with the Canadian Armed Forces in her role as commander-in-chief. Even before ascending the throne, Her Majesty enjoyed a special relationship with Canada's military. In 1947, then Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth was appointed colonel-in-chief of the 48th Highlanders of Canada and Le Régiment de la Chaudière. Once she became Queen of Canada, that relationship deepened through her role as Canadian Armed Forces commander-in-chief. Over and above this role, Her Majesty was also made captain general, colonel-in-chief and air commodore-in-chief of 16 Canadian military units and branches.
During 22 official tours of Canada and during ceremonies abroad, the Queen honoured our military by visiting bases, visiting Royal Canadian Navy ships, presiding over military ceremonies, laying wreaths at commemorative sites, presenting military colours, inspecting troops, meeting with veterans and attending commemorative ceremonies, including the rededication of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in 2007 and the Royal Canadian Navy centenary in Halifax in 2010.
The Queen had a personal knowledge of military life, having been the first woman in her family to serve in the army full time, as a truck driver and a mechanic. She had a deep affection and respect for our military, which was clear from her interactions with them. Just months ago, during an inspection of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, which was serving as the Queen's Guard at Windsor Castle, Her Majesty good-naturedly teased an officer about his age. With the wit and sense of humour many have talked about today, when the officer told Her Majesty that he had served in the military for over 27 years, she leaned in close to the array of medals on his uniform and smiled and said, “Yes, it looks that way”, bringing a moment of levity to a typically serious ceremony.
Just over a year ago, as colonel-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces legal branch, Her Majesty presented a royal banner to the branch to commemorate its 100th anniversary. Royal symbolism and royal traditions are key to the activities of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Under the National Defence Act, the rules and regulations that governed our military during her reign were called the “Queen's Regulations and Orders” and they affected every aspect of life in uniform. Every member of the Canadian Armed Forces has sworn an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen since her accession to the throne. Military officers receive the Queen's commission from which they derive their authority to command and issue orders. Canada's navy and air force both bear the distinction “royal”, and many Canadian army corps and regiments are designated “royal” as well. Many military badges, medals and insignia that adorn uniforms, flags, equipment and signs also bear the symbol of the Crown. These are only a few examples, but the list does go on and on.
The death of Her Majesty the Queen marks the end of an era. However, members of the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to personify the ideals that she represented. In the days to come, in Canada and the United Kingdom, hundreds of members of the Canadian Armed Forces will take part in parades and commemorative ceremonies to pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen and her remarkable life, and they will represent Canada and Canadians while they do so.
Through her reign, Her Majesty the Queen represented the ideals held by our people in uniform: duty, compassion and service before self. On behalf of the , the members of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the members of the royal family.
We shall miss Her Majesty the Queen dearly and may her life be an example for us all.
Madam Speaker, I rise today with a heavy heart to pay tribute to the icon we lost a week ago, the only Canadian head of state most of us have ever known and a magnificent woman that many of us have had the honour to meet or see in person over the past 70 years.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was so much more than just a figurehead, so much more than just our head of state. She represented an institution that has played an integral role in the development and creation of Canada, an institution whose ties to our nation bind more tightly than any other. She manifested and personified the Crown.
Today, we have heard and will continue to hear many moving speeches about what Her Majesty meant and continues to mean to us here in this place and to our constituents across this great land. The Crown, Her Majesty, is many things to many people, but I do believe it has a unique link to Hastings—Lennox and Addington. I represent two counties that were founded by United Empire Loyalists, people who lost everything south of the current border when they sided with the King during the American Revolution. The Queen was special to them and she came back multiple times to return that respect.
The King had promised United Empire Loyalists and their descendants religious freedom when they came to the colonies and delivered on that promise over many decades, keeping the colonies safe from the religious conflicts of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. The King had made promises to the indigenous peoples around the Great Lakes and delivered on those as well, reiterated in the Proclamation of 1763, so Mohawk, Iroquois and others supported the King in the revolutionary cataclysm. The integral role that many of our indigenous neighbours played in the creation of Canada and, in particular, to building the communities in Loyalist Township is, unfortunately, too often forgotten, but nonetheless it cannot be overstated. To them, I say meegwetch.
It was these peoples, drawn originally from more than two dozen countries and religious backgrounds, and on the surface having only heavily accented English in common, that made up the 10,000 Loyalists, for example, who founded what became Ontario, carved out of the western flank of the colony of Quebec. Like modern-day refugees, they came from established lives and towns and villages in what is now called New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as from other revolting colonies, to start all over again here.
The King's surveyors were sent here in September 1783 to establish the boundaries on land grants to the Loyalists, and those boundaries continue today, many reflecting the roads we travel across Ontario, the layout of our streets and towns, the connecting byways and the locations of town squares and great public buildings. In Hastings, the first boatloads of Loyalists were Mohawk, who travelled from Fort Hunter in the Mohawk Valley in New York state. They landed in May of 1784, and they proudly have a royal chapel where they honour that arrival and the Crown they supported then and now. I had the great privilege of attending the ceremony honouring this landing earlier this year with Chief Don Maracle of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.
The townships created in Hastings—Lennox and Addington were given names to honour their King. In Lennox and Addington, which every person here today has either driven through, passed over via train or been able to see from the air, whether they realize it or not, the townships along Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte were named for the children of King George III. Adolphustown, for example, was where the first non-Mohawk landed in June of 1784 and why Ontario proclaimed June 19 United Empire Loyalists' Day.
The road built from Kingston to Toronto knitted together the smaller roads built from the period of 1798 to 1801. It passes through Adolphustown, Fredericksburg and Ernesttown, which are three more of the townships named for the children of King George. Municipal reorganization and consolidation in the 1990s placed the first two in Greater Napanee and Ernesttown became Loyalist Township. It proudly contains Bath, Odessa and Amherstview.
It was to Amherstview, where Gord Downie grew up, where Queen Elizabeth came in September 1984 to proudly cut the ribbon of the Loyalist Parkway. This was the new name for the old roadway that had been known by different names along the route: Kingston Road, Bath Road, Toronto Road and Danforth Road, among others.
In Lennox and Addington, it was officially called the Loyalist Parkway. When one passes through the ceremonial gates at Amherstview along Highway 33, one travels over the exact spot where the Queen stood 38 years ago to thank the ancestors, the Loyalists, before those gathered that day, for the loyalty they showed to King George III and their critical role in creating Canada.
We all know what our beloved Queen has meant to every Canadian, but in my riding hearts are beating differently today as we remember and recall what she and the monarchy have meant and continue to mean to us. It is not just in the foundation and populating of our area, her ribbon cutting and kind words in Amherstview, her 1973 whistle stop at Napanee or when her yacht Britannia carried her in our waters by Amherst Island, where the Royal George escaped an American attack in the War of 1812. It is not just the local visits to next door Kingston in 1959, 1973 or in 1976, when she to opened the sailing Olympics, an event which my constituents and their parents attended in vast numbers.
No, the Queen was greater than all of that. She was an icon of service and steadfastness in the face of adversity, the one to whom we all pledged allegiance and the one who we could all imagine sharing tea with. God bless her memory and our memories of Queen Elizabeth II as we honour the second Elizabethan era.
Long live the King.
Madam Speaker, it is always a privilege to be able to stand in the House. I stand here before my colleagues with mixed emotions. I am both happy to to return and see colleagues on both the government and opposition benches, who I have not had the chance to see since June, but I am deeply saddened by the events that recently took place in Saskatchewan in James Smith Cree Nation, as well as what we are here today to discuss, which is the passing of our Queen, Queen Elizabeth II.
To the families who lost loved ones in Saskatchewan, we are all thinking of them and stand with them.
I would like to send my condolences to only the royal family, but indeed also to those around the world who are mourning her passing. She was a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother, but she was also our Queen and the head of state for millions around the world.
During my time today, I would like to highlight some of the incredible contributions that the Queen made to public life during her 70‑year reign. I also want to talk about the importance of the Crown and Canada's relationship with the United Kingdom as a constitutional monarchy.
It goes without saying that the Queen was a dedicated public servant, and I think all of us in the House, indeed all Canadians, have probably had an opportunity to reflect on her time serving as our head of state. We recently had a national caucus in New Brunswick and there were reflections of how best to be able to move forward in her passing.
Literally 36 hours before her death, she was performing her constitutional obligations. She was performing her public service by welcoming the United Kingdom's new prime minister to form government in her name. That, at its core, is a reflection of how seriously she took her job as the sovereign of not only the United Kingdom but also the realms of the Commonwealth for which she served as the head of state. It is significant.
As has been mentioned in various speeches today, in her first address to the Commonwealth, she dedicated her life to public service. It is important to recognize that during the Second World War, Princess Elizabeth served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women's branch of the British Army, where she trained as a mechanic.
I want to take a moment to talk about Her Majesty's relationship with Canada. As has been referenced, Canada was the most visited country outside of the United Kingdom in the Commonwealth that the Queen visited. She visited Nova Scotia on five separate occasions.
I am wearing a MacLachlan tie. I have deep Scottish roots and a connection to the United Kingdom. I think about the fact that the Queen loved visiting Balmoral Castle, loved her time in Scotland, specifically as part of the Highland Games and certainly, on reflection upon her visits to Nova Scotia, particularly enjoyed our province because of those deep Scottish roots that our province shares with the mother country.
In some ways, the Queen reminded me of my grandmother. I say this in the best of terms possible. They are relatively the same age. My grandmother is now 93, born just three years after the Queen. I think we could all have an appreciation, depending on one's age I suppose, of how the Queen almost served as a grandmother to all of us, particularly those who have come of age. She was someone we might not have known, but we felt like we knew because of her presence over such a long time in Canadian history.
She spent 70 years as our head of state, which is just shy of half of the entire existence of this country. It is quite significant. I saw a statistic the other day that 9 out of 10 people living in the world right now have only ever known Queen Elizabeth as the head of state, at least in the country of Canada, and indeed only one out of 10 were born prior to her serving in her capacities.
A number of reflections have come out since Her Majesty's passing. One video that I found on social media was particularly funny. I think it probably reflects the type of person that she was.
There is a police officer who had been a part of her guard, and the video is only about a minute and a half, but the police officer goes on to explain that, during one of their walks in Scotland while he was accompanying her, there were two American tourists who ran into them along the road. It became very apparent that the tourists did not know that this was Queen Elizabeth. Without going into great detail, I would encourage colleagues to actually find the video on Twitter.
The Queen played along and said that she had not met the Queen but that her police officer had. The police officer jumped in and says, “Well, yes, I have met her. She can be cantankerous at times, but she has a great personality.” Those two American tourists, according to this story, walked away not even knowing that they had just met the head of state of Canada and of all her realm. I think the Queen's good-natured spirit is reflected in that story. I would encourage colleagues to go find it.
Of course, today our primary focus is sending our condolences, recognizing the public service of Queen Elizabeth and celebrating the ascension of King Charles III. There will undoubtedly be conversations about Canada's constitutional nature. I just want to take the opportunity in the time I have left to highlight that I am unequivocal in my belief that the Crown and the relationship that Canada shares with the United Kingdom through the constitutional monarchy is something that needs to continue. I hope to go into just a little bit of detail as to why I feel that way.
Canada's relationship with the Crown is fundamental to the development of our country. The member for went into great detail about the history of her particular riding and the relationship with loyalists that founded the area. Nova Scotia is no different. When we look at Hants County, the relationships between the Acadians and the Loyalists who came to Nova Scotia, along with those who had Scottish roots, as I mentioned previously, were all really important relationships, along with those with indigenous people, that really helped the founding our country.
This Parliament we stand in, our Westminster tradition, was founded and borrowed from our mother country in the United Kingdom. I would be remiss if I did not mention that Nova Scotia was the first colony, the first government, outside of the United Kingdom to actually form a responsible government in 1848. These are all conventions and customs that we have inherited and that evolved in Canada. They have been built off of our tradition and our relationship with the Crown and the British monarchy.
As it has been mentioned previously, our relationship with indigenous people has not always been perfect. It has indeed been rocky. Perhaps this speaks to my naivete, but in conversation with indigenous constituents, I have been surprised at the deep connection that indigenous communities in Kings—Hants share with the Crown, particularly when talking about treaties that predate the founding of Canada. Those were signed directly with the British Crown. I am thinking about the friendship treaties of the 1700s, particularly of 1763. Those were formed, and then, of course, enshrined in our Constitution in 1982.
I thought the member for did a particularly strong job of talking about how sometimes there has been tension about how the Crown's relationship in Canada has been forged both in English and French, which shows our diversity in linguistic and cultural elements.
I have just two more points before I finish. On our international outlook and cooperation, I recognize that we do not need to be a constitutional monarchy to share our relationship with the Commonwealth. Those foundational partnerships that the United Kingdom has formed around the world gives us an international community that we can work with and rely on. In today's world, where there is a whole host of uncertainty, those partnerships and international shared experiences are extremely important for our diplomatic work in the global forum.
It is often quoted that democracy is not necessarily the best form of government but that it is the best of all the other alternatives.
When we examine our own form of government as a constitutional monarchy, we see that yes, there are other forms, but I think that those forms, whether a republic or another style of government, come with a whole host of questions. When we look at the transition between Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III and the way in which that has been built over time, we see the certainty that it provides. Indeed, members have talked about our ability as parliamentarians to be focused on the partisan nature of politics, to be able to debate vigorously here in the House, but always to be doing it in the service of the Crown and the country, and that, I think, provides important stability.
I wanted to make sure that my thoughts were on the record and in Hansard.
Certainly, on behalf of the constituents of Kings—Hants, we welcome King Charles III as our new monarch in Canada. I think certainly it has been “God save the King” or “Long live the King”. I do not know exactly whether there is a convention that is different, but we certainly welcome his accession and his role as our head of state in this country.
Madam Speaker, I am honoured today to be able to rise and join with all my parliamentary colleagues in paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth. On behalf of the constituents of Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, I want to offer all of our heartfelt condolences to the royal family and to all of the Queen's loyal subjects.
A lot of us have been talking about how the monarchy touches our ridings. I can tell members, being the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, that we are home to Lower Fort Garry, which was the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company in Canada, and the residence of the governor for the Hudson's Bay Company is located a bit south of the modern-day City of Selkirk.
The fort is in great condition, and every year we gather at the fort to commemorate the signing of Treaty No. 1 with the Anishinabe and the Ojibwa people, the first peoples of the land, who signed in 1871 with Canada, as Manitoba was a new province in 1870 and had just joined Confederation. The first numbered treaty in western Canada was signed.
From reading some history on Chief Peguis, Peguis First Nation, Sagkeeng First Nation and Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, which are in or alongside my riding, I know that Chief Peguis, who was one of the original signatories, always took it to heart that when he signed the treaty, he was signing with the Crown, Queen Victoria. All his sons took the name “prince” because he saw himself as an equal signing a treaty with the monarchy. That is something that still resonates to this day with our first nations.
Queen Elizabeth, when she ascended to the throne on June 2, 1953, at the young age of 25, upon the death of her father, King George VI, promised to serve the people of the country of Canada, of the kingdom, for her whole life, whether it be long or short. I can tell members that she did that with grace and dignity, with humility, with a heart of service, and through her entire career of 70 years she set an example, a standard, for all of us in public service.
When she passed away on September 8, I know all of us were shocked and saddened by her passing. We will never see anything like Queen Elizabeth again. For most of us, she is the only head of state that we have known. I am 57 years old, and all I have ever known is God save the Queen. Now we have to learn the new words: God save the King. We are going to have to change all the nomenclature that we have in our institutions. It is now the Court of King's Bench instead of the Court of Queen's Bench, and people are King's Counsel now and not Queen's Counsel. All the acronyms are going to change.
We have talked about her service, and as the former shadow minister of national defence and former parliamentary secretary for national defence, I have always been incredibly impressed with her bravery and service during World War II in the army as a mechanic and as a truck driver. It was something that she was still doing until just prior to her death. She loved to be out on the land. She loved to be on the farm and she loved to be with her horses and dogs, and she loved driving her Jeep.
The former prime minister, the Right Honourable Boris Johnson, said in his tribute in the Westminster Parliament a few days ago that when he went to meet the Queen in Balmoral Castle while going through the transition of a new government forming in Britain, she actually took him for a drive. She jumped in the Jeep and she drove the truck. She was driving it. It was a standard, a shift stick, and she was hitting every gear and moving the clutch. Who would have thought that just a couple of days after that she would pass away so quickly?
We are honoured that we got to call her our head of state. We are always in awe of everything that she accomplished in her lifetime. She commanded respect around the world because she always put service and dedication to others above self.
King Charles III has renewed his mother's promise to serve as long as he lives. I know that all of us as Canadians from coast to coast to coast join in this grief along with the royal family.
We often talk about the 22 times that the Queen came to Canada, and a number of times those visits by the Queen, as well as Prince Philip, had an impact on my family. When my two older brothers were teenagers in the good old 4-H program, a youth program focused around those of us in the agriculture sector, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were at the first international livestock judging competition. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip went to the Agribition in Regina in 1977, and the 4-H people got to have supper with Prince Philip. It was a big thing at our supper tables as to how to properly eat. Which order do the forks go in? What do we do with our buns? There were all these discussions about protocol when it came to dining with a member of the royal family.
On six of the 22 times that Queen Elizabeth came to Canada, she came to Manitoba. During her Golden Jubilee in 2002, on the steps of the Manitoba legislature, a young girl presented flowers to her. It was my niece Holly. It is something our family is incredibly proud of. She got to meet Her Majesty and present the flowers. October 8, 2002, will always be marked in her memory and our family's memory.
The Queen returned to Manitoba in July 2010 to unveil the cornerstone of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the first Canadian museum to be established outside of the capital region. She brought with her the cornerstone that came from the same region of England where the Magna Carta was signed in 1215. She was dedicated to human rights. If we look at her career and the work that she did all over the world, we see that often it was focused on protecting human rights. She made sure to point out, when she was unveiling that rock, that the Magna Carta is where our modern parliamentary democracy was established, where civil liberties came into play, and where we, as commoners, finally had a franchise in our own governance. That was something she wanted to make sure was focused and centred in our own Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
As Canada and the world mourns our beloved sovereign, we also look to the future. I had the pleasure to meet her son, King Charles III, who now sits as King of Canada, a number of years ago, in March of 2006, during Commonwealth Day celebrations in London. I was there with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association's Westminster Seminar. We attended and got to meet King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla. I can tell everyone it was something I will never forget. He was incredibly engaging and very easy to speak to.
May King Charles be blessed with wisdom and exercise justice and mercy, and may he live long. May Queen Elizabeth II rest in peace. God save the Queen and God bless Canada.
Madam Speaker, at Her Majesty's coronation on June 2, 1953, the following sublimely optimistic, traditional formula was repeated: “God bless Queen Elizabeth. God save Queen Elizabeth. May the Queen live forever.”
So long was our late Queen on the throne that it felt almost as if her reign really never would end, and it seemed possible to hope that the Queen really could live forever. She became so intimately woven into our memories that it felt to many people around the world as if she were a member of our own families. I think this happened not just because of the length of her reign, but also because she celebrated with us at every important event in our nation's life and mourned with her subjects at so many collective tragedies.
Her reign started long before most of us were born. When, as a teenager, I first saw her in person at the 1982 event here on Parliament Hill where she affixed her signature to Canada's new Constitution Act, which includes the Charter of Rights, she had already celebrated her Silver Jubilee for 25 years on the throne. From my youthful perspective, she was already an eternal presence.
This same perspective is very much the same for anybody who was less than kindergarten age when the Queen ascended to the throne, which means, demographically, over 90% of the Canadian population and an even higher percentage in some other Commonwealth jurisdictions. There simply is no time in our memories when Queen Elizabeth was not there. She was even woven into pop culture, referred to in songs by the Beatles and Dire Straits among many others. It was in this way that she came to feel like a member of the family to so many people who had never actually met her.
A year ago, when my own mother was in her final days, she kept a framed photo of the Queen at her bedside, just as we learned from the Beatles' song Penny Lane that in the pocket of the fireman was a portrait of the Queen. Her presence, even if it was only in our imaginations, was a comfort. Does it make sense to act as if someone we have only ever seen from a distance is a member of our own family? I do not know. Nothing about human emotions seems logical when we try to examine them logically as opposed to emotionally. However, whether we humans are rational or not, her loss feels to so many of us like the personal blow it is to those who really did know her first-hand.
Of course this circle includes our new King, His Majesty King Charles III. Like his mother before him, and a long line of ancestors before that, he faces the difficult task of assuming the duties that will occupy him for the rest of his life at a moment of great personal loss, and must step into his constitutional role precisely when the rest of us would be in a position to take bereavement leave. There is no reason to envy our monarchs for the terrible burdens they must bear. Under our system, a monarch wears the crown for life and death alone can free them of their duties. As difficult as it is for those who must bear the heavy burden of the crown, it is one aspect of the genius of monarchy that the throne is never vacant and that Charles reigned from the moment the late Queen passed from this life into the arms of her own sovereign.
In his first address as our King, His Majesty made the following observation about his late mother. He stated, “In 1947, on her 21st birthday, she pledged in a broadcast from Cape Town to the Commonwealth to devote her life, whether it be short or long, to the service of her peoples.”
His Majesty went on in his speech to make some very apt remarks on the Queen's unparalleled commitment to this extraordinary long-ago promise. Then he added this: “As the Queen herself did with such unswerving devotion, I too now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the Constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.”
Even though, when viewed from the perspective of 1947, the day when she would assume the throne must have seemed to be far away for Princess Elizabeth, it was no small matter to make such a promise on the very day that she achieved the age of majority. It seems to me, and I think to anybody who stops to reflect for a moment, that it is no less extraordinary for a man of 73, to whom the burdens of age are no secret, to make a similar lifetime commitment. The fact that our new King was willing to so firmly embrace this burden, from which he will never be free, and to deny himself for the rest of his life the pleasures of retirement that are enjoyed, for example, by the former monarchs of Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain, is a sign that his commitment to duty is as firm as was Queen Elizabeth's, and for that matter as firm as that of his grandfather King George VI, who was such a courageous and steadfast leader during the darkest days of the Second World War.
I think King Charles will be a good king. The King has already demonstrated himself, more than any preceding Prince of Wales, to be a conscientious servant of all his peoples throughout the Commonwealth. He is intelligent. He is hard-working. His wife and consort, Her Majesty Queen Camilla, is an ideal partner. Of course, he has had an entire lifetime to learn from the best possible role model.
The King is a man of no small accomplishment. He is an author. He is a skilled watercolourist. I was once given a book of his landscape paintings as a Christmas present. He is a businessman as well, establishing the successful brand of high-quality organic products known as Duchy Originals. The profits from these sales, by the way, are donated to the Prince's Charities, which the King built into a formidable network of charitable giving during his long tenure as the Prince of Wales. I assume that at his coronation, which will take place sometime in 2023, the formula will be repeated: “God bless King Charles. God save King Charles. May the King live forever.”
Given the longevity of both his parents and of his grandmother, the much-loved Queen Mum, who passed away only after her 100th birthday, there is every reason to hope that his reign too, by modern or historical standards, will be a long one, if not as long as the extraordinary example set by his mother.
However, like all reigns, it starts in sorrow. The Queen is dead and there will be a permanent hollow place in millions of hearts across the planet, as there always is when someone loved is taken from us.
God bless our departed Queen. I hope she knew how much she was loved by all those people she was never able to meet in her lifetime.
Madam Speaker, I do not wish to thank my colleague who just spoke because he had me in tears before I even began my speech.
I would like to begin by extending my deepest condolences to His Majesty King Charles III and the entire royal family, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex and all of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This is a very deep loss for the family, a tragedy that affects them all, and they are top of mind as I speak today.
Much of what was said by my colleague from reflects my own thoughts. He put into words many of my feelings about Her Majesty and her long, successful life, which she so incredibly dedicated to the service of others. Her Majesty was very generous with her time, her talents and, most importantly, her humanity. What I will remember most about Her Majesty is the humanity she always showed.
She was a woman who inspired others through her actions. She did not make many speeches and, as we know, she never gave interviews. She inspired others with her actions, which spoke for themselves.
First, in 1952, she took on a huge responsibility following the tragic loss of her father. Young as she was, she assumed this role with great resolve. Sir Winston Churchill was her first prime minister, and he clearly helped her learn about her role and responsibilities. Over the years, she was able to assert her view of the role and the duties she had to fulfill. In that regard, she was an amazing role model for women who were beginning to come into their own in the post-war years and take their place in society in the hope of coming ever closer to gender equality.
My whole life, I was inspired by everything Her Majesty was able to convey through actions rather than words. She was a woman who knew how to use symbolism in a very subtle but eloquent way. I admire her deeply.
I especially admire her for her visit to Ireland in 2011. It was the first time a British monarch had visited the Republic of Ireland since independence. The strained relationship between the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom is common knowledge, but it was important to the Queen that the visit be carried out in a spirit of reconciliation between Catholics and Protestants in order to achieve peace at last and reconcile the entire island of Ireland.
I have heard the speeches that have been made both in Ireland and Northern Ireland since Her Majesty's passing, and I am extremely moved to see the extraordinary impact her visit had on relations between the north, the south and the republic. It was courageous of Her Majesty to take that trip and say a few words in Gaelic. That was the olive branch the Irish had been waiting for for so long.
On a lighter note, I want to mention one event that was particularly important during her reign as Queen of Canada. That was the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which occurred in April 1959 in the town of Saint-Lambert, in the riding I represent.
The St. Lawrence Seaway was key to Canada's development, and Her Majesty's presence at its inauguration was a testament to its importance. My constituents treasure the happy memory of that visit.
As an animal lover myself, I want to speak to Her Majesty's affection for her dogs, her corgis, and for horses. Everyone knew how much she loved animals and what great joy they brought her. Her relationship with her dogs was particularly delightful to see.
People saw she was most relaxed when she had the dogs around her or when she was around horses. I absolutely think we should not forget those lighter sides of Her Majesty because they helped her be the human Queen we so loved. We will remember that for a very long time.
The principle of constitutional monarchy has always resonated with me. Our Queen strengthened that significantly.
For the past 44 years, I have had the good fortune to live in Canada and, for all those years, I have had the good fortune to have Queen Elizabeth II as my sovereign. I was not born a Canadian, but I became one and swore my allegiance to the Queen. I now swear my allegiance to His Majesty King Charles III, who became King of Canada on September 8. Our King is exceptionally well prepared for the role he will take on in the coming years.
I would echo the previous speaker in saying that we wish him a very long reign informed by all the experience he has acquired over the years, particularly in two areas in which Canada is working very hard: the climate emergency and reconciliation with indigenous peoples. I think His Majesty has a very good understanding of the policies Canada wants to implement in those two areas. I wish to reiterate my allegiance to him as he begins his reign.
I want to conclude with some words I shared when we celebrated the Platinum Jubilee this past February. Over the course of her 70 years as Queen, she remained steadfast in her reign over a society that is constantly evolving, which I think is quite notable.
Her Majesty honoured her engagement to a life of service like few others. My admiration for her, her steadfastness, as well as her capacity to meet the times is boundless.
May Her Majesty rest in peace. Long live the King.
Madam Speaker, I am honoured to pay tribute, on behalf of my constituents, to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, who passed away after 70 years of devoted service to the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and certainly to Canada.
Her death has been a devastating heartbreak for millions of people around the world. Very poetically, on the day she died, I noticed on social media many photos of a double rainbow that appeared that very day right above Buckingham Palace. Much of the popular commentary is that perhaps it was a message from God that our Queen had been reunited with her Prince Philip, her husband of over 70 years, whom she called her “strength and stay”. That was just a lovely thing to happen on that otherwise very devastating day for many people.
As many people have seen, there was a magical sense about the Queen. Peter Mansbridge recently said on his podcast that the monarch, the Queen, was “this kind of magic mix of fairytale and history”. I thought that was put very nicely.
For our family, the Queen was part of our cultural heritage and the discussions we would have. There was certainly an admiration and appreciation for Her Majesty. My maternal grandmother mentioned that she used to cut out photos of the Queen in her younger years, to see the outfit she was wearing, what she was saying, how she was acting and what she was doing. It is almost the equivalent to modern-day's Pinterest. There are likely many of us who have pinned an outfit or two of the younger royals. My grandmother was doing the very same thing 70 years ago out of admiration for Her Majesty.
My paternal grandmother, who greatly admired the Queen, would always affectionately tease us to show her love. If we were dressed up for church or for a family gathering, she would say, “Oh, is Queen Elizabeth coming?” It was her way of giving us the highest possible compliment that we looked very lovely.
My mother, like many women her age, greatly admired Princess Diana. For my generation, of course, there are many new younger royals, notably the Princess of Wales, Catherine Windsor, who really sets a standard of decorum and professionalism and respectability whom those before her have done for well over 70 years.
Beyond a distant admiration, it was not something that was necessarily a cornerstone of my professional life or personal life until I swore an oath of allegiance to the Queen, which all members of Parliament have to do in order to become members of Parliament. Really, when I said those words, “I, Raquel Dancho, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II”, the enormity of the responsibility I was assuming hit me like a waterfall. That is where the clock really started to turn and I thought about what this really meant. What is my duty that I am swearing an oath to uphold? Certainly, I look to the Queen as an example. She was certainly the living embodiment of our ancient institutions, our symbols, our parliamentary traditions, our culture, our history, and again, our Canadian and Commonwealth values.
I saw, in swearing my oath, that I was swearing to uphold those traditions and those values. Certainly, it is not always easy. The Queen made it look very easy. She did it for 70 years and, certainly, led by example.
Members of Parliament, of course, have our own duties to uphold those values and traditions.
Queen Elizabeth II was like no other historical figure. Her impact will be felt for many lifetimes to come. It will likely never be repeated, what she was able to accomplish.
She was born in 1926 as part of the world's greatest generation that was defined and shaped by the hardships of the Great Depression and the world wars. She personified the moral standards of the western world and Judeo-Christian values.
When I found out that she had died, I felt a deep sense of sorrow but also a feeling of some frustration, an anxious feeling. It was as though the standard bearer of those values was now lost, and our ability to uphold those values in society was slipping away, the ability for us to prosper and to thrive, which depends on those values, right along with it.
We know that the Queen stood for dignity, for hard work, for doing one's duty, for embracing public service. She never complained, no matter the struggles of the day, whether they were public struggles or ones in her personal life. She always kept a stiff upper lip, as the British say, and maintained her calm composure with grace. She was resilient and strong. She never played the victim. She never exhibited narcissism in any way. She was dedicated, stately, honest, decent and was an absolute lady of decorum, good taste and propriety, rarely, if ever, having a misstep in her seven decades of her reign. It is truly remarkable.
I think that is why millions of us are going to miss her. We need examples like this for ourselves, for our children, for our politicians and for our communities.
In 1947 on her 21st birthday, famously she did a radio broadcast heard around the world where she made a vow. She said, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service,” and she stuck to that vow for the rest of her life. I think it is pretty difficult for anyone to imagine making a promise at 21 and living up to it with such perfection for 70 years.
She always had poignant words of wisdom for all of us. I really loved her Christmas speeches, and I am really going to miss those.
In 2008 she said, “When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.” Then, during the early days of the pandemic, she shared with all of us, “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again,” and she was absolutely right.
She was always calm and composed, no matter what was going on in the world. She was really a port in the storm, so to speak. She was truly an extraordinary role model for her people, for members of Parliament and certainly for women. At the tender age of 25, she became Queen with the world watching. Many underestimated her abilities. Many thought a young woman would never be capable of the enormous responsibility of carrying over a thousand years of constitutional tradition and evolution that makes up our system of government, but she did and she became one of the greatest world leaders we have ever seen.
Although she was a servant of tradition, she was also a modern woman in her own right. During World War II, as princess, she volunteered as a truck driver and a mechanic, making her the first female member of the royal family to serve in the military. Her coronation was a significant moment for women in history. Women at that time rarely saw women in positions of power. After years of war, women at that time were being encouraged to go back home and be dutiful wives and mothers, but the Queen was expected to know world issues and to be able to converse with and advise the mostly male leadership at the time. She was expected to travel despite having young children. She was a working mother before it was fashionable.
For 70 years, it has been her face we have seen in the halls of power, something women have rarely seen. As was written in a recent Globe and Mail story:
She was also the rare woman who grew old while holding public power. The Queen, after all, could not be fired for having children or going grey. Instead, in official portraits her countenance was updated to mark her advancing years and accruing experience. She aged into her leadership example of being unflappable and resolute....
I found a few very poignant quotes for us to remember as we go into this new parliamentary session. In her 1957 and 1974 Christmas broadcasts respectively, she said, “It has always been easy to hate and destroy. To build and to cherish is much more difficult,” and, “We may hold different points of view but it is in times of stress and difficulty that we most need to remember that we have much more in common than there is dividing us.”
On this very solemn occasion, I want to conclude on a happier note. Something that has comforted us in the recent days is that she certainly has been reunited with Prince Philip, her husband of 70-plus years. He was her strength and stay, and I think that she was ours.
We will miss her. I will certainly miss her.
God save the Queen.
Madam Speaker, like my colleagues in the House, it is with an extremely heavy heart that I rise today to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen, Queen Elizabeth II.
When the news broke of Her Majesty's passing, I was in the middle of a five-hour drive to meet Atlantic colleagues, and I spent the remainder of the drive reflecting on the role Queen Elizabeth II played in our country, the Commonwealth and, in fact, the world.
What we have heard today is so true. She was a constant. She was a beacon of peace for many of us. During times of uncertainty and indeed fear, there was a calmness she brought to remind us of the importance of humility, service, dignity and togetherness.
Having ruled longer than any other monarch in Canada's history, Her Majesty linked Canadians with more than two billion people worldwide, symbolizing collaboration and celebrating diversity.
In her visits to Canada, Her Majesty visited my home, Cape Breton Island, on three separate occasions: in 1951, 1959 and 1994. During these royal visits to Cape Breton, the Queen left a lasting impression on all residents. I would like to read into the record some of the memories folks from Cape Breton have of Her Majesty, as published by David Jala in the Cape Breton Post following the Queen's passing.
Former lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, Mayann Francis, who is originally from Cape Breton, remembers Her Majesty as “someone who was quite open and accepting of diversity, of differences in colour, differences in gender.”
Manning MacDonald, former mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, or CBRM, hosted the Queen and Prince Philip during the Queen's last visit to Cape Breton in 1994. Mr. MacDonald recalled her to be a great conversationalist. He stated, “When you were talking with her it was as if she was talking to you alone. She was very easy to speak with. She made me very comfortable.”
It is memories like these that will continue to live on for years to come and will remind us of Her Majesty's reign and presence in our country as we move forward in this next chapter of Canada's history.
Despite her passing, I have no doubt that Canadians will continue to remember Her Majesty for her warmth, compassion, strong sense of tradition and service to Canada.
On behalf of my constituents of Cape Breton-Canso, I offer our most sincere condolences to the royal family during this difficult time.
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to join in on this solemn and sombre occasion. It is an interesting way for all of us to gather here after a summer break, to gather in a non-partisan way to recognize and honour an individual who is worth honouring. In our world that is an increasingly rare and difficult thing.
We look back over what is, for many of us, an unimaginable length of time, 70 years being on the throne. It is an honour as a farmer from a small town in Alberta to be able to stand on behalf of the people I represent to honour someone who was so personally known, who we may not have had a personal relationship with but who was so very personally known.
I took some time over the last week to watch some of the speeches that were made in our mother Parliament, in London, at the Palace of Westminster, hearing reflections of current and past prime ministers, individuals from across the United Kingdom talking about their experiences. Likewise today, and across the Commonwealth, individuals are taking the time to honour the legacy, honour the service and honour the individual who personified so much of who we are as a people.
I stand here today to honour that individual, Her late Majesty. There was a note that really stood out to me from one of the speeches made in the Palace of Westminster, that rings true to me as a Canadian and a member of the Commonwealth. The statement was made to the world that Queen Elizabeth was known as the Queen, but to us she was our Queen. It is that personal connection that has been talked about so much over the last week or so, with so many individuals and constituents reaching out to share their stories about how they saw or interacted with Her Majesty in earlier years.
A campaign volunteer shared the story of how, when she was a little girl, having survived scarlet fever, she had the opportunity to sit beside and be encouraged by Her Majesty in the small city of Lethbridge during one of her early tours.
I heard from others who looked to her Christmas messages. I and many around the world will miss having the opportunity to listen to those encouraging messages, whether they got those words in times of crisis or whether they had the opportunity to celebrate. Many received a message for their 100th birthday. I know my late great-grandfather received that message from Her Majesty. As a former Brit who emigrated to Canada to farm, it was an incredible powerful moment.
There are so many, I would suggest millions, of personal connections, and that is profound in a world that is increasingly not personal.
That leads me to the next observation that I would make, and that is that Her Majesty was so unbelievably present, not only as a monarch, as our Queen in the midst of a changing world, but present with every individual she met. That is a trait that I honour today. When she was with somebody, whether in a hospital, speaking with a veteran or making a joke about her age, as has often been the case, especially as many of the leaders she has interacted with have been significantly younger than her, she was always so present in the moment of interaction.
She was present in all of our lives in so very many ways, such as when she would look at a television camera. She was an early adopter of some Canadian technology known as the Blackberry, although it is not necessarily modern technology anymore. She used a Blackberry to interact with her family members and stay connected with the world. She was unbelievably present.
I have another observation that I believe is profound and worthy of honour from today's perspective.
My wife and I often have a conversation about who, whether past or present, we would love to sit down and have coffee with. When Danielle and I have these conversations, it's figures from long past, some individuals who are alive today and some who have more recently passed, but always it seems Danielle and I will come back to wanting to spend time with and to hear stories from our Queen.
On a practical level, she became Queen when Winston Churchill was prime minister, in a country ravaged by war, which was rebuilding and had significant economic challenges. Just days before she passed away, personifying the definition of service, she swore in her 15th British prime minister. It is hard to imagine the perspective associated with that. Having heard anecdotes from different British prime ministers over time, including some who went into the job not quite sure how they thought about the monarchy but learning quickly that its value as an institution, her value and that of the perspective she shared was so profound that it was worthy of being listened to, we honour our late Queen today.
We have a system of government that is quite different from that of our neighbours to the south. Through Hollywood and television, I would suggest that it is not necessarily always as well understood as it should be. However, prior to being elected, I was asked a question by a student who happened to have watched a movie that was popular at the time, which had to do with some of the founding documents of the United States. A comment was made about why they would hold those documents in a nuclear bomb-proof bunker. The student asked me this question, which was somewhat of an observation: “Why is that necessary? If that's necessary for them in the United States, why is that not necessary for us?”
My reply, and I share this observation with the House today, is that while the United States is a republic with strong constitutional documents, and of course the history associated with that, in Canada we do not necessarily have that. Although we have written aspects of our Constitution, much of it is unwritten, and I hope that we in this place understand that. A lot of that tradition is not necessarily in a document like that of our neighbours to the south, but rather in the personification of the institutions that we have.
A big part of that is Her Majesty, whether it is her life of service, from that of a princess, to being a veteran, to of course the monarch we know, and being a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, an aunt and an influence to so many. So much of our country, nearly half of the time our nation has existed, was fostered and has grown under her rule. These are powerful things for a woman who stewarded, I would suggest, one of the toughest jobs in the world. On a practical note, while many monarchs and monarchies around the world were dissolving, falling out of touch or being taken away altogether, we saw her impact remain.
As we have come to the conclusion of the second Elizabethan era, as has been observed by many in this place with touching tributes from most parties represented here, we have reason to pause and reflect about what that means for each and every one of us. It means those personal interactions and the impact they have on our institutions, from the mace, representing the power of the Crown being transferred to the people and pointing towards the government, to the coat of arms, and to everything we touch as members of the Commonwealth and having a Westminster-style democracy.
On a personal note, I will conclude with this. The Queen had a powerful and very strong faith. That certainly has been an inspiration to me in my faith journey, so I will note a couple Bible versus here today.
Psalm 78:72 says, “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skilful hands he led them.” I cannot think of a better comparison to bring to this place today to note how well the Queen led her people over these last seven decades.
Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counsellors there is safety.” The counsel our Queen provided during times of upheaval and during times of peace speaks to the influence and mark she has left on our nation.
On behalf of Danielle, my boys and myself, and the people of Battle River—Crowfoot, I pay honour to our Queen in the people's House of Commons here today. I wish King Charles every success as our King. With that, and with what I know would be our Queen's wishes, I say God save the King.
Madam Speaker, it is truly an honour today to join the acknowledgements for Queen Elizabeth II. Before I make my brief comments, I want to acknowledge the tragedy in Saskatchewan and the loss of two police officers in the GTA in the last few days. What a tremendous loss that is for communities at large in both parts of our country.
I stand today on behalf of the residents of Humber River—Black Creek and the residents of Toronto to acknowledge the tremendous loss we have had in losing the Queen, our Queen. I grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick, and my grandmother and aunts were tremendously fond of the Queen. They would often talk about what she was wearing this day and that day, but most especially they talked about the hats she had on. The visual was the hat she had on, but what was not so visible were the many hats she carried every single day in order for the world we live in, 70 years ago and today, to move forward in a peaceful fashion.
The fact is, she was constantly solid. She never looked frazzled and never seemed to let on the amount of tragedy that she was probably trying to cope with in her own life. She always looked together. She always looked like someone we could depend on to be there as the head of the Commonwealth and to move our many areas forward in so many different ways given what we had to deal with. Never did we see the Queen looking as if she did not have the answers. She always seemed to have the answers when it was necessary to move us forward.
I think back to 70 years ago when the Queen was asked to become the Queen and the leadership she showed in those many years. Long before it became the in thing for women to be recognized, she was put in that position as a woman and showed a tremendous amount of leadership that made us all proud. For forever and a day, we will always hold up Queen Elizabeth as a true leader and as true a feminist as we might want to call anyone. As we move forward on all of our issues, we will always look back and say she was the first who really stood out there in a strong, powerful way as a female to lead our countries and our Commonwealth forward.
I want to thank her again on behalf of all of the residents of Humber River—Black Creek for her lifelong commitment to Canada.
To make a lifelong commitment to public service, as she did, we are asked to make a commitment and we accept that challenge. However, for us it is two years, three years or four years; it is not 70 years. Her commitment never moved. She made that commitment and continued with it so many times.
All of us very much depended on her to be our Queen. The fact is that she visited Canada many times, and it meant so much to residents and Canadians that the Queen was coming to visit. It certainly was a big deal 50 years, and I think it was still a big deal today when the Queen was going to come and visit. Her commitment and devotion to all of us as members of the Commonwealth, but also to world peace and the many endeavours she put forward to make a difference in the world, were important.
It is with very heavy hearts that we realize legends have to pass away too, but I believe the Queen's legacy and leadership will live forever for all of us. A whole era has passed, almost a century of life. Her wisdom, her strength and her dedication guided the Commonwealth and all of its people for 70 years of Her Majesty's reign. The strength that she demonstrated publicly, dealing with the many tragedies that she had to deal with in her lifetime, was an example of strength for all of us.
The Queen once said in her Christmas message, as my colleagues have mentioned already, “Each day is a new beginning”. As I say those words, I can hear her saying them. She said them often, and I think it is a message for all of us:
Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.
This is the kind of sentiment that would be nice for all of us to say at the beginning of every day, especially in the House of Commons. It might help guide us all to do the important work we want to do and do what is right every single day. It is not always about being politically right, but doing what is right for Canadians and what is right for ourselves. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror, and I suggest that when the Queen, our Queen, looked in the mirror, she was satisfied because she gave it all to all of us.
I wish our new King, King Charles III, luck, success and peace as he takes on a very, very challenging job. We will be there for him as we were there for our Queen.
God bless King Charles III and may our Queen rest in peace.
Mr. Speaker, in putting words to the legacy of the second Elizabethan age, most world leaders have noted that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a constant during changing times, yet when she spoke to the purpose of life, the Queen quoted an Australian proverb that spoke to how change is fundamental to the human condition: “We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love...and then we return home.”
This is the paradox Queen Elizabeth's reign presents us. How was it that she experienced so much change during her long life of service, but was able to create a legacy that defined constancy as a thing of beauty that should be aspired to? How is it that a women, of whom so very few history remembers fondly or without crediting their successes to men, so obviously succeeded in this endeavour? The answer lies in examples that prove the opposite.
Throughout human history, we have been reminded that constancy can lead to failure. History is littered with leaders who enforced rigid beliefs to the detriment of their people, often to hold power or wealth for their own benefit. The constancy of these people in their selfish desires invariably has led to oppression and conflict, and history has shown that the antidote to this behaviour is temperance, the virtue of self-restraint. Temperance, thy name was Elizabeth.
The Queen, throughout her life of service, paired temperance with constancy. For over 70 years she set self aside to ensure the institutions that faith charged her with leading, the Crown, the church and her family, remained resilient through and emerged strengthened from the tumult that occurred during the historic length of her reign.
She was the Crown, and in this day of modernity the Crown remains. This is a remarkable, but critically important, accomplishment. The Crown is the foundation upon which our system of government relies, and our democracy functions because the institution our sovereign heads must be removed from the thrust and grind of daily politics. It must manage with the long view of institutional sustainability of both our democratic institutions and the Crown itself. Today I would argue that the Crown, as the institutional underpinning of our democracy, is healthy and strong, and this is a credit to the Queen.
Imagery of the virtue of temperance often shows a figure blending elements, usually hot and cold water, in a vessel. To temper a substance is to mix it with something else to render it with greater utility. In ensuring that the Crown remained relevant as the pace of history quickened in the last hundred years, she created a crucible in which some of the most volatile global conflicts could be tempered, and in ensuring that the Crown was politically neutral but essential to democracy, the Queen was able to wield a soft power that had an important role in de-escalating conflict and dismantling systems of oppression.
The level of self-restraint this must have taken was enormous. In a position of power it is much easier to defend an unjust position than it is to be an agent of compromise for progress's sake. Similarly, it is much easier to spill the seeds of change without first tilling the ground, rather than setting one's hand first to the hard work of incrementally preparing society for it to take root. The Queen did the latter of each with conviction in most crises she faced, and in doing so tempered the Crown into an institution we see as aiding future generations, as opposed to diminishing their prospects.
While I cannot possibly equivocate with the mantle of responsibility the Queen bore over 70 years, in my time in Parliament I have become well acquainted with the self-discipline required to refrain from selfish actions in a leadership role. There have been many times when the best course of action for the people I represent is to remove myself from the grind of a polarizing political approach out of respect for the office I occupy or when doing the right thing has not been the easy or popular course of action. In this regard I have both succeeded and failed, but particularly when I have succeeded, I have been struck by the feelings of loneliness that self-restraint in leadership can bring, particularly as a young woman learning the lessons of governance while being in a governing role. In that, I wonder if the Queen ever felt the same way.
I am reminded that the Queen was also the head of her church and that she referred to her faith as the anchor in her life. In her vow of service, she asked her God to help her make good in her vow of service as monarch. In her temperance, she lived her faith with constancy, and in doing so did credit to the case for humanity to set itself to acting with higher purpose than self. She also exemplified that when we focus on a purpose higher than our own needs we never truly are alone, and I cannot think of a better defence of any faith than that.
In recent years I have found kinship with the Queen in another regard, and this kinship is perhaps the greatest for us all. When asked about family life, the Queen said, “I can answer with simplicity and conviction: I am for it.”
The role Queen Elizabeth played in the institution of her own family was also clearly marked by temperance, and must have been so, because any woman who has raised children will tell us motherhood is already synonymous with selflessness. Women will attribute their successes in child-rearing to moments when they set aside self for the betterment of their children.
However, as a woman who is raising children, I can also say that when I have failed with children under my charge it has been when my temperance has faltered. These are instances when I have been baited into anger, when my actions have caused my children shame or when my desire to avoid conflict stopped me from issuing discipline. However, I have not had to be a mother with the eyes of the world upon me and my motherhood measured against the prospect of the suitability of my children to take on the leadership of one of the most powerful institutions in human history. The Queen bore this responsibility without ever overtly seeking to sway public opinion on her role and her family. How difficult this must have been for all involved, yet somehow grace has prevailed.
It is also difficult to be both wife and institutional leader. While how society views gender roles has changed in the last century, many of the societal mores that dictate how women are to be in marriage must have weighed on the Queen. Even in my short tenure as member of Parliament, I have certainly struggled with imbalance in this regard. However, sometimes fate offers us gifts by way of sending us a partner who bolsters our temperance when we lack it. I am sure the Queen felt this way about Prince Philip.
The maturity of character the Queen demonstrated in nurturing her family must also be set against the reality that she was simultaneously grooming her heirs for the sake of the Crown. During the last century of change, many families have been broken. While the royal family has not been immune from storms during the tenure of the Queen, that through temperance they survived them is a mark of their humanity and not of their failure.
As a citizen of the Commonwealth, I am profoundly grateful the Queen is succeeded by three generations of heirs who both clearly loved her as a familial matriarch and through their own actions have demonstrated that they too embrace temperance as a virtue in the Crown, faith and family. I suspect that would be the true measure by which the Queen measured her success in her life of service.
As the world marks the end of the second Elizabethan age, many will be feeling a profound heaviness, as I am. I believe the world is grieving as it is because it is apparent the burden of temperate constancy the Queen shoulders now falls to others. In that, we pray for the health and wisdom of our new sovereign, His Majesty King Charles III, his Queen Consort and the entire royal family as they both mourn and take on new mantles of leadership.
I pray for us all. As a privy councillor, I swore an oath to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Queen and her heirs and successors. On some days in this place, I have felt my actions have done credit to her temperance, and on some days I know they have not. In those moments, I know that during these uncertain times I bear the duty and responsibility to temper my actions with selflessness, as do we all. The health of our democracy and society depends upon it.
May the Queen rest in the peace provided by our collective commitment to take up this torch. Today, on behalf of the people of Calgary Nose Hill, I recommit to my oath to do the same. Long live the King.
Mr. Speaker, the world changed on Thursday, September 8, 2022. It has been stated by many that most people alive today have known only one Queen of the United Kingdom, of the Commonwealth, of Canada, and that is certainly true for me. We have a collector's magazine on our coffee table at home dated June 1953, commemorating the coronation of then 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth, who had been Queen for a couple of months already, due to the sudden unexpected passing of her father, King George VI.
Just to date myself, I was born between those two dates, that of her accession to the throne and her coronation.
It has been noted that Elizabeth has been Queen of Canada for almost half of its existence as a modern state. It is historic that we now see a transition from a queen to a king, something that we are all going to have to get used to.
Even though the face of the monarchy has changed from Elizabeth II, who is well adored and loved by the whole world, to Charles III, who has very big shoes to fill now, nothing has really changed. As a member of Parliament, I swore allegiance to Elizabeth II and her heirs. Parliament was not dissolved. The government continues to function. The political party of which I am a member continues to be the loyal opposition, loyal to the Crown.
It bears noting that another historical event has taken place recently. Our colleague, the member for , has now become the leader of His Majesty's loyal opposition, a phrase that has not been used in 70 years.
I never met the Queen, but I always felt I knew her, going back to my elementary school days at Virginia Park Elementary School in Edmonton, Alberta. Every classroom in the school proudly displayed a more or less up-to-date photograph of the Queen. We saluted the flag. We recited The Lord's Prayer. We sang God Save the Queen almost as often as we sang our national anthem, Oh Canada.
I love that Canada is multicultural. I am personally a beneficiary of that, having been born to parents who had just recently immigrated from the Netherlands. While they maintained many of their Dutch traditions, they truly valued the rich traditions around the British Crown and all that goes with it: the parliamentary government, a stable monarchy, the stability offered by a monarch who rides above the politics of the day. These are concepts that they grew up with in their home country and that were instilled in us as children.
I never met Queen Elizabeth, but it is in my DNA to respect the value that an unchanging monarchy brings to our national identity, stability and unity.
Canadians see their elected representatives disagree about almost everything and some days, judging by what goes on in this chamber, one would think that there was very little unity and almost no national identity. However, we can always turn to the Crown and remind ourselves that, in fact, we are one.
How will Charles III measure up to his mother in performance of royal duties? I am sure he will do a great job, but in a way it doesn't really matter. The functioning of government does not depend on the strengths or failings of the monarch of the day.
It matters a lot in this respect: More and more people in the Commonwealth nations and in Canada are questioning the relevance of a royal family that dates back to the Middle Ages, to feudal Europe, to earlier days of class structures. None of this has a place in our modern, egalitarian, democratic society, so how does this ancient tradition survive? By adaptation, of course. Elizabeth II did that very well. She knew when to speak, when to be silent, when to be present, when to be absent, when to be transparent and how to manage the mystique behind the royal throne.
She demonstrated servant leadership since the very beginning of her public life. In a statement that she made to the Commonwealth on her 21st birthday, she said, “my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service”. For the next 75 years, she demonstrated that she actually meant those words.
Nowhere was this commitment to humble servant leadership more evident than in her annual Christmas address.
In 2014, she said this in her Christmas address:
For me the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and anchor in my life.
A couple of years later, in 2016, she included these words in her Christmas address:
Billions of people now follow Christ's teachings and find in him a guiding light for their lives. I am one of them....
As the years went by, Elizabeth became more vocal about her Christian faith. Maybe age gave her pause to reflect on her own mortality. Maybe the instability of the world around her made her reach for the stability that she found in this ancient faith. Maybe it was also Elizabeth II demonstrating servant leadership in her other role on earth, and that is head of the Church of England. She understood that even as England became more and more of a multicultural, multiracial, multi-faith society, it was still highly relevant for the head of the Church of England to use the language of the church.
In closing, I am going to quote the Archbishop of Canterbury, who said the other day:
May Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II rest in peace and rise in glory.
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to join other hon. members of this House to pay tribute to our head of state for over seven decades, Queen Elizabeth II. It is indeed a great privilege to share my personal sentiments, which I can assure members are shared by many residents of Willowdale who are deeply saddened by the passing of our monarch.
Over the last several days, we have witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of grief by numerous individuals around the world. We have heard countless expressions of sorrow on the passing of an exceptional personality who found a very special place in very many hearts.
For each of us, our individual or personal reasons may vary. In other words, she endeared herself to legions for a wide variety of qualities and reasons. However, we all recognize that we are now mourning the passing of a tireless monarch who embodied the notion of duty and epitomized the very best of public service. She had a profound effect on many. She was a constant in so many countless lives over the span of many tumultuous decades.
During her seven-decade reign, she was a historic beacon of hope. She weathered countless global crises with steady determination, great dignity and boundless decency. Despite the whirlwind of developments the world experienced during her lifetime, she proved unflappable and always remained committed to remaining a tower of strength and an embodiment of determination during these uncertain times.
The public first caught an early glimpse of her steadfast qualities even before she ascended the throne, when, at age 14, she felt compelled to offer a radio address from Windsor Castle in 1940. It was addressed specifically to children to reassure youth of the promise of impending peace during the dark days of the Second World War. As she remarked during that address, “And when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.”
It should also come as no surprise that a few years later, while still a teenager, at her own insistence, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service to train as a truck driver and mechanic to assist the war effort.
That very same sense of duty and service were constants after she assumed the throne. Her sense of obligation and fortitude never dulled. It is now estimated that the Queen presided over an average of 500 official appointments in any given year of her lengthy reign. It is also true that she is recognized as the most widely travelled head of state in history.
As Canadians, we were great beneficiaries of her attention and affections. She travelled to Canada on no less than 22 official visits as a monarch. Indeed, Canada was the country most frequently visited by Her Majesty. As she noted on one occasion about our country, “I am sure that nowhere under the sun could one find a land more full of hope”.
It should come as no surprise that she was among us here in Canada in 1957 when Her Majesty became the first Canadian monarch to open Parliament and deliver a speech from the throne. She opened the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959. She attended the 100th anniversary of the meeting of the Fathers of Confederation in Charlottetown in 1964. She was present for our centennial in Ottawa in 1967.
She participated in Expo 67 in Montreal, and was present for the opening of the summer Olympic games in Montreal in 1976. She was present to mark the 100th anniversary of the admission into Confederation of Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island variously between 1970 and 1973.
In 1982, she was present in Ottawa to participate in the patriation ceremony of our new Constitution, which of course included the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It should also be highlighted that she appointed our first French Canadian Governor General in 1959, proclaimed our national flag in 1965 and established the Order of Canada in 1967.
During her lengthy reign, she conferred countless honours upon and sent congratulatory letters and messages to thousands of Canadians, and acted as a royal patron of countless Canadian charities, while also developing and maintaining a particularly strong bond with our military and the RCMP.
Of course, her greatest impact was on individual Canadians. This she did through her unforgettable Christmas addresses.
She noted this in a visit to Halifax in 2010:
Canadians have, by their own endeavours, built a country and society which is widely-admired across the world. I am fortunate to have been a witness to many of the developments and accomplishments of modern Canada.
I would also be remiss if I did not remark on her dedication to maintaining strong bonds with the widest array of countries, in effect allowing our country to broaden and deepen our ties with numerous countries as a member of the Commonwealth. Indeed, our membership in the Commonwealth alongside other multilateral institutions has allowed us to maintain with great pride for many decades that we are the most connected country in the world. During the Queen's reign, the Commonwealth grew from seven to 56 member states, in essence ensuring the Commonwealth was comprised of countries with an estimated 2.5 billion people. These bonds have allowed Canada to forge close ties and bonds of friendship with numerous countries.
The Commonwealth's objectives were first explicitly and expressly outlined in 1971, when the organization committed itself to world peace, the promotion of representative democracy and individual liberty. While we can all acknowledge the vicissitudes in the fortunes of the Commonwealth, there can be no doubt that Her Majesty reimagined the Commonwealth and was devoted to ensuring that the organization was devoted to improving conditions among all its member states.
The greatest example of this occurred in 1986, when 48 of the then 49 members of the Commonwealth agreed to adopt sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa. The then government of Prime Minister Thatcher was the only holdout. We now know, with the benefit of declassified diplomatic archives, not only that Canada assumed a leading role to cajole the United Kingdom to change its official position, but that the Queen also joined this endeavour, of course only from behind the scenes and with great dignity and decorum.
Allow me to offer my condolences to the royal family and, in particular, His Majesty King Charles.
I join millions around the world in saluting Queen Elizabeth for her tireless decades of duty and service.
May you rest in peace, Your Majesty.
Mr. Speaker, in my brief parliamentary career, rising today to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of those whom I represent in South Shore—St. Margarets is the greatest honour I could imagine. There have been many wonderful tributes to Her Majesty in this place today, and I will attempt to add some additional perspectives in this commemoration of an exemplary life of dedication and service.
The loss of one's mother leaves one feeling unmoored. It leaves one feeling the anchor of the family is lost. It changes the family forever. Those of us who have lost our mothers know this to be true. My mother, Rosemarie Borgald Perkins, passed away less than three months ago, on June 29. There is a sense that one is adrift. Several of our colleagues in this place also lost their mothers this summer and are experiencing the same grief.
The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is a loss felt most deeply by her children, King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Theirs is the loss of a mother's love. William Shakespeare captured the feeling of a child once their mother is gone well in Henry V, when he wrote:
And all my mother came into mine eyes
And gave me up to tears.
The royal family must feel that way in this period of public grieving, the way all of us feel when we lose a parent. Grief comes in waves like the ocean, waves of deep sadness and waves of great humour and joy. Queen Elizabeth said, in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, that “Grief is the price we pay for love." As her family grieves, as her nation and the Commonwealth grieve, we are demonstrating a global act of love and thanks to Her Majesty and her family.
She said, as we know, in her statement on her accession to the throne, “my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service”. Indeed, we were blessed that her life was long and she fulfilled her duties with grace, solemnity, passion and humour. The world is a better place for it.
When we grieve for the loss of a person we care about, we often reflect on our own lives and tell a few stories about that person that captures their personality. If the House indulges me, I will tell a few stories about Her Majesty.
My mother and father grew up in Halifax during World War II. It was a busy war port and the King, Queen, royal family and Winston Churchill played a huge part in their lives at that time. When young Queen Elizabeth, only 33, visited Nova Scotia for the first time as the Queen, my mother and father had to go to see her. They did, and when the the motorcade passed, my mother and her sister ran down the road after the Queen like they were Beatles' groupies and embarrassed the heck out of my father.
In this place, we all know the importance of the role that those that do tour advance for prime ministers play in serving our country. One of my best friends, Scott Munnoch, played this role for Prime Minister Mulroney. Scott, in this role, often wore white running shoes with his suits. He even wore them while wearing black tie. While it looked a bit goofy, it was comfortable, given the long days he had on his feet. Scott is a big man. Having been a defensive lineman on the Queen's University football team, he is hard to miss.
During the royal visit in 1992 to celebrate Canada's 125th birthday, Scott wore white running shoes the entire time. RCMP security mentioned to him that a couple of times in the car, the Queen had asked about the fellow with the running shoes. On Canada Day, Her Majesty appeared at the noon-hour show on the Hill and returned for the evening show as well, something she had never done before.
On the final day of departure at Uplands Airport, the farewell delegation included the prime minister, Mrs. Mulroney and several ministers. They were lined up at the foot of the stairs to the aircraft. Once they were assembled, Scott stood on the opposite side at the foot of the stairs, out of the way, he thought. Her Majesty said her goodbyes and moved up the aircraft stairs. After a step or two up the stairs, she paused, turned around to Scott and said, “I really like your footwear.” She then boarded the plane and flew back to London.
In 1997, while serving in a similar role for Premier Harris, Scott organized the Ontario portion of Her Majesty's visit to Canada. At the last stop of the tour in North Bay, Scott was told to be present at an event with Her Majesty. As the last person to be called into the personal audience with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Queen invested on the “fellow wearing the running shoes” the Royal Victorian Order, making him a member of this dynastic order established by Queen Victoria, which is only bestowed by the monarch. It recognizes distinguished personal service to the monarch. Scott is the 2,072nd person in the Commonwealth to receive this honour since it was established in 1896.
In 2002, Her Majesty the Queen was in Regina to unveil the statue of her riding her prized horse Burmese, a gift from the RCMP. The RCMP had transported the State Landau to Saskatchewan for the event. The day was marred on and off by torrential rains, so the commanding officer of the RCMP asked the monarch if she would like the roof installed to keep her dry. She responded, in typical Queen Elizabeth fashion, that if her subjects were going to be in the rain, then so should she. The roof went back to the truck where it stayed for the rest of the day.
On another visit to Canada, for her Golden Jubilee, she visited Exhibition Place in Toronto, where Her Majesty was to be introduced to a renewed horse breed called the Canadian that had gone almost extinct. She immediately made a connection with the huge horse, which was a little skittish because of the crowd and because of the camera flashes that were happening. To everyone's surprise, Her Majesty pulled a large carrot out of her handbag and fed it to the horse, now her new best friend. There we have it. There was more in her purse than just a sandwich.
A staff member of mine, Denis Drever, acted as an official photographer on royal tours to Canada for Her Majesty and Prince Philip. He did that three times. At the conclusion of one of those tours, the Queen personally presented him, a professional photographer, with a hand-signed portrait of the royal couple and said, “It's quite odd really, me giving you a photograph.” Naturally, he accepted it with thanks and it now hangs proudly in a place of honour in my Hill office.
In a story President Reagan told Prime Minister Mulroney, President Reagan hosted the Queen and as the visit wound down the president asked her what her schedule was the next day. She replied that she was going home, going to Canada. It spoke of her affection and love for Canada.
Queen Elizabeth attended only two funerals of the 15 prime ministers who swore allegiance to her: Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill. Therefore, I will conclude my tribute with the words of Winston Churchill in his final toast to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth when he was prime minister. Churchill said this:
Never have the august duties which fall upon the British monarch been discharged with more devotion than in the brilliant opening to your Majesty’s reign. We thank God for the gift he has bestowed upon us and vow ourselves anew to the sacred cause, and wise and kindly way of life of which your Majesty is the young, gleaming champion.
God bless Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and long live King Charles III.
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to address the House on behalf of the residents of Brampton South to commemorate the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
As a nation, we express our sincere condolences to the royal family, the people of the United Kingdom and the entire Commonwealth. The Queen will forever be remembered for her devoted service to the Commonwealth and its people.
Over generations, hundreds of Bramptonians have served our country with Her Majesty, who is commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces, through the Lorne Scots primary reserve unit of the Canadian Army. The Lorne Scots is one of Canada's oldest military units, dating back to the 18th century, and its headquarters is based in Brampton South. The unit continues to defend Canada and has participated in nearly every engagement Canada has sent troops to. Many of the unit's veterans are now members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 15, and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for their service to our country.
When Her Majesty's father passed away in February 1952, Princess Elizabeth became the Queen and head of the Commonwealth. That meant she became our commander-in-chief, overseeing our military and witnessing so many historical milestones over her reign. She was our monarch for almost half of this country's existence, and Canada was honoured to host her 22 times as sovereign. She visited all 10 Canadian provinces and three territories during her reign, and just five years after she became Queen she visited to open our Parliament in 1957.
One of her visits took place in 1973 when the Queen and her husband Prince Philip visited Brampton for the 100th anniversary of the town. They were greeted by then mayor James Archdekin and were the guests of honour during the ceremony. They visited Brampton's Gage Park, our first municipal park, which is now located in Brampton South. Clippings from the official book published to commemorate that anniversary said:
Queen Elizabeth, on her arrival in Brampton on Friday, June 29, was accorded one of the warmest welcomes she received anywhere during her ten-day Canadian Tour. Gage Park, site of the official ceremonies, was crowded by thousands of Bramptonians and visitors from many other Ontario communities. Hundreds of children were in the crowd which craned to see every movement of the Queen.
As members know, Brampton is commonly referred to as the “Flower City” of Canada, and I am often asked where this name came from. It starts with a man named Edward Dale, who moved to Brampton from England to grow vegetables and flowers. Edward Dale retired in 1882 and his son Harry Dale took over. By then, Dale Estate employed a quarter of Brampton's population, with over 140 greenhouses to its name. Each year, they grew more and more roses and built more and more greenhouses.
People came from around the world to see Brampton's greenhouses, and Dale's flowers were even enjoyed by royalty. Brampton's Dale Estate provided flowers three times over two years for the Queen and was the largest greenhouse operation in the Commonwealth at that point in the 1950s. In a letter sent following their visit to Brampton, the Queen and Prince Philip sent their warm thanks for the centennial rose bushes that were presented to them. Brampton continues to be a vibrant city full of beautiful gardens, and we carry forward this legacy.
My favourite part of the story of the visit by Her Majesty and His Royal Highness to Brampton is that, after the official ceremony, they met with 25 new Canadian citizens who had received their citizenship earlier that same day. It was a true moment that showcased her values of openness, compassion and respect. The stories in local newspapers following Her Majesty's visit speak for themselves and to her grace. She was happy to be in Brampton, and our residents welcomed her with open arms.
One headline in the Daily Times, a Brampton paper of the era, read, “Thousands of Local Hearts Captured by the Royal Visitors”. Another read, “She Was So Gracious... So Radiant”.
Her passing is a loss for everyone, and our Brampton residents have touching memories of her reign. Earlier this year, Canada celebrated the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty from coast to coast to coast, marking her 70th anniversary on the throne, and just last month I had the honour to attend, alongside colleagues, the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Halifax.
It was a gathering of more than 600 delegates talking about key global issues and solutions. Some of the core themes included democracy, sustainable development, human rights and especially the rights of women and girls. These are core Commonwealth values that we remain committed to protecting and promoting. Common ties and shared values are what make the Commonwealth strong, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II cared about this deeply.
I want to note that the facts and stories I shared with members today were preserved by the tireless work of the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives historians and archive workers. I am grateful for their efforts in collecting materials of historical value to ensure that these stories are told for decades to come.
In conclusion, I want to encourage all members of the House and all Canadians listening to continue to build bridges with other democracies and to promote values of peace, security and prosperity. This is what the Queen devoted herself to and how she will be remembered by us. When the Queen departed Gage Park on that sunny June day in 1976, God Save the Queen was played by the Lorne Scots military band. Today, we reflect on the Queen's legacy and say, “God save the King.”
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and it is with profound sadness that I rise to join my colleagues in this special session of the House today to pay tribute to Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Elizabeth played many roles on the world stage, but her duties first and foremost were as a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. On behalf of my constituents in Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, I want to start by extending my sincerest condolences to the royal family, especially to our new sovereign, His Majesty King Charles III, who must grieve the loss of his mother while assuming the heavy and solemn duties of the Crown.
I have been listening to the speeches today, and I know that many of my colleagues have remarked that for most Canadians, Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch they have ever known. It is certainly true for me. I arrived on this earth in 1979, when the Queen was 53 years old and had already served as our sovereign for 27 years. When I was growing up, her image was ubiquitous, on all of our coinage, our $2 bills and our $20 bills. Her portrait was displayed in clubs, in legion halls and in our schools, to name just a few of the places.
When a monarch reigns for that length of time, people can be forgiven for regarding her with a sense of permanence. Governments come and go, but the Crown remains, an institution that has been a foundation for so many countries around the world during some very turbulent decades, including our own. Her presence was constant. It was a source of stability, so when I heard the news last Thursday that members of her immediate family had been summoned to Balmoral because of her grave condition, my immediate thought was that it was not serious and that she would bounce back and continue with her duties, as she had always done. After all, she had met with the newly elected leader of the U.K. Conservative Party, Liz Truss, only two days before, to invite her to become prime minister and form a government.
Her death, announced later that same day, came as a shock, and I know that many in this chamber and, indeed, many of my constituents are still trying to process that.
I want to speak a bit about the Crown as an institution and Queen Elizabeth's embodiment of that institution. Many of my colleagues have spoken of it as an institution that transcends our political institutions and has given our country, as a constitutional monarchy, a stability to endure. Given that the throne shall never be empty, the accession of Charles as king was immediate. That is why, over the centuries, the phrase “The Queen is dead. Long live the King” has underlined the fact that the throne is never empty.
It resulted in a cascading series of changes in our institutions, everything from the renaming of our naval ships, which now go from Her Majesty's Canadian ship to His Majesty's Canadian ship, to the Court of Queen's Bench, which is now the Court of King's Bench and, of course, Her Majesty's loyal opposition, which is now His Majesty's loyal opposition. This shows that while our politics differ, our loyalty to the state and our wish to see it do well remain unchanged, no matter what side of this House of Commons one has a seat on.
Of course, when we refer to Parliament, we are referring to the three constituent parts: the House of Commons, the Senate and the monarch, who is represented by the Governor General. No bill can become law without each of these bodies playing a role: two legislative chambers, which must each pass the bill in the same form, and the Governor General, who gives royal assent in the monarch's name. New citizens, members of Parliament and senators, members of the RCMP and the Canadian Armed Forces, those who serve as members of legislative assemblies, and justices of provincial and federal courts are all examples of where the oath is sworn or affirmed to the monarch and to the heirs and successors. Government policy is carried out in the monarch's name and it has a duty to uphold the honour of the Crown.
Our oaths to Queen Elizabeth II and now to her heir and successor, King Charles III, are not to her as a person, but rather to her embodiment of the Crown as an institution, as a symbol of the Canadian state, the ship which continues to sail despite the occasional changing of captains.
She lived up to that embodiment with a life of service and duty. It is incredible when one thinks about it: 70 years on the throne. There were 15 British prime ministers, starting with Sir Winston Churchill, and of course 12 Canadian prime ministers, starting with Louis St-Laurent.
The world in 1952 was very different from the one we inhabit today. Much of Europe was still recovering from the brutality of World War II, and the Queen assumed her role as head of state to a Britain that was very unsure of its role in the world as the foundations of its empire were crumbling around it.
Canada at the time was also a very different country from the one it is today, and we were blessed by many visits from Queen Elizabeth over her reign. My colleagues will know me as a proud Vancouver Islander, and we were so very lucky to have her on seven different occasions. Victoria, the city of my birth, which is also named after a queen, will probably be recognized by those who have visited as one of the most royalist cities in all of Canada.
Probably the most significant occasion for Canada was on April 17, 1982, when the Queen signed the proclamation of the Constitution Act. That act achieved our country's full independence. It allowed us to change our Constitution without approval from Britain, and it enshrined our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which are used to this day as a guard against government overreach and against legislatures like our very own that overstep their bounds when creating laws.
Going forward, we also need the monarchy to address past injustices, and I say this in good faith to our new monarch. Many peoples around the world have a troubled history and relationship with the British Crown. My own last name shows a very clear link to Scotland, and there is a wide range of history on that.
More importantly, we need to talk about the legacy of colonialism. If one looks at the map of modern-day Africa, those straight lines drawn with the precision of a ruler were the result of imperial powers carving up the map.
As well, there is the British Crown's role in slavery and addressing that historical injustice. Importantly, here in Canada, there is the treatment of indigenous peoples. I am so very lucky to have had a conversation with an indigenous constituent just this last week to serve as a reminder of that troubled relationship with the Crown.
His Majesty King Charles III has an unparalleled opportunity to move the monarchy forward in a way that is acceptable and more relevant to today's generation. He acknowledged that on a recent trip to Canada, when he said this:
It has been deeply moving to have met survivors of residential schools who, with such courage, have shared their experiences. On behalf of my wife and myself, I want to acknowledge their suffering and to say how much our hearts go out to them and their families.
As King, he has an opportunity to go further. It is my sincerest hope that in his first visit to Canada as King, His Majesty Charles III will meet with indigenous elders across the country and listen to what they are saying.
In conclusion, heavy is the head that wears the Crown. Queen Elizabeth II wore it well, with duty, service and devotion. I will treasure her memory to our country. May she rest in peace.
Mr. Speaker, we gather today under historic and sad circumstances at a moment of great uncertainty in the world.
Uncertainty, as we continue to cautiously observe the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on our reopened economies. Uncertainty, as Russia's illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has upset an already unstable political environment, threatening the lives of millions of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, and shocking our collective conscience.
There is uncertainty as the existential threat of climate change has already resulted in more severe weather, which is affecting our lives, challenging our recovery and threatening our communities. In short, we live in a world where the assumptions and conventions that we once took as a given continue to feel like they are being pulled out from under us.
It is, under these circumstances, a sad honour indeed to join fellow members of the House in paying tribute to the woman who was such a constant in our lived experiences, one whose destiny was deeply intertwined with that of our country.
As we celebrate the mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who was our late sovereign, I extend my personal condolences, and those of my family and all the residents of , to His Majesty King Charles III and all members of the royal family on the passing of Her Majesty.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952, becoming the head of state of the United Kingdom, Canada, and other realms. The world was deeply divided between the west and the Soviet Union, in a cold war that seemed ready to turn hot with the slightest provocation.
Parts of the world that had so far been ignored and exploited were gaining confidence and claiming their right to self-determination and self-government. The relatively new invention of television changed our way of seeing and understanding the world. Canada and its allies were just beginning to make essential reforms to our health care system and government services to improve opportunities for everyone.
What a difference a life makes.
Personally, I will always remember the experience of Her Majesty's visit to Edmonton in 2005. I had the opportunity of seeing Her Majesty and listening to her speak in person in my home city. I remember so clearly how she expressed her love of Canada and for Canadians, and how every single time she set foot in our country, she felt at home again.
It was the same love and adoration she expressed on many visits to our country throughout her reign. Indeed, over the last 70 years, Her Majesty participated in, and bore witness to, some of our most significant accomplishments and our greatest challenges, from the existential challenges of two sovereignty referendums to the patriation of our Constitution, including the enshrining of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and from the decriminalization of homosexuality to the celebration of marriage equality, the legal protection of trans and gender-diverse people and the banning of conversion therapy. She saw the growing recognition of the injustices and cultural genocides that mark our legacy with first nations, Inuit and Métis people.
There was the creation of the Commonwealth and the joy and hope of our 100th and 150th anniversaries.
She saw the world's collective horror at the events of September 11 and the ongoing struggle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the whole of our collective experiences, exciting and tragic, inspiring and devastating, she was there. Her presence was a constant assurance that our institutions would hold, that our democracy, our House of Commons, which guides the functioning of our state from the rule of law to the power of the people, would hold through sunshine and storm, through celebrations and challenges.
Through it all, our institutions did hold and we, as a people, held together and grew stronger together.
Indeed, with the exception of my late father, Rowley, there is no member of my family, or that of my partner David's family, who can remember any other person as our head of state. Three generations of my family have only known a world where our head of state was Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As I said, this is true for my partner David, my mother Shirley, my brother Mark, my sister-in-law Leanne, and for my nephews and niece Ethan, Skyler and Andrew.
I will share a story with the House and my colleagues. My youngest nephew, Andrew, is now 14 and a half years old and is starting to wake up to the world, politics and what is going on around him. When I picked up my phone, which was in the lockbox when we learned of the passing of Her Majesty, the first text I saw was from Andrew. The text in our family group chat read, “Uncle Randy, the Queen has died. What does this mean?” That was the implication in his question. My immediate response was, “Andrew, we are all still trying to figure that out ourselves”, but I responded, “We are now in mourning, and on the Queen's watch Canada became a great country. The Queen is dead. Long live the King.”
When I next get to see Andrew in person, we will chat about the continuation of government and the processes and traditions that are in place to keep our work moving, and we will probably talk about his new motorcycle. However, the fact that he is thinking about the Queen's role and our role as a constitutional monarchy at the age of 14 says something about where he is on his own journey into adulthood.
I share with many in this place, across the country and around the world a deep feeling that embodies the legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Through it all, she was there, and it became easy at times to think she always would be.
She lived her life with a deep devotion to duty and a profound commitment to service, a responsibility that was placed on her at such a young age and which she accepted with dignity and grace.
Perhaps by now we have seen the video, replayed over the last many days, of a young Elizabeth, just 21 years old, who looked the world in the eye and gave her solemn oath that the whole of her life, whether long or short, would be dedicated to service, that the nations would be her only focus and that those nations would become the Commonwealth. It is a promise that she kept, an oath that she fulfilled.
Now we say thank you.
I am grateful to this extraordinary woman for everything she did.
Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise in the House on behalf of the people of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo. It is unfortunate, though, that it is on this occasion that I rise to remember the 96 years of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. That being said, I am honoured to rise on behalf of the people of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo to mark the Queen's passing.
I take this opportunity to commemorate the life of Queen Elizabeth II and offer my deepest condolences to the royal family and to loved ones. In many instances, this is the only monarch that Canadians will have known. That is certainly the case for me at 43 years old; it is the case for just about everybody in my family, save my 98-year-old grandmother.
We must remember that the Queen took the throne at just 25 years old, and as I reflected on that I reflected on who I was at 25 years old. I was just in my first year of law school. I had just met my wife, and I do not know that I was even ready to be a lawyer, a parliamentarian or even a husband at that point. I was certainly not ready to be a father, and I was not ready for all the world had in store for me, yet at just 25 years of age the Queen displayed the dignity and grace that would mark her reign, a reign we will not soon forget.
We heard earlier today about the Queen's special relationship with Canada. Queen Elizabeth II toured Canada 20 times over 70 years. Remarkably, she visited Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo four times in her life. First, in 1939, she visited as Princess Elizabeth, and then again in 1951, shortly after her teen years, when she was still Princess Elizabeth. In 1959 and 1971, she visited as Queen Elizabeth. Many still remember those visits to Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo. Her most lengthy stay was in 1959, a visit which saw her and Prince Philip greeted by some reported 30,000 people in our riding. When I think back on it, believe Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo would have been still divided as North Kamloops and Kamloops proper at that time.
A young Alba Spina, my mother, would have been nine years old, and as I recall the Queen's pathway took her along Tranquille Road, which was about a block away from where my mother grew up on Poplar Avenue in North Kamloops. My mom reminded me of going to see the Queen that visit, all the people who were present and what a big deal it was as the Queen passed what would later become Our Lady of Perpetual Help, my elementary school.
This is a memory she will not forget. This is a memory that some 30,000 people in Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo will probably never forgot. That Queen Elizabeth would take the time to process down Tranquille Road in North Kamloops at the time speaks to her outreach to all Canadians.
As most know, my prior career was as a Crown prosecutor. As a former Crown prosecutor, I always emphasize the Crown, and there was a special relationship with the monarchy in my capacity as Crown council. I remember I was conducting a sex assault trial, and I made a fairly pivotal decision that had to be made. It was consistent with what my ethical obligations were at the time, and I was approached by the defence lawyer. He said he wanted to tell me that I really did the honour of the Crown that day.
As I prepared my speech, I reflected on what that meant. What is the honour of the Crown? The honour of the Crown, in my view, is doing the right thing. It is doing things with dignity and doing things with integrity, all qualities that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II exemplified. It is hard to imagine a future without Her Majesty the Queen.
When I speak about my former career as a lawyer, I think about the magnitude of the patriation of the Constitution Act of 1982 and the schedule of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and how that changed the lives of all Canadians and how it really changed the lives of all litigators, especially lawyers in criminal law, the area in which I practised and taught at Thompson Rivers University's Faculty of Law.
Queen Elizabeth II set a standard of leadership for generations to come, and it is hard to fathom that she led people through 70 years of service. She was a calming influence through every major event the world has witnessed over the past 70 years. Let us not forget that she witnessed the establishment of the United Nations, watched the moon landing and led through conflicts such as the Korean War, the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Gulf War, 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq and Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, the largest conflict in Europe since she served in the military in World War II.
It is difficult to overstate Queen Elizabeth II's impact on Canada during these trying times. In our day-to-day life, we do not often think about the impact she had on our lives, but it was in difficult times that she would offer a word of comfort to Canadians. Her messages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic are the most recent examples of her uncanny ability to give us all a sense of peace in times of tribulation.
Looking back on her life, I am reminded, in my capacity as shadow minister for veterans affairs, of her work and training as a mechanic in World War II. Queen Elizabeth II could have watched from a distance as a young woman, but her character called her into service. Leaders lead, and she took the opportunity to lead when it presented itself, when her country, the United Kingdom, was at war.
We are grateful to Queen Elizabeth for her innumerable contributions to our country and system of government, having personally granted royal assent to the Constitution Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It was a life well lived. May eternal light shine upon Queen Elizabeth II. May Her Majesty rest in peace. May God save the King.
Mr. Speaker, it is always a privilege to rise in the House, but it is a special honour to do so to pay tribute to Her late Majesty and extend my condolences to the royal family.
For so many Canadians, myself included, Her late Majesty was the only queen we have ever known, but she was more than a widely loved and respected sovereign. She represented stability in a country that grows increasingly chaotic and in a world that grows increasingly chaotic. She espoused a profound sense of humility in an era of self-aggrandizing, and she was a stalwart defender of democracy and the rule of law in an age of rising autocracy.
Speaking to friends and family, I noted that so many were surprised at the sense of personal loss we felt. The impact has been profound, because I think it is like losing a grandparent. It was deeply personal, and when it comes to losing a grandparent, it is something we know will happen one day but hope will be a long time from now. We never really expect it.
There is not much I can say that has not already be shared, but I can tell members from personal experience that there could be hundreds of people in the room, but she would make us feel like the only one there. She was incredibly attentive and as funny as she was kind, compassionate and gracious beyond words.
I am especially grateful that I had the opportunity to meet her during her reign, in 2017, when at Her late Majesty's command, I marked Canada's sesquicentennial by joining young leaders from across the Commonwealth in the U.K. It was at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace, where we were appointed medallists of Her late Majesty. I had the distinct honour of being named Her Majesty the Queen's Young Leader for Canada.
I still recall being there in Buckingham Palace, with all of the pomp and circumstance, wracked with fear about whether or not I would mess up all of the protocol we were required to remember when we met the Queen, things like ensuring we do not turn our backs to her, that we wait for her to extend her hand first and that she speaks first.
I imagine that some people listening are thinking that, of course, they could do those basic and easy things. I would agree with them, until they are about to meet the Queen. Then it all goes out the window. It did not help that during our briefings, leaders would recount all the times they froze up or were speechless. Suffice it to say, I was nervous.
I was wearing my high-collar navy whites and had practised marching in, left turning and then saluting. Then I was told that, actually, we were to throw all that out the window when meeting the Queen and just do a quick head bow. So here was this kid in his mid-20s out of the suburbs of Toronto scared out of his mind trying to remember all of these basic, straightforward protocol requirements, all while my brain was screaming, “Oh my God. There's the Queen. Holy smokes.” Well, I used another word, but I am not allowed to repeat it in this place. Obviously, I was nervous.
To try to settle my nerves, I looked away at the crowd. “Do a quick scan of the room”, I thought. There were hundreds of people in the room, so that did not exactly help. However, as I was doing it, I spotted Prince Harry, who was at my two o'clock sitting in the front row. I guess His Royal Highness could sense my nervousness, so he gave me a supportive head nod and a wink as if to say “Hey, you've got this.” He was right.
I approached Her Majesty, I bowed, she extended her hand first, of course, and I did so in response. She said, “Congratulations” and handed me my medal. Now, I figured that was probably the end of it, but she asked me to tell her what I do. To put it in context, we were being recognized for the work we did in our communities back home and I was nominated for my work. I had the privilege of working with amazing at-risk youth and indigenous communities in northwestern and southwestern Ontario, including the incredible community of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.
I mentioned that I work with youth in different communities. She said, “Huh” and I thought, “She's interested”, so I told her about it. She said it was all very fascinating and asked me to tell her more, so I did. We ended up speaking for about a minute or two, which I am told, in Queen terms, is actually a really long time. As I said earlier, she had an extraordinary ability to make me feel like I was the only person in the room.
At the end of the conversation, she extended her hand. The handshake is meant to bookend the conversation, but I imagine there are some people who are so enamoured with meeting the Queen that they might not get the message. When she comes out to shake someone's hand, we cannot tell when watching in person, because I was there watching her do it to others, or on TV that she actually pushes the person away. It is kind of like, “Okay, Kevin, it was nice talking to you. Off you go now, little one.” I have to say that for a then 91-year-old woman, that was a strong push, and today I have the distinct pleasure of being able to tell people that I met the Queen, she gave me a medal and then she pushed me away. All joking aside, I am forever grateful that I had this opportunity. It is a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
To conclude, twice I have sworn an oath of allegiance to Her late Majesty, first in 2015 when I joined Her Majesty's Royal Canadian Navy and again last year as a member of Parliament. In that oath, we commit to faithfully serving her and her heirs and successors. With the ascension to the throne of His Majesty King Charles III, I, like all members of this House, will continue my service, both in and out of uniform, to our sovereign.
Long live the King.
Mr. Speaker, it is with tremendous sadness and profound respect that I rise today to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who passed away one week ago following 70 remarkable years as Queen of Canada. Like so many of us, until last week I too had only known one sovereign. As I prepared my remarks for today I reflected on her constant presence in my life, so I would like to begin with some personal reminiscences before moving on.
Unbeknownst to either the Queen or me, we first crossed paths at Expo 67, I as a one-year-old child in my mother's arms and she as a 41-year-old monarch on her fifth visit to Canada, her fourth visit as our Queen.
We crossed paths again on the occasion of Her Majesty's Silver Jubilee in 1977. As an 11-year-old, I was living in Edinburgh with my parents and sisters that year. My grade 5 class at Sciennes Primary School made elaborate commemorative costumes out of paper and we stood in a group at the side of her parade route along Edinburgh's Royal Mile as she passed. She returned our excited waves with great warmth and with a happy smile.
Her presence was next felt in 2008 at my grandmother's 100th birthday party in Berwick, Nova Scotia. As a loyal British subject having been born in County Durham, let us try to imagine my grandmother's delight at her celebration to find at the bottom of her stack of cards a personalized birthday letter from the Queen whom she loved so very much.
In 2010, Her Majesty launched what was to be her final visit to Canada in Halifax, my riding. Accompanied by Prince Philip, she observed the Royal Canadian Navy's centenary by reviewing in her role as commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces a flotilla of international naval ships in Halifax harbour. It is a day that I and all Haligonians shall never forget.
Our final intersection came at Christmas 2015, my first as an MP. As a rookie on Parliament Hill, I was pleasantly surprised by how many people whom I had never met were sending me Christmas cards. Figuring this was perhaps expected of me too, I followed suit and sent Christmas cards to many prominent individuals, including one to the Queen. Much to my delight, by the time we returned to Ottawa after the Christmas recess, there tucked into a pile of mail was a letter stamped with the Queen's royal cypher. The message inside was warm, personalized and printed on Buckingham Palace letterhead and brought a thrill to me and my entire staff.
At any of those earlier points of intersection over so many years, if someone had suggested to me that one day I would swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II as a member of Canada's Parliament, I would not have believed it, but three times now I have sworn that I would be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. To Her late Majesty, I hope and I believe that I have discharged my oath to the very best of my abilities.
Why have I shared these personal stories? I have shared them because countless Canadians have stories just like these. They are small moments that connect us to a monarch whom we may never have actually met but who earned our admiration and our affection through her steady, dutiful service. Indeed, many Nova Scotians' memories will include seeing Her Majesty on one of her five royal tours to our province, including four to Halifax out of her 22 visits to Canada, the country that she visited more than any other.
Perhaps they were among the 50,000 people who greeted her at the train station in Halifax during her first trip to Canada in 1951 as a 24-year-old princess. Maybe they were a veteran at Camp Hill hospital where she visited on that same trip. Possibly they had the honour of being inspected by Her Majesty during a visit to the Royal Canadian Navy base in Halifax, or they met her at the Bengal Lancers horse riding school during her first trip as Queen in 1959. Perhaps they were residents of Halifax's Northwood seniors home where the Queen visited in 1979, or at the Fortress of Louisbourg in 1994. Maybe it was that final visit to Canada that I referenced earlier where, on a rainy day on Citadel Hill in the heart of downtown Halifax, she memorably said:
My mother once said that this country felt like home away from home for the Queen of Canada.... I am pleased to report that it still does. My pride in this country remains undimmed. It is good to be home.
As the Queen has been part of our individual lives in big and small ways over the past seven decades, so too has she been present for some of the most defining moments in the life of our nation. Most notably, in 1982, along with the 's father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, she participated in the signing of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, bringing the Constitution home to Canada.
I believe history will look back on the Queen as a stabilizing force throughout an era of incredible change. The world today looks very different than it did 70 years ago and while we have made significant progress, our work remains unfinished.
Canada’s parliamentary democracy, inherited from the motherland, and our constitutional monarchy make Canada’s system of government one of the most stable in the world. I believe that Queen Elizabeth II, in her role as Queen of Canada, has played an important role in securing our confidence in that system and in its success.
With that in mind, the Crown now passes to King Charles III, who has pledged to renew his mother’s lifelong service to the Commonwealth. I renew to him the oath of service I took for his mother. As His Majesty begins this new journey, may we all wish him well. Long live the King.
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today on behalf of the citizens of my riding of Red Deer—Mountain View to reflect upon the tremendous reign of our late Queen.
I was deeply saddened by the news of the passing of our Queen and sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Princess Elizabeth was but a year younger than my late mother. My father would always quip that he too had a princess who had become a queen, just like the people of the British Empire. He made it clear to us boys just how fortunate we were and how important it was that we treat our mother accordingly.
The fact that the princess could fix a vehicle, drive a truck and would serve in her country's military during wartime just emphasized her skills and dedication. When she acceded to the throne at such an early age, her vast knowledge and abilities made her even more impressive. So it was that I heard many stories about the life and times of our Queen Elizabeth.
The one-room schoolhouse that my great-grandfather had helped build had been replaced by a Second World War army barrack a few years prior to my grade 1 year. At the front of the room was a portrait of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. We sang both O Canada and God Save the Queen. It was so natural for us and we felt this special bond daily.
As I grew older and learned more about Canada and our system of government, my interests turned to the Queen's representatives in Alberta, the lieutenant governors, many of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting over my lifetime: the Honourable Percy Page; Grant MacEwan; Ralph Steinhauer; Charles Lynch-Staunton; Helen Hunley; a former MP from Red Deer, the Honourable Gordon Towers; Bud Olson; Lois Hole; Norman Kwong; Donald Ethell; my dear friend, the Honourable Lois Mitchell; as well as our present Lieutenant Governor, Salmi Lakhani.
I also truly respected the vice-regal occupants at Rideau Hall. Canada's governors general, over Her Majesty's reign, included the Right Honourable Vincent Massey, Georges Vanier, central Alberta's Roland Michener, Jules Léger, Ed Schreyer, Jeanne Sauvé, Ramon Hnatyshyn, Roméo LeBlanc, Adrienne Clarkson, Michaëlle Jean, David Johnston, whom I got to know very well over his term in office, Julie Payette, and our present Governor General, Mary Simon.
For many of us, these people may now just be pictures on the walls of our respective legislatures, but their purpose was to represent Her Majesty on behalf of the people in her realm, and they did that with honour. Not only did these representatives give their hearts and souls to serving us, but their spouses and families brought so much to the offices as well. As all of us in this House know that no one survives in public office without the support of family.
This was uppermost in the minds of my wife Judy and me on our drive to Calgary last Thursday. We were driving to the memorial service for a dear friend, the late Doug Mitchell, husband of the Honourable Lois Mitchell, Alberta's 18th lieutenant governor, when we heard the news of the Queen's passing. She had just sworn in the U.K.'s new prime minister two days before, so even though she was at an advanced age it was still so unexpected. At the memorial ceremony there was an extra sense of sadness and finality as speaker after speaker spoke of the unique connection of Alberta's vice-regal family and that of our late Queen.
I say this as I turn back to my thoughts on the legacy of our Queen Elizabeth, because there was never any doubt that her late husband, His Royal Highness the late Prince Philip, was always by Her Majesty's side and truly made a difference to her as she served her nation and the Commonwealth.
The royal family, and in particular the Queen, have always had a special place in the hearts of Albertans. I was there on that rainy day at the Commonwealth Stadium as the Queen and Premier Klein presented to the crowd, celebrating Alberta's centennial in 2005. It was amazing. Later, as an elected official, I had the privilege to meet Prince Edward during a Duke of Edinburgh award ceremony, Prince William and Princess Kate at the Calgary Stampede, and to stand by as my wife and the Queen exchanged pleasantries when Her Majesty last visited Ottawa.
I generally appreciated each encounter and will always speak highly of the experience. Perhaps I still hear my father's voice.
As Queen Elizabeth surpassed all milestones of service, I think I had overlooked the reality of what the monarchy would be like after she was gone.
In 2012, Canadians showed such pride in our history and celebrated the special bond that existed between Queen Elizabeth and our nation. The Diamond Jubilee medals that celebrated her 60 years on the throne were presented to our fellow citizens for their exemplary service to our nation. It meant so much to so many people. In celebration of her 70 years on the throne, I encouraged grade 6 students within Red Deer—Mountain View to write essays about that one special person in their lives that reminded them of the service and love of humanity best exemplified by Queen Elizabeth II. There were so many beautiful sentiments and such great thoughtfulness expressed by these wonderful students.
What about the reality that we now face? Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch I have known. It is her place in history within the centuries of tradition that I now reflect upon. It is from those reflections that I am now looking forward to the promise of the reign of King Charles III. His responsibilities will be immense, but he has had the greatest of role models.
One of those responsibilities is as head of the Church of England, which has been the foundation of the monarchy for centuries. As such, it has always had a prominent place in my local community of Pine Lake. The historic Holy Trinity Anglican Church is one of many local churches across the country that displays the names of community members who served and died for King and country in the two world wars. My hope is that never again will we need to display the names of young men and women in that same fashion on those walls in the name of any monarch.
One can only pray for strength and wisdom for ourselves and our new King to serve our nation both wisely in peace but firmly in conflict. What better legacy to follow than that of the young Princess who started her journey in service in her wartorn nation and, as Queen, guided it through so many decades with compassion and grace. Princess Elizabeth said, in 1947 on the occasion of her 21st birthday:
I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.
We are so thankful that her life was long. Long live the King.
Mr. Speaker, I listened to almost all the speeches today, whether from here in my seat in this House of Parliament or behind the curtain when I had to step out. I found so many of the speeches erudite and touching.
I learned about history. I learned about the history of our great nation. I learned about the history of democracy. I learned about the history of the Commonwealth. I shared in the wisdom of the words of Queen Elizabeth II that were quoted by different members. I also learned about regional histories, about parts of this country where Loyalists settled. I learned about their attachment to the monarchy, the values that the monarchy represented to them and the values that they brought to this great country of ours.
We also heard many personal stories.
These were stories of ordinary life, stories told by people, by individuals, not about major events but about things they care about.
I heard many stories told by individual MPs about their brushes with the Queen, with royal visits, with meeting the Queen, and of course we have all read stories like the one that was repeated today and I read in The Globe and Mail last week. It was about Catherine Clark and how she knew she could not leave a reception until the Queen left, and how they marched off together, arm in arm. It is a very touching story that, no doubt, is extremely dear to Ms. Clark.
I also read, in the paper, recollections and anecdotes from Prime Minister Mulroney, who spoke about how he spent a very long stretch with the Queen around a very informal lunch at 24 Sussex. How wonderful that memory must be for Mr. Mulroney and his wife Mila.
Of course, we all know that the Queen had a soft spot for Prime Minister Chrétien. We could see it, in fact, on her face. Whenever we see a photo of the Queen meeting Mr. Chrétien, she is beaming. He was no doubt one of her favourite people in the world.
Like all, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch I have known. She has been a constant for me as she has been for countless others. She represents, and this has been mentioned many times in speeches, the bedrock of our constitutional democracy. She represents the constancy of our democracy. Like all here in the House, I deeply appreciate our constitutional democracy. I appreciate its separation of the role of head of state from that of head of government, which provides us with a sense, as has been said by so many, that the institutions are much greater than those who may occupy those institutions at any one period of time, and that our democracy is much stronger than the partisan conflicts that arise from time to time, which, of course, are part of democracy. We have the sense that there is something overarching these political debates and these partisan debates.
I also appreciate, as I am sure so many others in the House do, that Canada, and we cannot separate the history of the Crown from the history of Canada, was not born of violence and revolution. Yes, there has been violence in our past and there has been oppression. These past wrongs need to be addressed, but essentially Canada evolved. It adapted.
That capacity to adapt, that ethic of adapting rather than pushing for violent breaks with the past, I believe, has a lot to do with the Crown and the wisdom of the Crown. We saw this, in fact. It is very important to understand that while Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II did not have legislative power, military power or the power of financial markets, she had the power of moral suasion, the power of the wisdom that she acquired over a lifetime.
I was reading in the paper, related by former prime minister Brian Mulroney, how she supported his policy to end apartheid. As we know, Prime Minister Thatcher was not on the same side as Mr. Mulroney in this historical initiative. The Queen offered her wisdom to Mr. Mulroney and supported him in his quest to end apartheid. We also heard about how the Quebec Act allowed for the peaceful evolution of our nation, a peaceful evolution that respected people's rights. The Crown has been very instrumental in this capacity of our democracy to adapt peacefully.
This goes back to my point, which I just mentioned, that we have heard a lot in the speeches about how the Queen must have so many stories. I know what people mean by that and I revel in that thought, but it is more than stories. She has been more than an observer in history because she has had access to first-hand knowledge and information, intelligence, if we want to call it that. She would have consulted and been consulted by those making very important decisions, so she has been more than an observer. She has been an actor, an actor without the power that we associate with political power but an actor with the power of persuasion, and that is very important. That has been very important in the evolution of our country and the evolution of the Commonwealth.
Of course, in addition to all of this, Her Majesty the Queen embodied certain values and virtues that we can call personal values and virtues, the values of graciousness and kindness, virtues that, quite frankly, are still relevant today and can continue to inform us and produce a more harmonious world, including more harmonious politics.
She was a bedrock presence in our lives and we will miss her. I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to all members of the royal family, all the people of Britain and all those around the world who had an emotional connection with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Madam Speaker, on behalf of the people of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, I offer my condolences to the royal family and all those who are mourning the loss of their beloved Queen.
On September 8, 2022, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, passed away and left a legacy of a service spanning generations. Her Majesty's reign spanned 70 years, something no other monarch has accomplished. For most Canadians, she is the only monarch they have ever known.
At the age of 21, Elizabeth pledged her life to serving others, which she did for five years before unexpectedly becoming Queen. She more than fulfilled that promise and instilled the importance of duty in others until she passed away. For her work, effort, dedication and humility, Her Majesty is credited for being one of the greatest supporters of charity work in the world.
From joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945, to raising $2.2 billion for charities in the United Kingdom and supporting more than 3,000 international organizations, the Queen impacted the lives of people around the world, but her volunteerism and support were not limited to humans. Her Majesty's love of animals is well known. Horses and dogs, particularly Pembroke Welsh corgis, of which she raised 30, also benefited from her kindness.
In assessing her responsibilities as monarch, the Queen stated that service is the more important part of her job. I agree with her sentiment, and as public servants we must follow her example.
I recently had the privilege of recognizing and thanking, in her name, 70 community volunteers in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, in celebration of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. At this ceremony, recipients received a commemorative medallion and Canadian Platinum Jubilee lapel pin, a special memento in honour of Her Majesty being the first monarch in British history to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee.
Platinum is a heavy, yet soft, precious, silver white metal. It is certainly a befitting comparison to a monarch whose reign spanned seven decades and included a world war, diverse economic times, personal tragedy, and much personal sacrifice. The Queen's resilience through it all showed her enduring spirit and steadfast dedication to the vows she took and the people she served. In her 70th year as sovereign, her willingness to deflect the spotlight off herself to include other worthy servants said much about her humility.
The Queen loved Canada and Canada loved her back. God bless the Queen. May she rest in peace. It will not be the same without her.
Long live the King, and God bless Canada.
Madam Speaker, with profound sadness I am here to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
However, on a positive note, I first want to note the 18th anniversary of Melanie Namespetra, who has worked with me on the Hill as a constituency assistant and legislative assistant. We have had a whole series of wonderful moments over 18 years of my 20 years here. I want to thank her and her family for all the work they have done on behalf of Windsor, Ontario, Essex and Canada.
I want to offer my condolences to the royal family. The Queen was a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. The royal family is certainly going through a lot of emotions, even recognizing the fact that it has to share this moment with the entire planet. It is very difficult doing so in the public eye. I wish them the best during this difficult time.
I also want to thank Drew Dilkens, the mayor of Windsor. Our mayor is showing leadership in including the public. There will be a public viewing of the Queen's funeral at 5:45 a.m. on September 19 outdoors at City Hall Square. I want to thank Mayor Drew Dilkens for doing that. As well, there will be a public memorial service at All Saints' Anglican Church at 6 p.m. It is right next to that area. People are asked to RSVP for that.
Of particular note, it will be led by the Essex and Kent Scottish regiment to recognize that this year is the 80th year since Dieppe. The Essex and Kent Scottish regiment played a leading part in those operations and suffered significant losses in their duty during the Second World War. I will talk a bit about that now, with regard to the Queen as well as connections as to why this is important for our country and our Parliament.
I will share a little about my experiences too. I had the chance to meet the Queen in Toronto. I will talk a bit about that later.
I want to note that some of my family came from England. We grew up at the kitchen table hearing experiences about what took place during the war, what took place with the royal family and a number of different connections. My biological grandfather was John Clifford Addison. I did not know him. I have his medals, his soccer medals and war medals. He died on the HMS Scorpion in the fall of Burma.
It was lucky that my grandmother, Irene Attwood, was able to marry Fred Attwood. He served in the Royal Navy on the Ark Royal and the MacCallum. My grandmother, Irene, and my mother, Jean Masse, Jean Attwood at that time, survived the bombing raids in London. My mother just gifted me last year a scrapbook of the Queen that she made during that time and during her teen years.
There are lots of papers and news articles going back to the start, 70 years ago, that were published in the British papers, official programmes and so forth. I will be sharing them on the 16th on my social media. I took some pictures of them.
It is interesting, through the eyes of my mother at that time, to see all the work that went into this collection of materials. I think that experience was translated later on with better understanding. Fred Atwood was a merchant and I mentioned he served in the Royal Navy. He spent a lot of time serving his country, but he came to Canada.
I grew up with big band music playing in the background sitting at the kitchen table with my grandmother making scones and having tea and talking about life in England. Recognizing Her Majesty's commitment during wartime was part of the discussions. It was a continuation of the life they had in England which extended over into Canada.
It is important that we recognize the duration of Her Majesty's tenure. It lasted so long. During her 70-year reign there were 179 individuals who served as her prime ministers, including 15 British and 12 Canadian prime ministers. Her first British prime minister, Winston Churchill, was born in 1874. The last British prime minister to be appointed by the Queen was Liz Truss, who was born 101 years later, in 1975. She was appointed by the Queen just two days before her death.
As I mentioned, I had the chance to meet Her Royal Highness when she visited Toronto. As a child, I was in Windsor, Ontario, when the Queen visited. Like many of my age, we were on the side of the road as she drove by and waved. It was an interesting experience as a kid.
Later on, the Queen participated in a number of ceremonies in Windsor. Obviously, with a name like Windsor, there is a connection that is very strong. As well, we are a border city that fought significantly in the War of 1812. We are also the place of the Underground Railroad. When the British Empire finally got rid of slavery, many people came to our area for freedom from the United States. There was a recognition that it was a better place. Slavery is still one of those issues that languishes. I am hoping that the new King recognizes some of the suffering that still takes place from the awful state of slavery over generations. However, we have those connections.
Later on, it was Jack Layton who was supposed to attend a luncheon for the Queen at the Royal York. Jack, the former member for Toronto—Danforth, could not make it, so I got the call to represent him. It was a 90°C summer day, and I was staying at a hotel. I will try to describe it so that people get an idea of what one goes through.
For people who do not know me, I am not a very formal person. A tuxedo was required. I am not very good at protocol either. However, for me to get into a tuxedo was an accomplishment in itself, let alone doing it during a blackout, which took place at that time. I had to go down the hotel stairs, 11 storeys in 90°C weather, walk over to the Royal York where about 100 guests huddled in the dark.
At the time, we were to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. We were sent a protocol sheet, which was much needed for people like me, to know what to expect. We were to get in line, and when our turn came, we would walk to the Queen, do a certain type of greeting and then move to His Royal Highness. We would then move to another room for the event.
Well, I am terrible at protocol. I got the right greeting for the Queen but when I got to His Royal Highness, I froze, and people were behind me. I said, “Hey man”, and he smiled and laughed, and then I moved on. The moment was kind of special, because I was there to try to be as respectful of the protocol as possible, but it did not matter.
We then moved to the next room for lunch where the Queen spoke. It was interesting, because she talked about Canada. She did not talk about anything other than Canada. She talked about the visits she had made across our country, whether it be the Northwest Territories, British Columbia or the east coast. She mentioned Windsor as well. We had that type of exchange and then the event was over. It was interesting, because I had grown up with this at the kitchen table.
Another interesting thing is that she was the most travelled world leader, having travelled to 117 countries and almost 56 Commonwealth nations. She was also the first monarch to visit West Germany, China, South Africa and other African nations and almost every corner of Canada during her 22 visits. Listening to someone with that type of experience is always interesting in itself, and then having these different connections was really important. I think the kind of common element in what was taking place in Canada was very special.
As I mentioned, her reign was not perfect. One of the things that I am hoping to see is some reconciliation with our first nations. I am hoping that King Charles III does that and will recognize that there has to be more, which is necessary to have reconciliation. It is one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's points, and I am looking forward to that. I think it would help not only myself but maybe young Canadians as well as we try to move forward with a connection to the monarchy in our country, but it needs to come with recognition of what has taken place in the past.
In closing, I send my condolences to the royal family.
Madam Speaker, it is always an honour and a privilege to rise in this chamber and represent the voices of those in Chatham-Kent—Leamington, particularly in this solemn hour and on this day of tribute.
I have only known one sovereign. In fact, over 90% of Canadians have only known one sovereign: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Last night, before boarding the plane to come to Ottawa, I stopped and visited with my parents. They are in their late eighties, so they are part of the 10% cohort who has known two monarchs. They reflected back on the death of King George VI and on the coronation of then Princess Elizabeth, and they recalled the national sadness followed by the pageantry of coronation. I think many of us are also feeling some of those emotions today.
As a child in school, I recall singing God Save the Queen, and that anthem concludes with the following statement:
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.
Well, long did she reign, the longest in the history of the British monarchy. While intuitively we all knew she was not immortal and her death would come, it still comes as a shock, as most of us have always lived with the assumption she was a permanent fixture in our lives.
Her Majesty knew she was not immortal, as she requested the help of her creator and acknowledged her service to him as she took the oath of service to country and Commonwealth at the beginning of her reign almost 70 years ago. This legacy of service, of duty, is what has come to define her reign. While in theory holding ultimate power, she fully understood her role in a constitutional monarchy, where the true power lies in a country's people. In practice, by wielding ceremonial power through leadership by example, she actually had enormous influence, providing the example we should all follow.
Her Majesty's calm and assured voice, her measured tone and her dignified demeanor remained a beacon of stability through many turbulent times in her country, within the Commonwealth, in this world and, yes, even within her own family. Her Majesty was a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother, and it is to her family, the royal family, that I wish to convey my sincerest condolences.
Today we hear much about freedom, but freedom should never be separated from duty. Today we hear much about our rights, but our rights should never be separated from our responsibilities. Our freedoms do not stand in isolation without the duty of a country's citizens to serve. Freedom is not free. Our individual rights are not sustained or sustainable unless we acknowledge and respect our responsibilities to each other and to the collective whole.
Our Constitution is based on this relationship of freedom and duty, of individual rights and responsibilities. Her Majesty's life of devotion, service to country and duty to the Commonwealth inspired many and embodied the intertwined codependency of freedom and duty, of rights and responsibilities and of service and humility.
It was therefore an honour this past summer for me, as a member of Parliament, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of her reign, her Platinum Jubilee, by bestowing platinum pins for service to community, or, said another way, for responsibilities demonstrated to the whole, on residents of Chatham-Kent—Leamington who have emulated the life of service exemplified by Her Majesty. It is these very citizens whose voices I have the privilege of bringing to this chamber.
May Her Majesty rest in peace and may she rise in glory. Long live the King, King Charles III. May God bless Canada.
Madam Speaker, today we are here to commemorate Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and Canada’s longest-serving head of state, Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen lived a long life of duty, stability and public service and was an enduring and steadfast presence on the world stage throughout her seven decades as Queen.
I rise today to express my deepest condolences to the royal family as they mourn the loss of their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Experiencing the death of a loved one is never an easy process, and I hope that as they reflect on the life of Queen Elizabeth II, they can find comfort in the memories of the many moments they shared together. Serving for over 70 years, there is no doubt that Queen Elizabeth II made her mark on this world and in our collective history.
The Queen acceded to the throne on February 6, 1952, after the death of her father, taking on this enormous responsibility while in her twenties. On the global stage, many described her as hard-working and dedicated, always observing her duty to serve. In 1945, during World War II, she became the first woman in the royal family to serve as a full active member of the British Armed Forces when she joined the women's Auxiliary Territorial Service, working as a mechanic and truck driver before rising to the rank of junior commander. Up until her passing, she was the only living current head of state who served in the Second World War.
She later made headlines in 2003 when she drove the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia on a tour of the Queen's castle, perceived as a statement at a time when women did not even have the right to drive in Saudi Arabia. Then, in 2011, the Queen oversaw a change to succession laws that meant sons and daughters of any future British monarch would have equal rights to the throne.
The Queen was well known for her commitment to supporting charity and humanitarian efforts around the globe. She had relationships with over 500 charities, professional bodies and public service organizations, helping to raise over $2 billion for over 600 non-profits during her reign, more than any monarch in history. Organizations she supported included the Red Cross, the Royal College of Nursing and the Disaster Emergency Committee. Queen Elizabeth II was the royal patron to several Canadian charities as well, raising awareness and bringing recognition to the work of these important organizations, including the Canadian Red Cross Society, the Canadian Cancer Society, Save the Children Canada and the Canadian Nurses Association.
As we are a Commonwealth country, the Queen had a special significance to Canada. For the past 70 years, the Queen influenced Canadian history in ways that will continue to be felt into the future.
She was known to refer to Canada as “home”. In describing Canada, she once stated, “I am sure that nowhere under the sun could one find a land more full of hope, of happiness and of fine, loyal, generous-hearted people.” Several notable Canadians attended her coronation on June 2, 1953, including former prime minister Louis St. Laurent, former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas and Chief Joe Mathias from the Squamish Nation.
As the Queen to Canada, her reign extended over the mandates of 12 Canadian prime ministers and 13 governors general. Several of her 22 visits to Canada occurred at critical junctures in Canada's history.
Her first official visit as Queen to Canada was in 1957. On October 14, 1957, she became the first sovereign to open a session of Canadian parliament in person and delivered the throne speech. In 1964, she attended the centennial of two pre-Confederation conferences in Charlottetown and Quebec City. A year later, she signed the royal proclamation that gave Canada its new maple leaf flag. She also took part in the opening ceremonies of the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
In 1982, she returned to Canada for the proclamation of the Constitution to sign Canada’s constitutional proclamation. This enshrined the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and gave Canada independence over its Constitution. It also recognized the treaty rights of indigenous peoples under section 35, an important milestone for the legal recognition of indigenous rights in Canada.
The Queen also visited my home province, British Columbia, seven times in her life. As princess, she visited a Vancouver East landmark, the Pacific National Exhibition, in 1951, and then the Empire Stadium in 1959 as Queen. Hockey fans may remember her visit during the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002, when she dropped the puck at a Vancouver NHL game. These moments help explain the way in which the Queen is embedded in many Canadians' national imagery and socio-cultural traditions.
Our nation's past and present are institutionally tied to the British Crown. For the last 70 years, no legislation has become federal law without Her Majesty's approval through the process of royal assent. To many Canadians, including myself, she is the only head of state we have known, and while we may not think about the British Crown on a daily basis, as we mourn her passing, it also invites a moment of reflection. As the member of Parliament for Vancouver East, a diverse, vibrant and active community, I have been reflecting on what the Queen's passing means for members of the community in Vancouver East.
For veterans in the community and across Canada, many felt a special bond with Queen Elizabeth II. A veteran herself who served in the Second World War, she was the commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces.
The Royal Canadian Legion, Canada’s largest veteran support organization, of which there are branches throughout Vancouver East, has a strong connection to the Crown. A recent statement from the Royal Canadian Legion explained that the use of the word “royal” in the name came about in 1961 upon the Queen providing consent for its use.
The Queen had a special connection to, and publicly showed her support for, Canadian veterans. She visited the National War Memorial in 1967, and later, in 2007, she rededicated the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, declaring, “the Canadian Corps transformed Vimy Ridge from a symbol of despair into a source of inspiration.”
I am thinking about the many veterans in Vancouver East, who find community in the Legion halls throughout the riding and who attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Grandview Park Cenotaph and the Chinese Canadian war memorial. These veterans responded to the duty to serve, not dissimilar to the manner in which the way the Queen responded to her duty to serve.
As a Chinese Canadian born in Hong Kong, which was under British colonial rule until 1997, I also reflect on the meaning of the Queen’s passing to those in my riding who immigrated to Canada from other Commonwealth countries or former British colonies
Given the developments in Hong Kong since the handover, with the national security law, many Hong Kongers are lamenting that they had more freedoms when Hong Kong was under British rule. That being said, we must also acknowledge that not everyone feels able to celebrate the life of a monarch or mourn her loss. Many Canadians feel pain and grief from the harms and injustices of British colonial rule.
The relationship to the Crown may be most significant and most challenging for indigenous peoples in Canada, for whom a direct relationship was established through royal proclamation, followed by the treaty-making process. The issuance of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 served as the foundation in the relationship between indigenous peoples and the Crown, recognizing indigenous land rights under the law and establishing a nation-to-nation relationship. While this predates both Confederation and the Queen’s reign, it is fundamental to Crown-indigenous relations.
It is important, as we reflect on the significance of the Crown's relationship with indigenous peoples, that we open space to hear indigenous voices, many of whom are grappling with the pain of colonization. Rather than bringing up feelings of national pride or nostalgia, the Queen acts as a symbol of colonization.
First nations leaders have called on the Crown to take further action on reconciliation. The B.C. Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Summit and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs have called on the new King to make his first official act a renunciation of the doctrine of discovery, a component of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action number 45. As we reflect on the passing of the Queen, we must also make space to reflect on the damage of colonization that continues to impact indigenous communities.
Madam Speaker, it was a beautiful summer day along the St. Lawrence River on June 26, 1959. In the city of Cornwall, we are accustomed to having guests and dignitaries visit the city every so often, but on that day, at the Moses-Saunders Dam in the city of Cornwall, there were several important visitors. The United States president, Dwight Eisenhower, and then vice-president Richard Nixon were joined by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to open the seaway. The next day they travelled from Cornwall to Long Sault, Ingleside, Morrisburg and then Iroquois. Despite that being decades ago, there are still fond memories for many citizens who got to experience those wonderful days.
That visit to Canada and to my community of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry came seven years into a seven-decade tenure and reign as our head of state. I want to start today with that story of remembrance and with my condolences on behalf of the people and residents of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry on the passing of a wonderful head of state, our Queen.
In the emotions, it has been a bit of a unique feeling over the course of the last week as we have come to grips with a unique time in our history, a transition that few of us have ever seen and may not see again in our lifetimes. There is a sadness, without a doubt, an empty feeling, but there is also an opportunity to reflect and think on the life and service of the Queen. What more could we ask for? At 96 years of age, she had given 70 years of service as Queen and met her 15th prime minister only two days before passing. She was working and serving until her final days.
To think of the history and scope of it, it is fascinating that her first prime minister was Winston Churchill, and she wrapped up 70 years just last week with Liz Truss. In Canada, there were 12 prime ministers, from Louis St. Laurent to our today, the member for Papineau. In our Commonwealth, she had the opportunity to serve and work with 179 prime ministers over her lifetime. It will be a long time before we see a head of state match that feat.
There is a sadness, but there is also a sense of gratitude and thanks. There is the opportunity to mourn, but there is also the time, as we have heard several times in the chamber today, from our , several members of cabinet and those who have had the opportunity to meet her, to share stories about the Queen. We could take a walk down memory lane.
I want to thank Susan Peters from the Dundas County Archives in the western part of my riding, as well as Ian Bowering, who is a retired curator at the Cornwall Community Museum, who documented a couple of other visits and stories between our riding in eastern Ontario, our community, and the Queen.
In 1976, she had a wonderful visit to Upper Canada Village, which today still attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the site nearby, in Morrisburg, Ontario. She visited our area again, the city of Cornwall, in 1984, on a whistle stop tour through eastern Ontario, visiting the Cornwall Civic Complex and Trinity Church and then departing from the train station again. We were blessed to experience first-hand her class, her energy and the enthusiasm she had for our country and our Commonwealth.
Those stories go both ways. We remember the visits, which I have been able to recall here in the chamber today, but also I say it goes the other way around. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II hosted some residents of my community in the United Kingdom from time to time. One that I want to highlight today is retired member of provincial Parliament Jim Brownell, who also served for a period of time as honorary colonel for the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders. He had the honour, in June 2018, of having an audience with Her Majesty in that capacity, as the regiment was celebrating its 150th anniversary at that time. The Queen was the colonel-in-chief and Jim remembers that being an absolute honour.
I think of his Facebook posts. I was going back, thinking of the memories, and I remember Jim posting this: “A great way to celebrate the 150th anniversary of a proud and historic regiment...Will definitely be thinking of the residents and family back home, and those no longer with us. Especially thinking of my parents, today. They would, indeed, be proud.”
That recollection is important because the Queen's service passed over many generations. Young and old alike developed a respect and appreciation for her duty, for her service and for a word that has been used, rightly, many times in this chamber and over the course of the past few days: We thank her for the stability that she provided for our country and our Commonwealth.
That is something that we take for granted. Despite upheavals and challenges around the world, and challenges in our own country, which we face even to this day in various forms, there has been a continuity of democracy and a continuity of stability that she has provided for our country. For that we are grateful.
From the people of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, we say to the royal family that our condolences are with them and our thanks are with them for the visits, for the memories and for all that the Queen did for the betterment not just of the Commonwealth and of Canada but for the world.
To King Charles III, the Queen Consort and the royal family, the King knows he has big shoes to fill and he knows that there are millions of Canadians in this country wishing him well. With all the tradition and protocol and pomp and circumstance that happen with a state funeral on the magnitude of what we are witnessing and will be witnessing in the coming days, it is important to note for the King and the royal family that we are losing a Queen and we are losing a head of state, but they are losing a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother as well. Our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.
We say today, rest well to the Queen, God save the King, and God bless Canada. I appreciate the opportunity to pass our condolences and share some wonderful memories of her 70 years of wonderful service.
Madam Speaker, in 1947, on the occasion of her 21st birthday and while on a world tour with her family, the future Queen Elizabeth II delivered a radio address to the entire Commonwealth of Nations and said:
I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.
I think we can agree that Her Majesty was true to her word. Throughout her remarkable 70 years as Queen, and it was a long life to be sure, she was fully devoted to the service of her many subjects. This includes that vast majority of Canadians born after 1952 who had never known another head of state. Her death last week at the age of 96 is a time for profound sadness and respect.
Every Canadian has some sense of connection to the Queen, whether fleeting or profound. That is because she was always there for us. While we all understood that she had an entire Commonwealth to serve, many of us, including me, like to think that we were her favourite, such was the deep connection she formed with Canada. Queen Elizabeth often said she had to been seen to be believed, and so she worked tirelessly to ensure that she was indeed seen and believed by her public.
Her 22 state visits to Canada include many of the most momentous occasions in the life of our country, including the centennial in 1967, the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, and the repatriation of our Constitution in 1982.
Some visits had unusual twists, like when Her Majesty visited my home province in 1984, and marijuana was found in our premier's luggage in the royal plane. Obviously he did not know how it got there, and a judge even speculated that a member of the media had planted it. It was all a royal fuss, and I am sure many MPs from other provinces have similar colourful stories about the Queen, pot and the RCMP, or maybe not.
Be that as it may, the Queen's experience allowed her to see how we see ourselves. In 2010, on her final visit to our shores, she said, “This nation has dedicated itself to being a caring home for its own, a sanctuary for others and an example to the world.”
The durable relationship between the monarch and her public was the direct result of the Queen's duty and devotion to public service. While these qualities often seem in short supply today, our Queen had them in vast, seemingly limitless quantities. Her sense of duty alone is reason to greatly mourn her passing.
Our Queen served a role of even greater significance than her own personal dedication to public service. I refer here to the role she played in preserving and protecting our remarkable democratic constitutional monarchy. While our system is greatly preferable to a republic, it nonetheless requires an astute but apolitical monarch to function properly.
The Crown must be dedicated to defending the public interest without ever imperilling the natural course of the elected government. She must reign without ruling. Doing so requires a delicate balancing act of tradition and modernity, tradition because Canada's current system of government dates to the earliest stirrings of our country. From the Royal Proclamation of 1763 to the founding of New Brunswick in 1784, a date of particular significance for my constituents, to Confederation in 1867, Canada has grown and thrived under our living constitutional monarchy.
In her interactions with the public and the pomp that surrounded her, the Queen offered repeated reminders of our connection to our institutional foundations, our long democratic traditions and our cultural ties to other Commonwealth nations. However, critics who claim the Crown is too focused on tradition and is an antique institution resistant to change have overlooked the many ways in which Queen Elizabeth was responsible for the remarkable reforms to the institution she embodied.
From embracing new forms of communication to recognizing the revolution in modern relationships, the Crown has changed with the times. Members will recall that the very reason Elizabeth became the Queen was that her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 because, at the time, it was unthinkable for a monarch to marry a divorcee. Today, her son Charles takes the throne with Queen Consort Camilla as his wife. Was the Queen hidebound? Hardly.
In all that she did, Queen Elizabeth exemplified a classically dignified approach to change. She worked tirelessly to defend the institution she represented while recognizing the need for its slow and measured evolution in line with public expectations.
The seamless ascension of King Charles III should be seen as a final testament to Queen Elizabeth’s commitment to the institution of constitutional monarchy. There was never a moment of confusion in the entire process. In fact, it happened before most of us even realized it, and it is happening still as bonds deepen, which is the remarkable authority of the Crown.
Finally, all Canadians can take great comfort in knowing that, as soon as he took his place, King Charles made direct reference to his mother’s own historic pledge from 75 years ago. He said, “That promise of lifelong service I renew to you today.” Such a commitment is exactly what Canadians have, need and expect from their monarch. The virtues of a head of state of discretion, dignity and duty have been passed from mother to son, from Queen to King. Queen Elizabeth’s ultimate and most lasting gift was to ensure her long years of work to safeguard that the continuity and stability of our constitutional monarchy will continue far into the future.
On behalf of my constituents, I recognize all that Her Majesty has done for this great country of ours. I thank our Queen Elizabeth. Long live the King.
Madam Speaker, last Thursday, as I was leaving my home for the airport and a flight to Ottawa, my wife brought to my attention news that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II appeared to be very ill and that the end of her life may be near. My first instinct was disbelief. I could not believe that the news just relayed to me could possibly be anything other than an overreaction or an exaggeration of the severity of her condition. Despite her advanced age, it simply did not occur to me that she could have had anything fewer than five, or maybe even 10, years left. Such was her hold on the consciousness of her subjects and the citizens of her many realms and territories that her mortality seemed beyond belief until her very final hour had come.
Born in 1926, she was among the last of what has been called the greatest generation. She was of the generation that defeated Hitler and steeled itself for the long, ultimately successful, prosecution of the Cold War. She was among the very last people still living to have served actively during World War II and certainly the last head of state to have done so.
It was during the war years that the public's awareness of the young Princess Elizabeth's devotion to duty began, and that devotion to duty would define her eventual 70-year reign. The Princess insisted on joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service when she turned 18, becoming the first and only woman of the royal family's nearly 1,000-year history to have worn a uniform in full-time defence of the realm. She trained as a mechanic and worked as a driver.
Following the war, during her famous 1947 radio address, which was still some years before her ascension, she declared that her life, whether it be long or short, would be devoted to our service. Her life was indeed long, and its total devotion to service would begin a few years later when, at 25 years old, she became Queen Elizabeth II and began what Churchill predicted would be a second Elizabethan age. The only Canadians now living who can recall a time before her reign are now more than 75 years old. The earliest childhood recollection of a world event for some of the very early baby boomers may well be the Queen's 1953 coronation.
She lived through nearly two-thirds of Canada's history and reigned for nearly half of it. She and her husband, Prince Philip, first visited my city in 1951, a few months before her ascension, when a miniature version of the Calgary Stampede was held in October. Of course, there was an early winter storm the night before and the royal couple were photographed sitting stoically in the grandstand watching rodeo and chuckwagon races with a reported temperature of 10°F. That is -12°C. Her sense of duty was very much in evidence, and despite these difficult conditions, Princess Elizabeth was reported in the Calgary Herald at the time as having endeared herself to everyone and expressing interest in visiting Calgary again in the future, which is something that she would go on to do four more times during her reign, most recently in 2005.
She was the perfect human embodiment of a constitutional monarchy. The occasion of her death is an appropriate moment to reflect on the great and enduring strength of this constitutional arrangement, one that underpins Canadian democratic government and our broader society. This is a constitutional arrangement wherein laws are made, laws are carried out and justice is dispensed, not by the sovereign but in the name of the sovereign.
This arrangement has safeguarded the freedom of people who have lived under it for centuries. She reigned with a sense of duty and without an expression of opinion on any public policy, and she did so with dignity and grace. She directly accepted the advice of 15 prime ministers without public comment, yet the memoirs of these prime ministers often mention how much they enjoyed their regular audiences with the Queen. They remarked on her intelligence, how closely she followed national events and the value they placed on her wisdom. This includes such transformational leaders of her time as Churchill and Thatcher.
This lifetime of devotion to her kingdom and her many realms and territories, including Canada, continued right up to and including the second-last full day of her life when she personally accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and invited Liz Truss to form a government in her name, thus becoming the final prime minister of her reign, a reign that began 70 years earlier when Sir Winston Churchill was prime minister.
Of that day, which was a week ago this past Tuesday, outgoing Prime Minister Johnson said, “she was as radiant and as knowledgeable and as fascinated by politics as ever I can remember and as wise in her advice as anyone I know, if not wiser.”
Such was her devotion to duty that, at age 96, while approaching her final hours, she presided over another seamless and orderly transfer of executive power from one prime minister to another. With her passing, another seamless transition takes place, which is that of the ascension of her son, King Charles III, a man who has already spent his life in service and in preparation for this moment, and who will undoubtedly serve with the same devotion to duty, honour, dignity and grace observed at close hand from his mother.
To the royal family and to all those over whom Queen Elizabeth reigned, I offer my condolences. May she rest in peace, and may the King long reign over us.
Madam Speaker, it is an honour today to have an opportunity to express my condolences and also, on behalf on the constituents of the people of Courtenay—Alberni, to have the opportunity to rise today in the House to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. My thoughts are with the royal family, for their loss of a mother, a grandmother and great-grandmother, and with millions of others throughout the Commonwealth and beyond who relied on the Queen for comfort in times of uncertainty. May she rest in peace.
First, I want to express my appreciation for the many people in my community who are setting up services for Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, and also my disappointment that I cannot join them because I will be attending the national commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II here in Ottawa.
I want to thank the organizers of the many events in our riding, especially the Legions in our riding. We know that, back when the Queen was crowned in 1952, it was a different world. She took on the assumption of head of state at a time that was just after World War II, and her role in World War II gave her a lot of experience in and understanding of the need for dedication, commitment, empathy and strength. Our country was very different at that time. We were blessed with the visits of the Queen many times, and I am going to speak a bit about that and focus my attention on that because we have heard the many accolades for the many service roles that the Queen played, not just here in Canada but throughout the Commonwealth. It is a huge tribute to the Queen and her dedication and service to her role.
I want to talk about her visits to Vancouver Island. There have been many stories written in my local communities since the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II last week. Stories are pouring in throughout my riding.
Erin Haluschak, a local reporter in the Comox Valley Record, did a story that outlined and talked about the visits of the Queen to Courtenay back in 1971. She made a stop at Lewis Park, a really important visit in our community. She again visited the area in 1994, when she was opening the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, which as all of us remember was a huge honour for Canada to host. Certainly for British Columbia and for Vancouver Island, it was an incredible memory for all of us that we will never forget.
I also want to express thanks to Susie Quinn, a local reporter for the Alberni Valley News. She wrote a wonderful story in the Alberni Valley News about the visit of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip to our community more than 70 years ago, a little more than three months before she became our Queen. I want to thank her for outlining and talking about the Alberni Valley Museum. There was this wonderful photo that accompanied her story as well, which many of us know. It shows their visit, and it is a really great reminder.
We are proud that she chose to come to our community on her very first visit to Canada. Most of us have known no other sovereign, including me. She was a constant presence in our lives. I join many others in offering our heartfelt condolences to the members of her family, and in our prayers, she will certainly be there.
I am going to talk about some of the moments and some of the stories that people have shared. I am going to quote from that story from Susie Quinn. She writes:
Princess Elizabeth ascended the throne a few months [after her visit], on Feb. 6, 1952, after her father King George VI died. She was formally crowned Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953.
At the time of their visit, the Alberni Valley was a thriving forestry town. It was a big deal for the Vancouver Island city to be included on a tour that featured appearances in places like Toronto, where hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets to greet the royal couple.
Port Alberni resident Bob Cole—
Bob Cole is a famous fisher in our community, who has been around for a long time.
—said he was only five years old when Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited the city in 1951. At the time his parents, Arnold and May Cole, owned Klitsa Lodge at Sproat Lake. The lodge was known for its elite clientele, especially American business magnates and Hollywood stars.
“Klitsa couldn’t accommodate her entourage, but she and Prince Philip came out to tea at the lodge, served by my mother and father and staff at the lodge,” he recalled. The Queen’s entourage numbered 60 people and the lodge could only accommodate 46, so the group stayed at Eaglecrest near Qualicum Beach. “They came for tea. They stopped and had photographs taken at Sproat Falls.”
Patty Archer said her mother was 13 years old and used to tell the story of standing along the parade route. “She always remembered the thrill of the royal couple coming to the rather remote Alberni Valley,” Archer wrote in a social media post. “She was a staunch fan of the Queen her whole life.”
Joyce Evans remembers watching the then-Princess as the royal couple drove through Alberni on Johnston Road. “We went there with our teachers from Alberni Elementary School,” she said. “My mom, who passed away in March, remembers this day,” Helena Sperling-Beaulieu said. “She was a teenager watching. It was a fond memory for her.”
Ann Carney stated, “It’s very sad. I mean she did a wonderful job at 96.” Ann works at Churchill's British Imports in Parksville. She said, “A lot of people have been in today and are kind of sad about it. We all said what a wonderful woman she was and how hard-working she was.
Lorraine Bell, the Qualicum Beach Museum manager stated in a release, “Qualicum Beach has been visited by the Royal Family and served as a place of rest and relaxation several times over the years.”
In 1951, before her coronation, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip paid an informal visit to Eaglecrest Lodge back when the population of Qualicum Beach was just 760.
I will read from the PQB news social media page. Linda Thomas writes, “I think the Queen did very well at her job. She was steadfast, kind, dedicated and never veered far from doing her duty. She served during the war. She knew what war was. I haven't known any other monarch. May she rest in peace.” Those are very kind words.
My late great-grandmother, Winifred Denholme, and my late grandma, Joan Pearsell, were huge royal followers. Certainly, the Queen was a role model to them.
I reached out to my mom, Judy, to see how she was feeling about things and she wrote me a message. She said, “The Queen will be truly missed beyond any words I could ever express. Every time I saw her, she reminded me of grandmother, so full of faith, grace and love. She was an example to us all. At the end of the day, it is never about the positions we hold but rather about the gift of love and kindness we share with one another. She will be missed.”
As a young guy, I was certainly brought up following the royal family. I got dragged to Victoria to see the Queen downtown when she was visiting in 1983. I have to say that I will never forget the warmth of the wave from the Queen. It was very kind and loving. I very much appreciated her gentle approach in her role.
I cannot say enough about her sense of humour. She stood with Paddington Bear at 96 years old. It was a great demonstration of the fun person she was. I would have brought a marmalade sandwich today, but I am not allowed props in here. Again, it was a fun way to show that she really did enjoy her life.
The death of the Queen does highlight the important work of the monarchy to address past injustices. Many people around the world have had a troubled history with the British Crown, including colonialism, slavery, and the treatment of indigenous peoples here in Canada.
King Charles III has this opportunity for the first time in his life to move the monarchy forward in a way that he has never been able to and that is acceptable to today's generation. We know that on his most recent trip to Canada he cited that he had met with survivors of residential schools who demonstrated courage and shared their experiences. He acknowledged their suffering and talked about how much his heart went out to them and their families, but he has to go further. I hope that he will take that on sincerely in his new role and listen to indigenous elders and indigenous leaders and support the 94 calls to action.
Again, Queen Elizabeth II performed her role well with duty, service and devotion. I will truly treasure her memory. May she rest in peace.
Madam Speaker, before I begin, I want to offer my condolences and sympathies to all those affected by the tragic stabbings on James Smith Cree Nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire community.
It is an honour to rise today at this special sitting to provide some words of tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen's passing on September 8 has shaken us all. Last week, the world lost a monumental figure. Her Majesty was the epitome of grace, class and duty.
I would like to send my deepest condolences to the royal family and to Canadians across the country. We, as a nation, are in mourning over the passing of our Queen, and the numbers speak for themselves. In England, lines of mourners stretched for five kilometres, and in Canada, our online book of condolences alone contains more than 170 pages of signatures, and I am sure there are a lot more since I wrote this speech earlier.
In my own constituency office in Brampton West, hundreds of people have stopped by to pay their respects. Words used to describe the Queen in the press and in the books of condolences evoke her grace, her dedication to service, as well as her humour and diplomacy. To many, including me, she was a beautiful presence, a beacon of hope and stability in a shifting and increasingly fractured world.
In public life, she modelled respect, duty and humility, qualities that are sorely lacking in today's political dialogue. Her Majesty was the Queen for almost half of Canada's existence. Her reign spanned more than seven decades, and in that time, she witnessed and participated in Canada's growth and prosperity as it grew into the strong, inclusive country it is today.
Over the course of the past seven decades, Her Majesty was always there for many of our major milestones. It was only 40 years ago that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was adopted with the signing of the proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982, by Her Majesty and the former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
She was present for the proclamation of the national flag of Canada in 1965, the establishment of the Order of Canada and broader Canadian honour systems in 1967, and the celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the admission into Confederation of Manitoba, the Northwest Territories in 1970, British Columbia in 1971 and Prince Edward Island in 1973. Her Majesty was also present for the drop of the puck at the NHL hockey game in Vancouver in 2002.
On one of her many visits to Canada, she also visited the City of Brampton to celebrate the 100th anniversary as a town in 1973. I was not born then, but I can say that on her royal tour, she and Prince Philip were taken to Gage Park during the official centennial celebrations. I know many Bramptonians still remember that day and have talked about that day in many of the conversations I have had with my constituents over the last week.
There are so many more moments that Canadians will cherish forever. Her Majesty remains the first Canadian monarch to open Parliament and deliver a speech from the throne in 1957. She was the first female member of the royal family to actively serve in the military and had a meaningful relationship with the Canadian Armed Forces as their commander-in-chief. She visited many ships and military bases across the country and presided over many military ceremonies.
Canada, of course, was the most frequently visited country by Queen Elizabeth II, and she had a strong relationship with our country. She made it a point to tour every province and territory, beginning with a five-week cross-country tour in 1951, which was followed by 22 official visits over the years. She often called Canada home and described us as a land “full of hope, of happiness and of fine, loyal, generous-hearted people.”
It was in 1947, at the age of only 21, that she vowed her whole life would be devoted to the service of the Commonwealth, and she honoured that promise until her very last day at the age of 96.
In 2002, Her Majesty reminded the world of the importance of service, community and compassion through her words, “Our modern world places such heavy demands on our time and attention that the need to remember our responsibilities to others is greater than ever.”
Her Majesty embodied these very words herself through her devotion and commitment to service. She was a sponsor of over 600 organizations, including 36 in Canada, many of which reflected her own interests and passions, such as education, health, children and science.
Her Majesty was a role model for selfless service that inspired so many here at home and across the globe. She will forever be remembered for her commitment to service, volunteerism and the betterment of society.
As Minister of Seniors, I have often reflected on the powerful and inspiring example the Queen gave of the value and worth of all elders. She worked to serve others until her final breath. Her resilience and contributions well into her advanced years are a reminder that seniors are a valuable asset. That makes us a very lucky nation. Canada's seniors are growing in ranks, so we can lean on a multitude of older Canadians to guide us into the next era.
Canadians will remember Her Majesty for her wisdom, advice and compassion. She was a source of stability and strength for all. She brought guidance, direction, confidence and courage to our nation and never failed to provide steady and reassuring messages, especially during times of global crisis, and particularly recently with the COVID-19 pandemic. Her words always held great weight.
It was in 1974 that she said these lines, which have stuck with me since the very first day I came across them: “We may hold different points of view but it is in times of stress and difficulty that we most need to remember that we have much more in common than there is dividing us.” These words have held a large place in my heart and serve as a constant reminder for all of us of how similar we truly are, regardless of our backgrounds or political stripes.
Her Majesty has always had a constant presence in the life of Canada, and she will be deeply missed. She had a deep love for Canadians and Canada, and she will be remembered for generations to come. On behalf of all Canadians, I thank her for her countless years of service and dedication and for the vow she made 75 years ago, which she never steered from.
My thoughts go out to her family, for whom she was a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I know I join many Canadians, including in my own community of Brampton West and across the country, in mourning the end of an era.
I also wish to commend His Majesty King Charles III on his accession to the throne. His commitment to service, his focus on climate and his commitment to renewed Crown-indigenous relations all bode well for the future. Long live the King.
Madam Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and to offer my sincere condolences and those of the constituents of Brandon—Souris to her family and loved ones.
Upon the death of Her Majesty, it feels like we have lost a member of our family, because we have; someone so familiar, so ever-present and so enduring. Her Majesty was timeless.
On the year of her Platinum Jubilee, and after her final official duty of asking the incoming British Prime Minister to form a new government, she sadly left us after a lifetime of service.
From serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service as a mechanic in the British army during World War II, to her passion for assisting charities, and her many official duties, she has never been one to stay idle.
Her Majesty was not just the Queen of the United Kingdom and the head of the Commonwealth, she was Canada's Queen.
She said this during her visit to Canada in 2010:
My mother once said that this country felt like a home away from home for the Queen of Canada. Prime Minister, I am pleased to report that it still does.
No matter where she went, throngs of Canadians, both young and old, would wait for hours to shake her hand or to get a glimpse of her. It has been inspiring to see so many from around the globe share their heartwarming stories and their interactions. For many, Queen Elizabeth II was a symbol of grace and eloquence. To others, she was their head of state and commander-in-chief. To all of us, she was an extraordinary woman and embodied the very best of duty and service to others. She transcended generations. While everything changed around us, she was a pillar. During the most tumultuous times, she provided stability. She was a north star to many and a role model to millions. Quite simply, she was not just a queen; she was my Queen.
From a young boy going to school in Elgin, Manitoba, she was present in our morning singing of God Save the Queen, and her picture was prominently displayed in our school. Our family watched Her Majesty's annual Christmas Day speeches and took to heart her words of encouragement and calls to action. For her, faith, family, community, charity and dedication to her subjects were paramount. From being the first monarch to open a Canadian parliamentary session, to celebrating Canada's centennial, to being there on the day we patriated our Constitution, she was ever-present.
Anyone who went to a hockey game at the old Winnipeg Arena would fondly remember the most magnificent painting of Her Majesty nicely settled between the two flags.
For myself, the first act of becoming a member of Parliament in 2013 was to swear that I would be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It is the same oath every single living member of Parliament, current or retired, has taken for 70 years.
Over her reign, many Canadians, including myself, felt a deep connection to the Queen. During her reign, she made 22 visits to Canada. From dropping the ceremonial puck, as has been mentioned many times today, at a Vancouver Canucks hockey game, to watching her daughter compete at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, she and her family were no strangers when they visited our country.
Personally, I had the opportunity to meet her son, Prince Edward, twice while I was a member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly. The first time was during a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting, which, ironically, was held on Prince Edward Island. The second time was in Winnipeg, where he presented the Duke of Edinburgh gold medals to Manitoba's top cadets, two of whom were from my provincial constituency of Arthur-Virden at that time.
My most memorable occasion with Her Majesty was having the opportunity to shake her hand during one of her six visits to Manitoba. It was at the legislature in 2002 to celebrate her Golden Jubilee while I was an MLA. While it was only a brief encounter, her warmth and grace shone through. It was during that visit that thousands of Manitobans had travelled to the city to celebrate her jubilee.
It was also an extraordinary moment when she unveiled the refurbished Golden Boy statue, which is pitched on the dome of the Manitoba legislature. To have the Queen, on her Golden Jubilee, unveil the Golden Boy, which is one of Manitoba's most famous symbols, is a memory I will never forget.
During Her Majesty's many trips to Manitoba, she was able to visit even the smallest rural and remote communities, including Churchill, Thompson, Gillam, Flin Flon, Norway House, Swan River, The Pas, Dauphin, Carman and many others. She visited these communities to better understand the province and the people who call it home.
Just recently, The Brandon Sun ran a wonderful story about the Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Anne and now King Charles's 1970 visit to the Bailey farm outside of Carberry, Manitoba. They were able to take a moment out of their busy schedule to ride horses and inspect the crops at the Bailey farm. Sure enough, 40 years after her farm visit, Mr. Bailey had an opportunity to meet the Queen in Winnipeg. She spoke fondly of her time on his family farm. This speaks volumes to me that the Queen was just as comfortable on a farm in rural Manitoba as she was at a state banquet or at Buckingham Palace.
Her love for the outdoors and horses remained constant throughout her years, and of course we all know of her dogs, her dear corgis. Since 1969, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has donated eight horses to Her Majesty, with her favourite being the first horse, which was named Burmese. When Burmese retired from parades and public duties, the Queen said, “Right, I’m retiring too, from those I’m not going to ride anymore because without Burmese it won’t be the same.”
To symbolize their unique relationship and her connection with Canada, a statue of Burmese and Her Majesty can be found north of the Saskatchewan legislature and a second can be found outside the Governor General's residence here in Ottawa. They will stand as a lasting reminder of her love of our country and will connect us with past and present.
I wish to remark on Queen Elizabeth II's devotion to task.
Last week was historic. On Tuesday, she welcomed Liz Truss, the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, with a formal handshake. Our Queen passed away on Thursday, and on Saturday, a new in Canada was elected. I doubt three such significant events between our two nations will ever happen again in such a short span of time.
After seven decades, it is hard to imagine a world without her. It is impossible to encapsulate her positive influence in Canada and in our own lives. Her Majesty's legacy is profound, and it marks the end of an era and the beginning of another. May her memory live long in our hearts and her devotion to duty inspire us as we carry on our work to serve the people we represent.
God save the King.