Madam Speaker, as we rose yesterday to observe a minute's silence marking the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, it struck me that it was such an honour and a privilege to be in this place at such a historic moment. I hope that is something we all realize here in the House.
I had not intended to speak, but my thoughts made their way to my family and the connection I have with them now, especially my grandson James, and the connection that being in this place forges for each of us with the descendants who will only know us by the memories we leave.
The memories that our Queen, whose entire reign I have witnessed, has left for us give us an opportunity to reflect on what we too will leave, not only for our families but for our country, given the contribution to our national history that each of us has been privileged to offer by virtue of being here. I know that what we have an opportunity to offer in this moment will be captured as long as there is a Canada. This can be as enduring to our families as that part of unforgettable history our Queen has given to all of us.
My reflections will begin with the fact that our new King, Charles Ill, is of my time. I will reflect more on this in a few moments. King Charles, in fact, is two years younger than I am. Just as he grew up in the realm of the royal family, I grew up in the glow and influence the royal family had on post-war Canada.
Both my grandfathers served for King and country in World War I. Both my parents did likewise in World War II. I was around when King George VI was King and on the throne, and when Sir Winston Churchill and Mackenzie King were prime ministers.
I remember the Queen's coronation, and I remember Canadians' love and affection for her and her love of horses and steam locomotives, not to mention the grease under her fingernails as a mechanic and truck driver during the war. This established her place in our hearts long before her coronation, and learning of her love for Canada only made the bond stronger for my family. I remember my mom getting teary-eyed so many years after the fact whenever she spoke about the abdication of King Edward VIII, and I remember going to the movies where, at the end of the film, the Union Jack would come on the screen and we would all stand for the Queen.
There are a couple of moments I would like to share. One of them starts in 1939, even before my time, when King George and the Queen Mother visited Vancouver to officially open the Lions Gate Bridge and the Hotel Vancouver. The hotel celebrated its anniversary 60 years later by offering amnesty to anyone who had lifted something from the hotel over the years. There was a prize for the most unique item.
Members can imagine my shock and embarrassment to see in the Vancouver Province newspaper that the winner was a relative, my uncle, George Daws, who presented the hotel with a beautiful little sherry glass from which the Queen Mum had sipped. Uncle George hastened to inform all that another uncle, his brother Danny, served the Queen Mum at the hotel during the royal visit, and that it was Danny who pinched the sherry glass. Only now do I reveal the family connection.
For the other moment, we need to fast-forward to the American bicentennial in 1976. At that time, I was working at CFOB, a radio station in Fort Frances, Ontario, right across the river from International Falls, Minnesota. I had the privilege of interviewing photographer John De Visser, who had contributed photos from our region to Canada's bicentennial gift to the United States, Entre Amis, a wonderful collection of photos from along our world's longest, undefended border. John's photos, by the way, grace the National Gallery of Canada and many other places across our country.
During our broadcast, John mentioned that he had been commissioned by the royal family to photograph Prince Charles's 1975 visit to the Canadian north. This was the one where our future King dove underneath the Arctic ice for half an hour to the great worry and wringing of hands everywhere from Ottawa to London. He, by the way, also sampled raw seal liver, which cemented his reputation, at least with me, as either a fearless adventurer or at the very least a very good sport.
There was a big dinner thrown for the Prince of Wales. The whole community was there and they dined on all of the exquisite delicacies that people in the north are fortunate to enjoy. As the story goes, and as John De Visser told it because he was there taking pictures, after the main course, a young Inuit lad was clearing away Charles's dishes. The boy leaned across the table and whispered, “Lick your fork, Duke; there's pie.” If members are fans of Canadian literature, they will see this story recounted in Mordecai Richler's novel Solomon Gursky Was Here.
I would like to end with a reflection about the young fellow who grew up with me and who mourns his mom as I did mine, but who now takes on the enormous mantle of responsibility and history as King Charles III.
Here is someone who has been educated, mentored and shaped his whole life to fulfill a unique constitutional roll as a monarch. He represents the kind of continuity of experience, values and perspective that republics, at least the democratic ones, lack. There is something valuable in that, and it provides our nation with a foundation that serves us well.
Charles III carries with him the values that he and I grew up with, shaped, though, by the monumental changes and challenges human affairs have presented us over our past 70-plus years. He, like most of the generation he and I come from, has had to developed a certain resilience of perspective and adaptation to change.
He will do well, and his son Prince William, the Prince of Wales, will in time benefit from the hand-off he receives from his dad. The education and mentoring William receives, added to the rich history and continuity of the monarchy, will be uniquely placed to offer our nation, and the whole world, the perspective and wisdom that he will be able to provide, plus his modern perspective on the world. This will prove invaluable to everybody around the globe, God willing.
This is not just nostalgia talking. It is projecting the unique strengths Canada has enjoyed, thanks to the royal family, off into its future as one of the world's great and strongest democracies. It is with an eye to that future that many of us with longer life experiences say with great fondness, “Thank you and God bless Queen Elizabeth II” as she, her prince, her corgis and her horses all enjoy their eternal peace.
We will also add, with conviction and hope, God save the King.
Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise today, as parliamentarians on all sides of the House remember, honour and pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, our sovereign, our head of state, commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces, a global leader, a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother.
I want to start, as a member of Her late Majesty's Privy Council and a member of Parliament, by expressing my deepest sympathies to the royal family. While the Queen was an icon to people around the world, possibly the most recognizable figure, to them she was a mother. She was leader of the family, and she was someone they could go to in good times and bad.
I also want to pledge my allegiance, as Canada does within its constitutional monarchy, to our new King, Charles III. Long live the King.
There have been many great reflections on Her Majesty in the last week. We are still in a bit of shock, despite the fact that her 70 years on the throne led to us knowing that this day would come. It is still a very difficult day, so I looked to two of the greatest Britons for inspiration, one being the Queen, the longest-serving monarch and a great leader, the other being their longest-serving member of Parliament. At 64 years in Parliament, Sir Winston Churchill did not reach the Platinum Jubilee levels of the Queen, but he was her first prime minister, and he had remarkable thoughts about the Queen that I will share with the House today.
In fact, in 1928, Winston Churchill met Princess Elizabeth at two years of age, at Balmoral Castle. In a letter to his wife, Clementine, he said, “There is no one here at all except the Family, the Household & Princess Elizabeth—aged 2. The last is a character. She has an air of authority & reflectiveness astonishing in an infant….” At that time, given a later abdication, Winston Churchill never would have thought that that young princess would be his queen and he, her first prime minister.
What is more remarkable is the next speech I am going to give. Canada, really the leader within the Commonwealth, particularly in the modern age, was pushing within the Commonwealth to end apartheid and pushing for aid, security and trade around the world through our common bonds in the Commonwealth.
In 1953, just days before the Queen's coronation, at a gathering of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association at which both the Queen and Canada were present, Winston Churchill said, “Here today we salute fifty or sixty Parliaments and one Crown. It is natural for Parliaments to talk and for the Crown to shine.” He went on to say, “Well do we realize the burdens imposed by sacred duty upon the Sovereign and her family. All round we see the proofs of the unifying [force] which makes the Crown the central link in...our modern changing life, and the one which above all others claims our allegiance to the death.”
The Queen did shine with a remarkable brilliance for over 70 years on the throne, not just in the United Kingdom, but in Canada and around the world. She was the central link for our parliamentary democracy for almost half of our time as an independent country.
I would now like to say a few words in French, one of the two founding languages of our country. Interestingly enough, the greatness of the Quebec nation was enshrined in our Constitution and guaranteed by the Crown. Throughout our country's history, the Quebec nation has faced challenges and discrimination. Despite that, Quebeckers have grown strong and proud. Today, we have a nation that is proud of its language, culture and identity thanks to the people of Quebec, the constitutional monarchy, and the Constitution of a country founded by two peoples in partnership with the first nations.
I am proud to stand in the House of Commons and speak in French, thanks to my service in a bilingual federal institution. Canada is not perfect. There are challenges facing francophone minority communities in some parts of the country.
We live in the best country in the world, thanks to our history and our two peoples. North America is home to an island of 7 million francophones in a sea of 600 million Anglophones, and we neighbour the most influential nation in the world, the United States. However, the Quebec nation and French-speaking communities are thriving from coast to coast to coast. That is incredible. We must remember that and celebrate it.
The Queen shone when she was here for 22 official visits, meeting millions of people. She said this in the nearby chamber for her Silver Jubilee in 1977: “My happiest memories of our travels throughout Canada have been these individual contacts, which have revealed the enormous strength and astonishing diversity of this nation.”
She was the mother of all people, a title given to her in the 1950s by the Coast Salish people in British Columbia, commander-in-chief of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the honorary captain, honorary air commodore or honorary colonel of 16 regiments; 34 of our commissioned ships are Her Majesty's Canadian ships, and I wear the tie today of one institution, Royal Military College, that was given her seal.
One of those regiments is something that touched this Parliament not long ago, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, Princess Louise's. The Queen was their honorary colonel. Going back to 1951, when she was a princess, she visited then. She visited again in Hamilton in 2002 to bestow new colours on the regiment.
However, it is not in celebration that the Queen's leadership was evident. It was in 2014, when one of their soldiers was killed not far from here, at our National War Memorial. The Queen's letter to the regiment was the first to arrive. Her wishes were expressed to the family of Nathan Cirillo and to the regiment. Months later, she invited members of the regiment to her private apartment at Buckingham Palace, not only to express sympathies but also to inquire as to how the son and family of Nathan Cirillo were doing.
These were not honorary titles that the Queen just took without caring about them. She was deeply committed to every institution that she was the central link to, as Winston Churchill once said. She was the commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces. My first oath to the Queen was given in 1991, at the age of 18, when I swore an oath of allegiance. I have had that honour many times, as a member of Parliament and in 2015, when I joined what was then Her Majesty's Privy Council, that central link in these institutions upon which our rich parliamentary democracy is built. She is the central link to the great mother, Queen Victoria, and our rights and responsibilities and the constitutional rights for indigenous peoples in this country. She is a patron and has been a supporter of innumerable causes in her 22 visits to this country.
The Queen's first speech from the throne in person in Canada was years after the creation of NATO, and she has been there as our sovereign as our country grew in the modern age, from NATO to the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, Expo 67, the Montreal Olympics and, of course, the 1982 patriation of Canada's Constitution, which in many ways was the full-circle moment for the Queen to help deliver the modern Canada on the world stage and showcase our commitment to the fundamental rights of all of our citizens in the charter. The Queen said on that day, April 17, 1982, just outside where we are today, “I am pleased and proud to be with you today, not only to celebrate the patriation of the Constitution, but to rejoice in Canada, its past, its present and its future.”
Today, let us rejoice in the life of service and the leadership of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Let us remember where she shone on her visits here and around the world, and let us remember that that central link of our constitutional monarchy has provided stability and helped build great institutions upon which we rely as Canadians. In this Parliament, we can celebrate, debate and discuss the future of this country, knowing it is rooted in the fertile soil of our Constitution and our roots.
Today, we say, “The Queen is dead. We celebrate and honour her life. Long live the King.”
Madam Speaker, as a woman myself, I feel compelled to pay tribute to the Queen for the woman she was.
I would like to begin by expressing my most sincere condolences to Her Majesty's family and every Commonwealth citizen saddened by her death.
Today I would like to talk about the woman who bore the great title of Queen of 15 Commonwealth countries and head of the Commonwealth, a role she fulfilled to the very end of her life.
Throughout her 70-year reign, she performed her duties with dignity, strength and composure while also carrying out her roles as wife, woman, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. During her reign, the Queen demonstrated remarkable agility in wearing all the hats a woman must wear on a daily basis. Let us not forget that she reigned during a time when women fought very hard for recognition of their rights.
She encountered many a storm throughout her life, but she always kept a steady hand on the tiller. She honoured all her responsibilities with devotion. She always recovered from setbacks with her characteristic grace and strength. She set an example for us all.
We will always remember her as a strong, bold woman. Few women will ever leave as indelible a mark on history as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. May she rest in peace.
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today. I know that much has been said over the last day and will continue to be said this morning in this place. I am glad and honoured to be here to lend my thoughts about the remarkable life and service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the people that I represent in Barrie—Innisfil.
I want to begin by expressing my deep and sincere condolences to the family of Her Majesty and to King Charles. I hope they are finding great comfort with the outpouring of love and respect on such a grand scale by all of her, and now his, loyal subjects in every part of the Commonwealth and, indeed, in all corners of the world.
The Queen's passing, frankly, has been like the loss of a family member, as it should. Her Majesty is the only monarch a generation-plus has known, and we have experienced every moment of her life, every joyous occasion, every triumph, every sorrow and every challenge.
I looked back at just some of the historical events that our Queen has presided over in her 70 years of reigning the Commonwealth, and they are quite remarkable. Much has been said over the last couple of days about that, but it is important to highlight that her service did not just start with her coronation in 1953. It started well in advance of that, in 1945, when the Queen joined the British military when she turned 18. She joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, ATS, as a mechanic during World War II. The Queen made a state visit to the United States, where she addressed the nations of the United Nations General Assembly, on behalf of the Commonwealth, and then she opened the 23rd Canadian Parliament, becoming the first monarch in Canada to open a parliamentary session. She was the first monarch to visit West Germany.
There were so many disasters, so many joys and so many triumphs. I am thinking back to 1966 and the Aberfan disaster, which led, eventually, to the 1969 Mines and Quarries Act.
In 1975, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, paid their first visit to Hong Kong. This was the first visit to Hong Kong by a reigning British monarch. As has been mentioned, she opened the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom, which meant that the people of Great Britain had, effectively, two iron ladies.
In 1982, on April 17, Queen Elizabeth II and then prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, as well as then minister of justice Jean Chrétien and André Ouellet, the then registrar general, signed the proclamation that brought the Constitution Act of 1982 into force. The proclamation confirmed that Canada had formally assumed authority over its constitution, the final step to full sovereignty, not far from where we are today.
In 1991, she addressed a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, following the coalition victory in the Gulf War. In 2015, she became the longest-reigning British monarch, surpassing her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.
There has been sorrow, much sorrow, including the loss of her beloved husband of 74 years, Prince Philip, in 2021. Of course, this year, the Queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, after a record of 70 years on the throne.
As the most widely travelled Commonwealth monarch, Queen Elizabeth II made 22 official visits to Canada and seven to Toronto. Her first was in 1951, as Princess Elizabeth, where she visited in place of her father, who was ill, and her last was in 2010.
Through everything, she did it with strong determination, grace, humility, wisdom, loyalty and, above all, selfless service.
She was also modernizing the monarchy, bringing it into the 21st century. Think for a minute how communication and technology changed over her lifetime and how she ably adapted to that, from that first radio address pledging herself to a life of service, to a recent video with Paddington Bear on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee. She was always there to communicate and give comfort in good times and in bad.
We will miss her steady hand and her confidence that no matter how bad things are, they will be better. For me, Her Majesty's eternal optimism and humility is what I will miss the most.
I am sure by now, since the Queen's passing, millions of people around the world have seen that Paddington Bear video produced just three months ago for the Platinum Jubilee concert. It was one of the last times any of us saw the Queen before her passing because she was just not fit enough to attend the concert.
It is stated in a recent BBC article that the video was written by some of the people who worked on the Paddington films. They said, “We knew Paddington and the Queen stood for, and still do stand for, certain similar values—the idea that, be kind and polite and the world will be right.” That was said by co-writer James Lamont recently in a BBC Radio 5 interview.
He also said:
It just felt very natural that those two could share a space together. They would both welcome each other, because they're both cut from the same cloth.
We also thought there was some inherent comedy in the idea of Paddington, who we know is a bit of a klutz and a bit of a bull in a china shop at times—putting him in Buckingham Palace in front of the Queen, where etiquette and behaviour are obviously paramount.
Little did anyone know that the video produced through the magic of television would provide so much comfort to so many in this time of grief, but it has. There is a scene in the video where the clumsy bear, after squishing his lunch, reaches into his hat and offers Her Majesty his marmalade sandwich, his favourite, saying he always keeps one for emergencies, to which she replies, after reaching into her purse, “So do I...for later.” Today, so do I, for later.
At that moment, they came together and embodied so many of the values that the world needs right now: kindness, toleration, being kind to strangers and politeness, things that are about one's character. It is those values that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth embodied throughout her whole life, no matter how good or how bad things were. That is what made her so special and it is what we should all strive to be.
Today, I pledge my allegiance to King Charles III. As I conclude, I will leave everyone with the words of a clumsy, lovable bear who became an unlikely royal mascot, who has been a source of comfort and who has brought a smile to people around the world during this difficult time, words that many of us would have loved the chance to say to Her Majesty: “Thank you Ma'am, for everything.”
Madam Speaker, although it is with a heavy heart, I am deeply honoured to have the opportunity to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of my constituents in Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek.
Over this past week many have publicly reflected on her life, her steadfast loyalty and service to both her country and the Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II embodied quiet strength and dutiful leadership with her life of service starting before she acceded the throne.
As a princess, she began conducting ceremonial duties from the age of 14, beginning with a radio broadcast in 1940. While Britain was at war and their homeland was under attack, the young princess stepped into her role to help bolster morale, as she and her sister had been evacuated out of the city to Windsor due to the bombing of London.
Once she turned 18, towards the end of World War II, she joined the army to become a mechanic. Something that, I know, endeared her to my father, a fellow mechanic. On the morning of her passing he called me, first to ensure I was watching the news and then to reflect on meeting her when he was 10 years old, in 1951, during her visit to Saskatoon before becoming queen. The affection my father, a man from rural Saskatchewan, held for the Queen is but one example of how close many Canadians across the country felt to her.
I also heard from Dolores, who shared meeting the Queen in Saskatoon at the synchrotron. In her words, Dolores said that the Queen graciously stopped to talk to a number of people, especially the kids who were along the path, even asking her nephew if he was having a good day. She also noted how genuine the Queen's smile was.
During her birthday radio broadcast for her 21st birthday, Princess Elizabeth dedicated her life to the service of the Commonwealth. At such a young age, she knew the importance of a life of service and carrying out her duties.
Now, looking back, we can see that this oath was dutifully and thoroughly fulfilled. This spirit of service carried on into her reign as Queen and included serving as the royal patron or president of over 600 charities, professional bodies and public service organizations, including many in Canada. She served as both our head of state and the head of our armed forces. In all these roles, she embodied grace and humility. Where many may have faltered, the Queen flourished.
We know that Canada held a special place in her heart as she once referred to it as home, and it was her most visited country. We also know that this feeling was reciprocated by many Canadians. Indeed, Canada has benefited greatly from the steady hand of the Queen in her role as our monarch.
During the time of her reign, Canada underwent a significant transformation. She oversaw our growth as a nation, its growing pains and transition to a fully independent country, including the creation of our nation's Constitution. As others have remarked, Queen Elizabeth II was a comforting constant in a world of continuous change, a true stateswoman.
Ever mindful of her duty, in her final public statement shortly before she passed, the Queen spoke to the people of Saskatchewan and in particular the communities of James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon, extending her condolences to all those who lost loved ones and her prayers for those recovering from their injuries as a result of the horrific attacks that occurred in our province.
She served with humility and dignity, offering an ideal to strive for, and a reminder for us here in this place that we, too, endeavour to serve an ideal above ourselves.
During a radio broadcast eulogizing George VI, Winston Churchill, the first British prime minister to serve under Queen Elizabeth II, said: “Famous have been the reigns of our queens. Some of the greatest periods in our history have unfolded under their sceptre.” Such prophetic words, as we now know that Queen Elizabeth II continued that lineage of remarkable female monarchs.
Hers was a reign of stability and will be reflected upon with great admiration and affection. Her memory will live on as one of the greatest monarchs in our nation's history.
Finally, Her late Majesty the Queen was a woman of faith. During her Christmas broadcasts, she often remarked on its importance in her life and how it sustained her, and she asked for prayers for wisdom and strength. Today, I offer my sincerest condolences to the royal family in this difficult time. I pray they will be comforted and strengthened as they grieve the passing of our beloved Queen, who was their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
God bless Queen Elizabeth. Long live the King.
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today and pay tribute to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the people of Flamborough—Glanbrook and the greater Hamilton area. However, I do so with a heavy heart. First and foremost, we, her loyal subjects, offer our most sincere condolences to the entire royal family. May strength be given to all of them at this time.
In the next few minutes, I would like to share some of the thoughts that people in the Hamilton area have offered me in the past week as they grieve the loss of our Queen.
Her late Majesty officially visited Hamilton three times during her lifetime: first, as Princess Elizabeth, in 1951; then twice as Queen, in 1959 and 2002. Each time it was an honour for our city to receive her. Her late Majesty was colonel-in-chief of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, a regiment based in Hamilton.
The hon. member for just spoke about the very special bond the Queen had with the Argylls and the Argylls had with the Queen, and her very deep caring on the tragic events of 2014 with the shooting of Nathan Cirillo of Hamilton. The Argylls featured prominently in all her visits, most notably in her Golden Jubilee year, 2002, when she presented them with new colours at a large public ceremony at what was then Copps Coliseum in downtown Hamilton. While the ceremony was all service and duty for which she was known, her charisma shone through while she spoke to the overflowing crowd, and in her individual conversations with veterans, her broad smile always told the story.
Please allow me to convey the reflections of the people of Flamborough—Glanbrook and beyond. Over the course of the week, constituents have shared their recollections of their encounters with the Queen, whom they love so much. One lady has a View-Master disc, and some of us will remember what those are, of the Queen's coronation. She holds this in her memory and treasures it very much this week. Another constituent remembers meeting the Queen as a Brownie under the Girl Guides in Edmonton.
Treasured photos are on display or have been taken out from the drawers in which they have been tucked away. They are of grandmothers, uncles and aunts dressed in their Sunday best to be presented to Her late Majesty. For so many, the Queen's annual Christmas message is a warm memory; it is often there where her best qualities of compassion, charm and wit were most evident.
I have also heard from descendants of United Empire Loyalists and they have a natural bond and a natural affinity with the monarchy. They are so proud that Queen Elizabeth II upheld that institution with such grace, composure and elegance, during what were often trying times for our world.
In addition, those affiliated with the Argylls continue to express their eternal gratitude to Her late Majesty for visiting each time she was in Hamilton, for caring so deeply at the tragedies they experienced and for making them such an important part of her life as their commanding officer.
If I may add my own memories to those of the constituents whom I have been honoured to represent and speak on behalf of here, I was also blessed to meet Her Majesty in 2002. It was a 12-day Golden Jubilee tour of Canada during which she was celebrating 50 years on the throne.
The Government of Ontario at that time held a large royal reception at the National Trade Centre in Toronto. People lined up on both sides of the aisle as the royal couple made their way around the room. While my own time with our beloved Queen was not more than a quick hello because on the opposite of the aisle there were people with horses, and she was naturally drawn to speak to those people to see the horses, as that was one of her loves, I did have a more fulsome conversation with Prince Philip, and he exuded all the charm that he was also known for.
In fact, the tie I am wearing today is the tie I wore that day in 2002. I bought it especially for the royal visit, and it has remained one of my favourites ties, even more so now. This is the first time I have worn it since her passing, and I will continue to think of her, as I do today, every time I wear it.
I will close with the thoughts of a successful woman and leader from Hamilton who remembers the Queen for much more than the service and duty for which she has been so rightly credited. This woman, now in her early forties, is leading an important organization in her chosen profession, and for her, the Queen has always been a role model all of her life, a woman in a powerful leadership role that she could look up to at a time when that was so rare. I know this same point has been made by members on both sides of the House already in the past couple of days, but I think it bears repeating and amplifying.
For this individual, and doubtless millions of girls and young women, the Queen was an inspiration. As head of state, her constant presence told them that they could dream big and do anything. Therefore, even though she was born into this royal role, and she chose to define it from the outset as lifelong service and duty, she broke that glass ceiling at a time that it just did not happen. It is that major accomplishment that has stuck with the young woman who I spoke with the other day, and it is the enduring memory of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We will miss her dearly.
In a world where the pace of change accelerates by the day, she was a constant. We now look to his Majesty King Charles III, to whom I pledge allegiance, to carry on that legacy.
May God save the King. May God continue to bless Canada.
Madam Speaker, I rise in this place during this solemn time to express my deepest sympathies and condolences to the members of the royal family and to all those in the Commonwealth as we collectively mourn the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As the member of Parliament for the riding of Niagara Falls, which includes the city of Niagara Falls and the towns of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie, it is my sincere honour to be able to stand in my place today to pay tribute to our beloved Queen after her death on September 8 at 96 years of age.
For 70 incredible years, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was Canada's head of state. In fact, her tenure lasted for 45% of Canada's 155-year history. Given this, she oversaw many of our country's most significant events of the 20th and 21st centuries. She reigned for an incredible period of time, and did so with dignity, grace, honour and a profound sense of duty and service.
For many, their understanding of monarchy and the Queen and her relationship to Canada is limited to such things as portraits adorning walls of government buildings or recognizing her face and her name on our currency, but in a real sense, it is much more profound than that.
Peter McNally, a retired McGill University information studies professor, recently spoke with CTV News and said, “Today, the monarchy is the living embodiment of Canada's parliamentary tradition.”
This parliamentary tradition is one which can trace its roots back over 800 years. The monarchy in Canada, as represented by the Queen for 70 years and as currently represented by King Charles III, is fundamental in our everyday lives and way of life in Canada, even if it is not explicitly apparent on a day-to-day basis. In fact, many Canadian leaders have acknowledged the importance and continued relevance of the Crown in our daily lives.
In 1993, the Hon. Mike Harris, former premier of Ontario, noted:
The Oath to the Queen is fundamental to the administration of law in this country. It signifies that, here in Canada, justice is done—not in the name of the Prime Minister, or the mayor, or the police chief, as in totalitarian nations—but by the people, in the name of the Queen. Rather than being offensive, I submit that it’s one of the hallmarks of our society that attracts people to Canada.
A year before that, the Right. Hon. Brian Mulroney, former prime minister of Canada, stated:
The Crown has symbolized a continuity in the values of decency, fairness and equality before the law that have made this country great. And no Sovereign has served her Canadian subjects with more grace, more concern and more goodwill than has Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen’s sense of duty, her courage, warmth and her honour are known and appreciated by all Canadians.
In an ever-evolving world and in a sea of constant change, we could always look to Queen Elizabeth II to find our balance, stability and our courage. She was always a beacon of hope in dark times, comforting and a calming presence. Her leadership was constant and steady, fulfilling the promise she made on her 21st birthday while on a trip to South Africa with her family when she indicated:
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.
During her life, Her Majesty visited Canada more than 20 times between 1951 and 2010. She visited Canada more than any other nation in the Commonwealth. In fact, her first visit to Canada included a visit to my beautiful riding of Niagara Falls just three months before she would ascend to the throne. At that time, given her father's declining health, her tour carried an official proclamation should the King pass away while she was on tour.
According to the Niagara Falls Public Library archives, during her visit to Niagara, she described the views of Niagara Falls as “magnificent” and “tremendous” as she stood at the railing of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. It is estimated a crowd of 150,000 people in Niagara Falls cheered the royals throughout their visit before they boarded the royal train to continue their tour across Canada.
In February 1952, her father King George VI passed away and Princess Elizabeth immediately assumed the throne as our Queen, and she has been our Queen ever since. For millions upon millions of Canadians, myself included, Queen Elizabeth II was the only head of state we had ever known, until now, upon King Charles III assuming the throne.
Queen Elizabeth's next visit to Niagara Falls took place in 1973. This was her first visit as Queen. She was on tour with her husband, Prince Philip, to open the renowned Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake and to visit nearby Fort George, an important military post from the War of 1812.
One constituent recently shared with the St. Catharines Standard his memories of the Queen's Niagara-on-the-Lake visit in 1973. Ken Bridgman of St. Davids in Niagara-on-the-Lake wrote that he was the general manager of the Pillar and Post inn at the time of the royal couple's visit. Mr. Bridgman, along with MPP Robert Welch and John Drope, the owner and founder of the Pillar and Post, met with the royal couple as they entered the inn. They both had the privilege of escorting the royal couple to their rooms.
During the walk, Mr. Bridgman recalls the royals expressed interest in the origins of the old building, the impact of the Shaw Festival on tourism and employment in the town, the history of Niagara-on-the-Lake, and other current events. He called the royal couple "engaging” and noted that they were “most complimentary” of their rooms.
In the same article of memories and recollections of royal visits to Canada, my predecessor, the Hon. Rob Nicholson, also made a submission that was published. Mr. Nicholson served as the member of Parliament for the Niagara Falls riding for over 24 years. He wrote that he and his wife, Arlene, and their daughter, Christine, had the privilege of meeting the Queen at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto in June 2010, while he was serving as Canada's justice minister and attorney general. They had a beautiful picture taken. He noted that the Queen was genuinely warm and friendly and it was quite evident that she loved being in Canada.
Given its immense beauty and rich history in nation building, Niagara has had a strong track record of attracting royalty to the area. Other visits happened long before Queen Elizabeth was even born. The first visit was as early as 1860, when the first planned illumination of Niagara Falls took place in honour of the visit of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII . Nineteen years later, in 1879, Niagara Falls was illuminated again in honour of a visit of Princess Louise and her husband, the Marquis of Lorne, the fourth Governor General of Canada.
In the fall of 1901, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, the future King George V and Queen Mary, visited Niagara Falls. Since that time, Niagara Falls has been pleased to play host to visits by the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII, in 1919 and 1927; Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1939; the Duchess of Kent in 1954; Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret in 1958; Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry in 1991; and Her Royal Highness Sophie, The Countess of Wessex, in 2012.
Queen Elizabeth made her final trip to Canada in 2010 at the age 84. While Niagara is a popular destination for the royals, we are all going to greatly miss the visits from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Her memory will always live on and be treasured by all those who appreciated her.
Through the remainder of the 10-day mourning period, between 10:30 and midnight in the eastern time zone, Niagara Falls will be illuminated in royal blue in tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This tribute will happen nightly and conclude on the date of her funeral, September 19. I invite all Canadians and international visitors who are able to come and witness it as a way to pay their respects in her memory.
Niagara Falls holds many important connections to the royal family and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We will always remember her, and we will always treasure those memories of her and her devoted service to the monarchy, the Commonwealth and to Canada. It has been a great honour for me to pay my respects to all those mourning our great loss through this tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.
May you rest in peace, Your Majesty. Long live the King.
Madam Speaker, before I start, I want to underscore the horrific violence that members of the community of James Smith Cree Nation and the town of Weldon suffered just a few days ago. That pain and suffering in those communities is difficult to describe for those families. A number of us have expressed over the course of the last few days, for all the victims and their families, that they are in our hearts and in our minds at this time.
We are speaking of the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II. It is difficult to encapsulate the life of someone who had such an impact on so many people in a few minutes even in this place. We are sometimes challenged to really encapsulate a life that had so much impact on so many of us. My colleagues have all spoken with great eloquence. What I would like to do today is relay more of a personal impression of Queen Elizabeth II.
There is the institution, of course, and ultimately at some point there will be discussions around that institution, but there is, above all, the person. The person, Queen Elizabeth II, Her Majesty, was somebody who was very engaged, who brought immense stability to our parliamentary system and to our democracies, and showed incredible dedication.
Queen Elizabeth II visited the community of New Westminster three times through her long reign. She visited the community of Burnaby twice over that same period. I will mention more specifically some of the reflections of people in my community in a moment, but each time she came, she was fully engaged and provided a remarkably memorable visit in both New Westminster and in Burnaby.
Before I get to those personal reflections, I want to talk about the great gifts that Queen Elizabeth II provided us. Foremost is the stability that she brought through her long reign. It is the longest reign by a monarch in recent times; 70 years. We sometimes take that for granted, the seamless passage from one institution to the next, the seamless passage of the monarchy, the Queen passing away and within hours King Charles III being crowned.
We had the stability that came from having a head of state that welcomed and inaugurated 15 governments in the United Kingdom and a dozen governments through her representative here in Canada. We sometimes take for granted that stability of passage, that seamless passage from one government to the next, democratically elected, her continuing reign as head of state and even the seamless passage from the head of state, as she passed away, to her successor.
This is not something we should take for granted, particularly in this day and age. We only have to look at the chaotic violence on January 6, 2021, in the United States from a man who promotes despotic values. That chaotic violence is a strict contrast and a wake-up call for us to never take for granted the stability that Queen Elizabeth personified passing from one government to the next, always respecting those fundamental democratic values that we all hold dear.
Queen Elizabeth II really embodied the spirit of dedication. I think the best example, as so many of my colleagues have said over the past 24 hours as we have been paying tribute to her in this House of Commons, is the fact that 48 hours before her death, at a time when surely she was aware that her time, her hours were numbered on this earth, she still was able to welcome the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Truss. That was done 48 hours before she passed. That dedication, putting her role and the importance of her position before all else, is something that a number of people have commented on as well.
It is important to note that this continuity is something that comes from the presence of Queen Elizabeth II in so many aspects of her life. It is also important to note, primarily, that in the many comments that have followed her passing, new Canadians, who have taken an oath of citizenship to her, have often been, I think, the strongest in terms of providing comments and talking about the person of Queen Elizabeth and her impact on their lives. However, above all, she was engaged, and I want to relate a personal anecdote.
In 1971, on one of her numerous visits to New Westminster, my classmates and I at the time, at nine years old, danced for the May Day festivities in front of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. All of us were nervous before we got up to dance, and afterward, all of us thought the Queen had been watching us. Just last weekend, I sat down with a number of my classmates from that time: Becci Dewinetz, Debbie née Cooke, and Kathy née Gifford. All of us, even now 50 years after the event, felt that the Queen was very much focused on us during that event, and this is something that is absolutely part of people's reactions to Queen Elizabeth and her engagement with people wherever she went in the Commonwealth.
Over the last few days at Century House, which was actually inaugurated by Princess Margaret in 1958 in New Westminster, books of condolences have been signed by my constituents. When we inaugurated the first day last Monday, there was a lineup right out the door, and people have been coming throughout the week to sign a book of condolences to send messages of condolence to the royal family.
There was Lorraine Holmes, who is in a motorized wheelchair and has a half-hour trek to get to Century House. She felt it was so important to sign that book of condolences. She wanted to pass on her condolences and her memories of Queen Elizabeth II.
There was Rachel and many people from across the Lower Mainland. It took Rachel two hours by bus from Tsawwassen to come to New Westminster to sign that book, and we have had people from throughout the Lower Mainland lined up to sign the book and express their condolences.
I want to read one passage from Colleen Vogler and her family:
“Thank you, Your Majesty, for being the best example to the world of how to live one's life as a leader in monarchy, a mother, a wife, a grandmother, a great-grandmother and a woman. You were wise, intelligent, devoted, kind, loving and had a terrific sense of humour. You kept the world in sync so that you had them keep calm and carry on. There's one more angel in heaven. There's one more star in the sky. Blessings, hugs to the family and all who knew her. God bless the Queen. Colleen Vogler and family.”
The same expressions were expressed by many as they came to sign the book of condolences.
There is no doubt, as the member for said in his speech yesterday, that there is now an important role for King Charles III to play in reconciliation with indigenous peoples. I repeat the call of our leader, the member for Burnaby South, that King Charles III must strive for reconciliation with indigenous peoples and look to a royal proclamation of reconciliation. It is fundamental and must be a priority for our new monarch.
I am reminded of a phrase from Thornton Wilder, who said, “The highest tribute...is not grief but gratitude.” We are profoundly grateful for the service of Queen Elizabeth II, for the stability she brought throughout her long reign through her dedication and devotion, expressed until hours before her passing, and for how engaged she was with people in her visits to my communities of New Westminster and Burnaby, but also with everyone she met throughout her long reign.
We are grateful for all that she contributed to our democracy and to the institution. She will be missed.
Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise today to pay my respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II. She was the only monarch that I have ever known and I am saddened by her passing. This will be a time of great adjustment, not just for our institutions and our country but for individuals like me.
Much has been said over the past week as the world has been mourning her passing, and many words have been said right here in this chamber over the last two days. Rather than repeat a bunch of facts, I want to share my own personal connection to the Queen.
I did not grow up in a privileged home where my father had regular audiences with the Queen. Rather, I grew up like most Canadians, in a modest family, learning about the Queen in school. I remember singing God Save the Queen with my classmates every morning in school to start the day. I also remember my parents telling me that they sang God Save the King when they went to school, which seemed so strange to me at the time.
I spoke with them just this week and they recounted how difficult it was for them to switch from singing about the King to singing about the Queen. Now, years later, I am the one who has to change my thought process from Queen to King. It is not easy. Of course my parents, who are now in their eighties, have to change back from Queen to King. It is going to take some getting used to.
Another connection that most of us have with the Queen is our money. Her image is on nearly every coin and bill that we use, as well as stamps and other forms of payment. I cannot imagine the complication and cost there will be to change that over, but I am sure it will take a long time. It will be very interesting, though, when we start to see those first coins, bills and stamps with the image of the King rather than the Queen.
Another connection we all share are the visits she made to Canada. The Queen visited Canada more times than she did any other country. Her Majesty's first visit to Canada happened right in my constituency of Saskatoon West during her time serving as Princess in 1951, before she became the Queen. She would later go on to visit Saskatchewan five more times in her capacity as Queen, creating a strong bond with the people of my province.
She visited Canada a total of 22 times. One of these visits was particularly meaningful to me.
Her last visit to Canada was in 2010, and I had the privilege of being in Ottawa during that visit. Through a connection with my MP, the member for , I was able to get tickets for a garden party at Rideau Hall where the Queen would attend. Given that there were hundreds of people at this event and she was 84 years old at the time, I was not sure how close I would get to her. To my amazement, she and Prince Philip made a lengthy walk through the garden, stopping to chat with many people.
My moment of fame was a fleeting glance. The Queen and I locked eyes for just a second as she slowly walked past me and my wife. Obviously she could not speak with everyone, and that fleeting glance would have to do for me. In that glance, I felt her warmth and I felt her caring. Prince Philip followed behind her, as he always did, and he stopped to talk with a veteran nearby. I was able to listen in on that conversation and experienced the care that he had, especially for veterans.
I also attended the massive Canada Day rally on Parliament Hill where the Queen was present and spoke. I remember the moment she arrived on the Hill. I was looking up at the Canadian flag on the Peace Tower, and I glanced away for just a second. When I looked back, I saw the monarchy flag up there. I still have no idea how they changed the flag so quickly. She must have had some very special powers. The Queen certainly had a way of making everyone feel important and cared for, whether we saw her on TV, walked past her or shared a moment's glance. I am sure many Canadians can relate to this.
Through times of triumph and disaster, the Queen has always been there for Canadians. She was there in 1967 for our centennial anniversary and in 1982 to sign the historic proclamation of Canada's Constitution. She also guided former prime minister Brian Mulroney in his work to abolish apartheid in South Africa and to free Nelson Mandela in 1990. One of the Queen's final acts was to issue her condolences to the people of Saskatchewan and the people of James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan after the tragic events of the Labour Day weekend.
Now we start a new chapter, one with a King instead of a Queen. I congratulate King Charles III on his ascension to the throne, and I look forward to all the changes that will happen over the next few years, like seeing the King on our currency and our stamps. However, for now we mourn the Queen, a Queen who has served the Commonwealth through seven decades and 12 Canadian prime ministers, including Saskatchewan's very own John Diefenbaker. In fact, in 1957, during Prime Minister Diefenbaker's first year in office, Queen Elizabeth visited Canada and read the Speech from the Throne herself.
In a world of constant change, she was the one steady figure that Canadians could rely on. Hers was a life well lived.
I know that I speak for all of my constituents back home in honouring the life of a Queen who gave so much of herself for the Commonwealth. I offer her family my sincerest condolences and the condolences of everyone in Saskatoon West.
May Queen Elizabeth II rest in peace with her beloved husband by her side, as always. Long live the King.
Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay homage to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who lived a life of selfless service to her people here in Canada and across the Commonwealth.
For 70 years, she reigned as sovereign with unparalleled grace, dignity and prudence, which was carried at a standard so high that it was uniquely hers. Through times of tragedy and hardship or joy and renewal, she was there, like the North Star at night or the rising sun in the morning, a quiet unwavering constant.
With her supreme prudence, Her late Majesty knew exactly when to step forward and deliver the exact message that people needed to hear. This started at the age of 14 for her, as a child, when she was broadcast across the Commonwealth to reassure children, particularly the British during the Blitz, that they would be victorious and it would be up to their generation to rebuild the world, right through to her pandemic address when she reassured us all that we would meet again.
I stand here as the member of Parliament for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, a riding that has a proud history as United Empire Loyalists and had the great honour and privilege of hosting Her late Majesty in 1984. As a brief aside, that is the year I was born, so I was not in attendance at this historic event.
She visited Fort Wellington in Prescott for a demonstration by the War of 1812 re-enactors. Many locals went out to greet their Queen, and she enjoyed her first time at Fort Wellington so much that she decided to stay well past her scheduled time to inspect the formation of the soldiers. When the soldiers at the demonstration fired the large cannon at the fort, as they love to do, Her late Majesty reacted by saying, “I must say that gives a jolly good bang.” That quote became so famous locally that the gun in question was adorned with a plaque to memorialize the moment.
In 2010, I was thrilled to join my fellow Canadians for Canada Day celebrations here on Parliament Hill. I was with my wife Amanda. We heard addresses from many great folks and, of course, from Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As she moved from the stage down Parliament Hill and past the Centennial Flame to her awaiting carriage, I was able to stand at the barricades and exchange a wave. I have to say that I was delighted to have that brief second.
In reflecting in the last week on all of the many occasions like this that so many Canadians have had, I learned that Queen Elizabeth II was seen by more Canadians in person than any human in history. It is remarkable. She visited towns, hamlets, villages and cities, and these visits had moments that made us forget the human mortality of our sovereign. For a fleeting second we thought that just maybe she would always be there, because she always has been.
Now, as I reflect upon her life of service well lived, I recall the times that I have sworn allegiance to our sovereign, first as a member of our Canadian Armed Forces, then as a municipal councillor and each of the three times following my election to Canada's Parliament. I am so proud to say that my family and I have been subjects of Her late Majesty every single day of our lives and that we are better for it. Canada is better for having been under her reign for seven decades. I am delighted to teach my children about the lifetime of service given to us by Queen Elizabeth II. Her legacy will live on in our memories and, of course, in history, and we will be forever grateful for her service.
Godspeed, Queen Elizabeth. May God bless Canada. God save the King.
Madam Speaker, before I begin I would like to give my deepest condolences on behalf of the constituents of Sturgeon River—Parkland for those lost at James Smith Cree Nation. Sturgeon River—Parkland is home to many first nations and Métis people, including the Enoch Cree Nation and the Alexander First Nation. I know that the events that took place in Saskatchewan have hit all of my constituents, particularly in those communities, very hard.
I also wish to, on behalf of the constituents of Sturgeon River—Parkland, pay my respects to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and give my condolences to His Majesty King Charles III and his family on their loss.
Queen Elizabeth is the only monarch I have ever known and the only monarch that most Canadians have lived under. The Queen has touched all of our lives in so many ways, not only because of her many visits to this country or because her portrait hangs on our walls or because her image is stamped on our currency. Most significantly, she has touched all of us through her character and her life of service to the Commonwealth.
In a rapidly changing world, we have seen so many traditions go by the wayside. The world is a far different place than it was back in 1952 when Her Majesty ascended the throne. While many of those changes have been for the betterment of humankind, I think some could be forgiven for feeling a sense of confusion about their place in the world and how things should be. That is one reason why the reign of Her Majesty these past seven decades has been such a source of strength for so many. If someone were to have travelled in time from 1952 to the present day, they may be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of societal change but comforted by the ever-present foundation of our constitutional monarchy, which was embodied in Her Majesty and has remained unchanged through all this time.
Her Majesty was a good Queen. She left the institution intact and, if anything, increased the prestige of the monarchy during a time when many countries have radically changed their systems of government, often to the detriment of their citizens. She was someone that we could look to as above the common politics of our day to day, someone who carried a legacy stretching back through the hundreds of years of our shared history to our present day.
As we see the continuation of that legacy through the accession of King Charles III to the throne, I believe that we can feel assured that the future of our constitutional monarchy and our country and Commonwealth are in good hands. We can feel confident that we have a King who, like his mother, our dear late Queen, exemplified a commitment to a lifetime of service to his people.
In closing, I am proud to have been a subject of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and I reaffirm my oath, both given as a member of Parliament and as an officer in Canada's armed forces, to bear true allegiance to her heirs and successors.
May His Majesty's rule, with the grace of God, continue to be a blessing to our country. God save the King.
Madam Speaker, in each of our lives we have those moments when we remember where we were when we first heard about significant events. Last Thursday, I was at the Kelowna International Airport, having just gone through security, when I noticed a missed call from a member of my team and then a text message to tell me the news. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, our Queen and head of state since 1952, had sadly passed away. As I walked through the airport, I could hear the whispers as others learned the breaking news.
It was only the day before, on September 7, in Kelowna that I hosted a Queen's jubilee pin and local recognition-of-service medallion ceremony. The Canadian Platinum Jubilee emblem was created to mark the 70th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne, a historic milestone in the enduring relationship between Canada and the Crown. At the end of the ceremony, we finished by standing and singing O Canada and God Save the Queen. Little did we know then that it would likely be the last time God Save the Queen would be played in our community.
For most in Kelowna—Lake Country, we have never known a Canada without the Queen. The first official rendition of God Save the King after the Queen's passing was sung at the end of a memorial service for Queen Elizabeth II at St Paul's Cathedral in London on September 9. We are currently in a national period of mourning, which lasts for 10 days. I will be attending the national commemorative ceremony in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the citizens of Kelowna—Lake Country.
Through seven decades and 12 prime ministers, she represented an island in the stream of our ever-changing culture and history in Canada. The Queen represented the eternal values of dutiful service, quiet strength and genuine kindness. The Queen often talked about the importance to her of faith, family and friendship.
I recently spoke with Bob Hayes, former president of the Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Historical Society, who remembers when the Queen came to Kelowna on May 6, 1971. He recalled how in Kelowna's City Park there were very large wooden stands, which were a regular fixture there at the time, and more were added for the event. Viewers could tell when the Queen was arriving as they could see her cavalcade coming across the Okanagan Lake bridge into Kelowna. The Queen made a brief speech to the large crowd and then took time to walk around speaking to people. In 1983, the Queen landed at the Kelowna International Airport while on another British Columbia visit.
It was 45 years after the Queen's visit to downtown Kelowna that we received a visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, now the Prince and Princess of Wales. I was out of town at the time, but my husband and son got to see them, as did many others in the area as they toured around.
Let us keep Queen Elizabeth II and what she stood for in our memories. God save the King.
Mr. Speaker, Canadians' hearts are heavy as we remember our Queen, Elizabeth II. During her visits to this country, she touched so many lives. To the world, she was the Queen of England. She was also very much the Queen of Canada.
Even though they had never met the Queen, she impacted my wife's parents in a deeply personal way. Like so many have done, Sam and Rabha came to Canada as immigrants from a country outside the British Commonwealth. They did not grow up with Canadian traditions. Having a monarch was new to them. They were seeking a new life, a better life, and were determined to embrace all that Canada could offer.
They had seen news coverage of the royal visit to Canada. When their daughter was born on the anniversary of the Queen's coronation, my father-in-law insisted that their new daughter be named Elizabeth, in honour of Her Majesty. They wrote to the Queen at Buckingham Palace to tell her of the event.
In the past week, thousands of people around the world have paid tribute to Elizabeth II. I am not sure there is anything I could say that would add to those words. She was an inspiration to all of us in public life, leading by example and following traditions she learned as a child. She understood the concepts of service and duty in ways that we would, too, all want to emulate.
One of the Queen's strengths was her humility. The word “queen” brings to mind someone exalted, above ordinary people, yet as thousands of Canadians who have met her can tell us, Elizabeth II was deeply concerned with and interested in people, no matter where they came from or their social status. Her Christian faith infused her interactions with others.
Our nation has lost someone who, for most of us, has been a constant presence in all of our lives. We knew her death was inevitable at some point, but we secretly believed that she would live forever.
In this period of mourning, we feel somewhat adrift on an uncharted ocean. We are not alone in those feelings. Elizabeth II was not just a queen, not just the head of the Commonwealth and not just a symbol of enduring stability in a turbulent world. She was also a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother, and her loss is felt by her family more deeply than by any of us.
For King Charles III and the rest of the royal family, the hearts of Canadians are with them in this time of mourning. I thank them for sharing their mother and grandmother with us. Canada and the world are richer because of her. May God comfort them as they mourn.
Mr. Speaker, as great as it is to be back in the House, it is obviously a sad day. It is a sad day when we need to come back to the House to truly celebrate all the Queen did for Canada, and truthfully, what she continues to do for Canada and the world.
I suppose I will then retract my statement to say what an exciting and fabulous day this is. What an honour it is for me to stand here today, on behalf of the amazing folks of Essex, to speak to her presence and all that she did, and to all that she represented. So much has already been said, so I am not going to repeat the things so many great folks have said in the House.
I will start by saying that my thoughts and prayers, as well as those of the people of Essex, are with the royal family and all the people she represented. If her hope, passion and compassion over her 96 years do not give some energy or put a smile on the face of Canadians, then they need to take a hard look in the mirror and realize what she brought to the world is something so unique and heartwarming, that we could all take a page out of her playbook.
I guess I really did not realize the impact she had on folks until I was honoured to present so many fine folks from Essex and surrounding areas with the Queen's Jubilee pins. I previously had zero idea of the impact she had had, not only older folks but also on young ones as well. To have the honour to put the Queen's Jubilee pin on somebody, and have them literally cry on my shoulder and say it was the greatest honour of their life, blew my mind. That is when I realized her impact. Only three days later, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away.
I kind of think it is by design. I am going to speak very quickly to something a lot of Canadians do not know, and which probably most of my colleagues do not even realize. I am a very proud United Empire Loyalist, a UEL. I spoke with Heather Crewe just two days ago and asked her to give me some ideas and thoughts on what the Queen meant to the UEL.
I want to share a few thoughts from my community of Essex to bring it into perspective. I will also share something pretty unique and neat with the House shortly. Heather sent me a briefing. The bicentennial branch of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada was founded in 1984 and derives its name from the 200th anniversary of the final evacuation of Loyalist refugees from Manhattan in 1784. Loyalists from across the 13 colonies had gathered on Manhattan Island, which, at the time, was the last stronghold of the British following the American Revolution.
In 1983, a handful of Empire United Loyalist holders from the Windsor-Essex region began to discuss the formation of a local UELAC branch. They were encouraged in those efforts by John Chard, who was a member of the dominion council and editor of the Loyalist Gazette, which I get basically every month.
The first general meeting of the new branch took place on May 31, 1984, in the Windsor Public Library. Charter members were Sharon Kominar, Marie Gordon, Gwendolyn Malkin, Jean Walton, Meryl Courtenay, Eleanor MacDonald, Donna Harvey, Alice Pollock and Margaret Lewis.
Margaret Lewis was my grandmother. She was absolutely instrumental, and she adored the Queen. My late grandmother passed away just a few years ago. If it would have been possible, she would have had a Queen's Jubilee pin put on her lapel.
Today, the bicentennial branch serves Windsor, Essex County, Chatham, Kent and Michigan, however our members can be found throughout North America. Most members have family ties with the Loyalists who settled this area in the years following the American Revolution, although some members have proven Loyalist ancestors from other parts of Canada. Heather went on to say that one in six Canadians actually have ties to the Loyalists, and most do not realize that they do.
Ontario's coat of arms was adopted in 1909, and it illustrates Ontario's ties to England and its loyalty to Canada. The deer, moose and bear are the most common mammals indigenous to Ontario. The Latin motto on the coat of arms reads, “Ut incepit fidelis sic permanet”, which translates to, “Loyal she began, loyal she remains”. This is in reference to the Loyalist ties of the province's early settlers.
I am so excited to be here today, not because of her passing, but because of the opportunity to speak to an individual woman who has done so much good for Canada. I do my best to do what I believe she exemplified, and that is to leave the world a better place than we found it. She did that time and time again. We can see it through the tears. We can see it through the smiles. We can see it through the laughter, and we see it through the respect. It is remarkable that through her life she brought so much to this world, and what is particularly remarkable is that, through her death, she certainly exemplified exactly that.
In closing, it has been an honour to speak. My thoughts and prayers are with the royal family in all aspects going forward. Godspeed the Queen. God save the King, and God bless Canada.
Mr. Speaker, it is truly a privilege to stand here today in commemoration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on behalf of the residents of Red Deer—Lacombe.
There are things that we always say to folks, such as wishing them a successful life and a long life. Rarely do we see people get both. Her Majesty the Queen certainly had a long life, and through her 70 years as the monarch, and her years prior to that as a princess, she certainly has been impactful. She was probably the most well-known person in the world, not just for a brief period of time, but for most of her life.
In her lifetime, the Queen witnessed the Dominion of Canada emerge from the chaos of the world wars, only to grow and become a fully-fledged nation. Despite these bold new steps, our ties to the crown have remained strong. Why would they not? If the role of the Crown is one of public service and duty of care to God and country, the Queen as monarch has surely fulfilled all of her royal duties, not only to her home in England, but also to the Commonwealth at large.
After the premature death of her father the late King George VI in 1952, the throne was hers. Just like that, at the tender age of 25, she was the Queen of seven independent nations and the head of the Commonwealth itself. A daunting responsibility if there ever were one, and that would go for any would-be sovereign, notwithstanding one so young, yet she excelled in her role.
A portrait of stability, Her Majesty guided the Commonwealth through many difficult years without sullying the reputation and prestige of the institution. In fact, the Crown survived the end of the British Empire, devolution and the troubles in Northern Ireland, among many other things, which all could have easily derailed a weaker ruler.
Through all of that, Queen Elizabeth II has emerged as the longest-reigning British monarch, eclipsing even her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. Even more impressive, she was the second-longest reigning sovereign in world history, with only Louis XIV of France serving longer than her. With that many years on the throne, her popularity only seemed to increase, drawing from a pool of public confidence. In essence, she has left the Crown glimmering, untarnished by the events that would have derailed the career of many others.
Among Her Majesty's responsibilities as head of state was to partake in many international tours and delegations. This role brought her to Canada 20 times, both as the official head of state and, before this, as a princess when she visited in 1951.
A constituent in my riding, Sonja, vividly recalls listening to the queen's coronation in 1953 on a battery-operated radio as everyone in the nation gathered to hear the news, and she was very impressed at the time with Canada's new monarch. She would later attend the Queen's second trip to Edmonton, in 1959, to watch the parade on Whyte Avenue, an event she describes as one of the highlights of her youth. Sonja now has the unique distinction of having witnessed her third monarch, this one being King Charles III, and while royal visits do not typically incite the same excitement as they once did, royal visits and news still garner a particular amount of attention and excitement across the country, as I am sure she would attest to.
With all that being said, I, as the member of Parliament for Red Deer—Lacombe, would like to reflect on a small moment in time, which was, to be precise, June 28, 1990. On that day the Queen actually visited my riding. Although the original itinerary limited the royal couple's stay to Calgary, it was subsequently decided that the Queen would head up to Red Deer for a few hours to see the new pediatric ward at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.
There was a buzz of excitement around her visit to the city, and a large crowd gathered to watch her do a walkabout of the structure. The new ward was innovative with patient-friendly elements such as facades of streetscapes in the rooms, and having the Queen visit was a real endorsement for the new ward. She was also introduced to a local firefighter called John Cormier, who had swum the English Channel to help raise $34,000 for the ward's construction.
The firefighters as a group were key fundraisers for the ward, helping supply it with a special children's burn unit. When the Queen was signing the official guest book, she asked a couple of times where they would like her to sign. Since no one answered her, she just signed where she thought it would be appropriate. After all, she was the Queen.
In the afternoon, she attended a lunch at the Capri Centre, where she presented the first Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship in neonatology and pediatrics to Judy Raabis, the clinical coordinator at the pediatric unit at the time of her visit. This an annual scholarship that is still awarded to this day.
An interesting anecdote about her visit comes from Red Deer's most revered resident historian, Michael Dawe. It involves concerns around Her Majesty's travel plans. As Her Majesty was being flown up to Red Deer from Calgary, a security measure was imposed whereby all air traffic in the area was temporarily suspended, yet there was a particular provincial cabinet minister who was known for his tardiness and who arrived after the security measure had come into effect. The pilot for his flight radioed in for permission to land anyway and added for good measure that he was transporting, of course, a minister of the Crown. Much to the pilot's consternation, ground control radioed back to let him know that the incoming flight simply outranked him.
It has always amazed me to see how the Queen could find the time to visit some of the little communities in between the larger urban centres, a lesson that we as parliamentarians could learn from. Furthermore, it was the Queen who specifically directed that the events she attended should primarily be public ones, rather than private receptions. This trend echoed the sentiments of the last British governor general, the Right Honourable Harold Alexander, whose informal style at Rideau Hall had possibly impressed the royal couple upon their 1951 visit to Canada.
The 1990 visit marked the fifth time the royal couple had come to my home province of Alberta, and although several royals had visited Red Deer, Queen Elizabeth was the first and only one to visit Red Deer as a monarch.
In 2005, Her Majesty visited Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium. During this visit, I had the chance to be in the stadium with her due to my position at the time on the Lacombe town council. Alberta had turned 100 years old in Confederation in 2005.
Despite my limited interactions with her, I have a great deal of respect for Queen Elizabeth II, and I am honoured to be speaking here on her behalf today. I know many in this place have said that Her Majesty's reign was almost half the entire existence of Canada as a country itself. Well, Alberta has existed as a province in Confederation for only 122 years, and Her Majesty oversaw 70 of those. She has seen Alberta more than any other monarch could possibly have imagined.
She is the only queen that I, as well as so many Canadians, have ever known, and her loss will surely bring unforeseen changes to our nation. As a nation, we have the fortune of being a stable democratic country under her guidance, and a country that grew into its own under her watch.
I honour the Queen today, not only as a parliamentarian of a Commonwealth country but also as a proud Canadian. The future may be uncertain, but today we celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's importance to our collective past. May we remember Her Majesty's devotion to the Commonwealth and to a life of public service.
Godspeed to the Queen. God save the King. God bless Canada.
Mr. Speaker, I wanted to be here this morning to offer my sincere condolences to the royal family on behalf of residents of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, but also to honour a life devoted to public service.
I was fortunate enough to have the choice to run for political office, but the Queen did not get a choice. At age 25, she was called upon to assume the mantle of Queen of the Commonwealth. I am so impressed that this woman dedicated herself to serving the people every day of her life for 70 years. She did her duty.
As francophones, we can have debates about the importance of the monarchy. Sometimes, we hear from the media that it is easy, that those people are living the high life at Buckingham Palace, and so forth. However, I believe that that is not important and it is not what we are discussing today. We are talking about the fact that a woman devoted 70 years of her life to public service. That in itself is very honourable, and I commend her courage.
Some days, we feel less interested in staying in this job. However, we have the option of retiring. We have the option of saying that we are hanging up our skates and leaving our jobs. Queen Elizabeth II did not have that choice. She had to continue to fulfill her duties every day, and I think that is honourable, as I said.
Several MPs mentioned that the Queen came to Canada 22 times, which is more times than she visited any other Commonwealth country. Although she did not have the opportunity to conduct an official visit to the riding I represent, I believe that she must have travelled through it while driving on Highway 417, which links Ottawa and Montreal.
That being said, I would like to share a few short anecdotes. I never had the opportunity to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but I know that my predecessor, the Hon. Don Boudria met her for the first time when I was one year old, in 1984. He met her eight times over the course of his career. He was the minister in attendance to Her Majesty in 2002. As I was saying, there was no official visit to my riding, but we still had a connection to the Queen through my associate, the former member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.
I also wanted to say that, as a francophone, I respect the fact that she was fluent in French. She took the opportunity to learn the language of Molière. She used it many times here in Canada and that is important to me. It is important for people to be able to speak both official languages, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II met that requirement.
Finally, the last duty that she performed, which has been mentioned, speaks to her dedication to fulfilling her duty as Queen. I still cannot believe it to this day, but the last event that she did officially was meeting with Prime Minister Truss. Many of us will not have to perform duties in the last 48 hours of our lives, but she had to do that, and she did it honourably, as she always had for 70 years of her life.
On behalf of the residents of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, I offer my deepest condolences to the royal family.
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise in the Canadian House of Commons today to pay tribute to our departed and long-serving sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II.
It is not unusual to hear of the passing of someone who has reached the age of 96 years. We should all be so fortunate to have such a long life, without the ailments of age that slow so many down. This Queen, one for the ages, seemed active and proved to be completely engaged right up until her last days. Indeed, she carried out one of her most important duties, asking the new British Prime Minister to form an administration to govern the United Kingdom, a mere two days before her passing. This was a duty she had carried out 15 times. In Canada, she welcomed 12 prime ministers in a nation where 23 people have filled that role. That is a significant impact.
Though her passing should not have been unexpected in anyone's heart, her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, having passed away just a year and a half ago, I will say that when I heard the news I felt a great sadness overcome me. Something had been removed from our lives that was a constant, always there and always dependable.
For 70 years, more than most of our lives, she had been our Queen, Canada's Queen, and she had defined the role and shown the dignity, grace and humility as an illustration of service to people in her realms and around the world. She was the literal personification of an institution that provides a light over which free people govern themselves. It is a challenge to separate the person from the institution. The Queen was both personal and the embodiment of good character and duty to people.
People would be surprised to hear what I am sharing today in the House if they were to ask my friends what I thought of the institution of the Crown when I was a young man.
At the time, I believed that free people should be free to govern themselves and that historical institutions had no place in our lives. It was all about liberty, equality, fraternity, and all that.
Life is a good teacher and this is the perfect example of that.
The institution that Queen Elizabeth II represented every day for 70 years has allowed this parliamentary democracy to flourish. Over time, people here will change, debates will change and the direction of our country will change as new leadership and ideas emerge. The institution of the monarchy connects us all as a people and serves as an anchor even when everything around us is changing.
The example the Queen showed us all and the entire world could not have been a better model of service and duty. Such is the role she played, and let us acknowledge that she played this important role every day of her life. There was no retiring and no holiday from this role, but a duty to bear the responsibilities associated therewith ever and always.
Let us think of the person Elizabeth II was. She was a young princess thrust by a historical accident into becoming the heir to the throne of the British Empire. The lessons taught to a young woman and the role she would be required to play in the world changed rather suddenly. Friends changed and expectations changed, and her father passed away when she was still a young woman.
She was married to her one love for 74 years. She raised four children and through it all she did not miss a step. She always kept it real. I personally loved the vignette she filmed with Paddington Bear. Watching her pull that marmalade sandwich out of her purse brings a smile to my face. She was a reachable, real, available monarch. She never seemed as though she thought she was above anyone.
We all have our personal touchpoints. Mine was when she visited Edmonton during the Commonwealth Games in 1978. As accessible as she presented herself, the city watched Her Majesty in awe. We were so honoured to host her.
We all strive to have peace in this world. I think of the strife that Britain overcame in her lifetime and her role in making peace with parties that had caused her own family immeasurable suffering. However, history does not move forward without forgiving the past, and she showed that resolve for peace and demonstrated respect to former adversaries that allowed peace to flourish. That is one of the ways she demonstrated greatness.
The world changed much during Elizabeth II's reign. Britain, along with Europe, emerged from the devastation of World War II and rebuilt from destruction. It is still a beacon to the world. She lived in an age, and everything got to move faster during her days.
She was a great queen, one who will be remember for the ages. Her example is one that some may equal but none will exceed. She has earned her rest. May Queen Elizabeth II rest in peace, knowing she has left this world a far better place than the one she inherited. Long live the King.
Mr. Speaker, it is a real honour to speak this morning in memory of Queen Elizabeth II and her service to Canada.
I want to begin by mentioning her last public statement just a day or two before she died. It was a statement of condolences to the James Smith Cree Nation and the town of Weldon, Saskatchewan, communities that were impacted by unspeakable violence in recent weeks. I want to extend my condolences to those communities. We hold them in our hearts.
I was raised in a family of English and Scottish heritage, and while my parents and grandparents were really far from being monarchists, we did honour the Queen. I remember every Christmas Day we would stop all revelry to listen to the Queen's message to the Commonwealth on the radio.
I only saw the Queen once, briefly, as part of a crowd in Penticton when she visited during the centennial celebrations in 1967. My father was a photographer. He had trunks of negatives and slides. I was going through some of them literally two weeks ago and found a box of slides of the Queen and Prince Philip in some other place. I was not sure, and with a bit of digging I found out that she had visited British Columbia in 1959, when I was only four years old. I did not attend this event, but my father and my older brother drove up to Vernon as part of a big group of Scouts and Cubs that filled the park there to see the Queen and Prince Philip. It was an indication of how important those visits of the royal family were to Canada. She made many of them, and many people I have talked to spoke of those visits.
My only stronger connection to the royal family was that I actually met Prince Philip some years later. He was a noted conservationist and birdwatcher. I am a bird biologist, and I was actually brought in to help the Prince. He was doing a birdathon to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund.
I guided him around parts of Vancouver a few years ago. That was a great honour. It was quite interesting to hear his comments. I was trying to show him some rare birds and I remember him saying he could see those from his bedroom window. They were interesting to us, but apparently not in downtown London. It was just a fact that Prince Philip was acting to promote conservation around the world while being non-political. The royal family has always played a role in supporting causes it thinks are important. I appreciate that, and it can influence politics while remaining non-political.
I was interested to hear former prime minister Brian Mulroney's comments about the Queen and the part she played, especially with regard to South Africa and the ending of apartheid. He was at a Commonwealth meeting where Prime Minister Thatcher opposed the boycotts and opposed the freeing of Nelson Mandela, but the Queen quietly supported these actions. While being very tactful and diplomatic, the Queen made it clear that she thought it was important that the Commonwealth get behind the ending of apartheid and move on. That really changed history.
I will close by mentioning the historical role the British monarchy has played with regard to the indigenous people of Canada. One of the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to issue a royal proclamation on reconciliation.
I was also listening to the radio the other day and heard my friend and neighbour Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, grand chief of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. He was asked to comment on the passing of Queen Elizabeth and the accession of King Charles. He finished his comments by saying that he was cautiously optimistic about the possible role that King Charles could play in reconciliation, saying, “I think he'll surprise us.”
I will close by saying that it is no surprise that the passing of the Queen has brought on such a sense of loss for so many Canadians. She served for 70 years, serving each day with a strong sense of duty, and always served with such impeccable dignity. May she rest in peace.
Mr. Speaker, at different times Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II said, “People are touched by events which have their roots far across the world”, and “Grief is the price we pay for love.” Of all the words of wisdom she shared in public addresses before and during her historic reign, those two sentiments have manifested most in the global outpouring of sorrow and affection in response to her passing.
Even though she lived to an extraordinary and enviable old age, it seems to be a common experience that many of us felt caught by surprise at her death, because she was lively and worked to the end. It was for most Canadians, I think, that Queen Elizabeth, the only monarch many of us have ever known but who most Canadians never got to meet personally, was simultaneously distant in place, time and station while also omnipresent in daily life and culture.
There may come a day for debate about institutions and constitutions, about succession, secession and sovereignty, about imperialism, colonialism and republicanism, about the past and about the future, and as someone of English, Irish and Ojibwa descent, I am keenly aware that there are many different perspectives on the monarchy and on history among Canadians and throughout the world. However, today, on behalf of the people of Lakeland, I extend sincere condolences to the Queen's family and to all grieving people across the Commonwealth, particularly in the U.K. I hope there is comfort and peace in the countless tributes and memories of the Queen from around the world, a remarkable display of love from people she pledged her life to serve.
Recently, I remembered that, as a kid at the supper table, my dad used to say that I had to learn manners in case I had tea and sandwiches with Queen Elizabeth one day. It occurred to me over the past week that I took that as a very serious possibility at the time, sort of like the hazards of quicksand, which, of course, is ridiculous and a little embarrassing in hindsight, but then a couple of days ago, my Aunt Keltie reminded us on Facebook that we do have a tiny family connection to Queen Elizabeth.
As has been mentioned many times, the Queen visited Canada more than any other country outside of the U.K. throughout her unprecedented time as monarch. On one of those visits, to Nova Scotia in 1976, my grandmother Eileen Stubbs, or MissyNan as she insisted from us grandkids, was the first woman mayor of Dartmouth. Along with my navy veteran grandfather, or Poppy, she welcomed and spent some time with Her Majesty and Prince Philip, who were there to lay a wreath at the cenotaph in Halifax's Grand Parade to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Aunt Keltie told me last night that our cousin Jennifer, who passed away two years ago, was about four at the time. Jennifer presented the Queen with flowers, and took that responsibility deadly seriously, putting in a lot of practice to get it right.
The flood of anecdotes about the Queen's grace, curiosity, humility, wit, composure under pressure and particularly her joyful and focused attention towards children, towards veterans and members of the armed forces, towards people with disabilities or who had health struggles, and towards horses and dogs were also part of our family's stories. I guess that is why I thought I had better keep my elbows off the table and be ready.
My grandmother loved the monarchy. Aunt Keltie posits her passion might have been mainly because the sovereign was a queen specifically, and she identified with the reality of being the only woman in a certain position.
I was born and raised in Alberta, but as I have spoken about many times, the affinity and relations between Atlantic Canadians and Albertans are very strong. The values of our own family's powerful matriarch, all the way from Nova Scotia, punctuated my childhood, my developing world view and my interest in the possibilities of politics until she died. Duty, service and faith were important to her, and I am mindful of the Queen's words at the Church of England's general synod in 2010, when the Queen said:
For at the heart of our faith stand not a preoccupation with our own welfare and comfort but the concepts of service and of sacrifice as shown in the life and teachings of the one who made himself nothing, taking the very form of a servant.
I think the Queen's obvious and heartfelt devotion to service, and her prioritization of her duty as the Crown above all else, is really at the heart of the worldwide wave of grief and love in the wake of her loss. The concepts of service and of being concerned with the welfare and comfort of others are what I try to keep front of mind at all times as I aim to do my small part and earn my keep for all the people of Lakeland.
Lakeland is a place that Queen Elizabeth visited in 1978. She and Prince Philip were greeted in Vegreville by thousands at Pysanka Park. There were Ukrainian dancers in front of the largest Ukrainian easter egg in the world outside of Ukraine. A plaque now commemorates her visit. The then mayor of Vegreville speaks the minds of thousands of Canadians when he said, “It was a day I will never forget.”
The Queen received a teddy bear and signed the town guest book in Bruderheim and visited an elementary school and community landmark in St. Paul. She took the train from Vegreville to Fort Saskatchewan and along the way met well wishers at stops at Mundare, Lamont and the small village of Chipman near where I grew up.
On visits to Atlantic Canada as an MP during the last seven years, it has struck me that traditions, history, customs, the monarchy and specifically toasts to the Queen at regular events are much more prominent and widespread in the Atlantic region than in the relatively young province I represent. Given Canada's evolution and geography, that all makes sense, but she did visit Alberta six times, and so mountain ranges, a street in Edmonton and an annual international show jumping competition at Spruce Meadows all proudly bear her name.
I will close with her words about Alberta and Albertans, whose main qualities she so accurately captured in her remarks at the centennial in 2005. She said:
When looking back on the story of Alberta, we see it extend well before 1905. It is indeed the story of Canada. Your First Nations peoples inhabited the prairies over ten thousand years ago, living in harmony with nature—then as they do now. By the 1800's, these first citizens, along with the Métis, were joined by explorers, homesteaders, and railway workers from all over the world.
They had a dream to build homes in a land where freedom reigned. They created a spirit of belonging to a bountiful country under the principles of “peace, order, and good government” and the unifying influence of the Crown. It is a fitting homage to these ancestors that your motto is Fortis et Liber...Strong and Free.
I want to say something on behalf of the people of Lakeland and for all of those who love horses and feel kinship with the Queen's unwavering passion for this most significant animal to the course of human history and human aspiration. My husband will tell members the affliction of horse crazy people like me is innate and enduring. In reverence for her renowned equestrianism, her successful competition horses and her preservation breeding, I say thank you, godspeed and ride on, Your Majesty.
Long live the King.
Mr. Speaker, we are witnessing the turning of a page in the story that is Canada, one which Queen Elizabeth II is not only witness to, but also co-author of.
Death is one of those journeys we must all take. Where I am from, elders speak of returning to the stars, where we will bring what we have learned here to that next place. It is a journey of honour, remembrance and return, one on which I wish Her Majesty well.
Queen Elizabeth II was a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. Like the wise and respected elders I know, the Queen connects all of us more deeply to one another, but also to ourselves. Role models of service, devotion and tradition, their lives precious for their words give us pieces of ourselves. It is truly a most human experience in kinship and love. I wish her family well as they honour her and mourn her passage.
However, she was more than a mother. She was a monarch. In the words of Grand Chief RoseAnne Archibald, “let's remember that grief and accountability can exist in the same space, simultaneously.”
All of us here and our entire country are in a moment of reflection. As the second Elizabethan age closes, we have an opportunity of renewal.
As we look back from where we have come, it is my hope that as we turn back forward, we harness the wisdom, sacrifice and teachings of that past and seek an even greater tomorrow.
Queen Elizabeth II contributed to our shared path, much like former monarchs did. Notably, on March 29, 1982, she granted royal assent to the Canada Act, 115 years to the day when her great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, gave royal assent to the British North America Act, 1867, a difficult and tumultuous time for indigenous people.
In comparison, the new act would achieve full independence for Canada by allowing us to change our Constitution without approval from Britain. It enshrined the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada's Constitution. Finally, following decades of indigenous activism and organizing by indigenous leaders, they would push the Crown government to finally recognize existing aboriginal and treaty rights for Métis, first nations and Inuit people, codified in section 35 of the new Constitution Act.
However, her reign was by no means a perfect one. Mistakes that live on through the Crown are a weight that His Majesty King Charles III must now bear. However, it is also an opportunity for King Charles to write the next chapter in Canada's story, one that I hope addresses the silence of the monarchy in the face of growing demands from around the globe for formal acknowledgement of the past injustices and the payment of reparations to descendants of enslaved people.
Additionally, here on Turtle Island, one need only look at the unimaginable legacy of Canada's horrific residential schools created by Crown governments in her name, to see the impact of colonization here. To date, nearly 2,000 unmarked graves of children have been located. Estimates put the total number of graves at nearly 6,000.
It was from those early kingdoms who came to Turtle Island seeking the blessings of these lands to the great resistance wars of my forebears, Métis and first nations, on the Great Plains and, finally, to the commitments made in great ceremony between our nations on this land before our creator. Where I am from, it is known as Treaty No. 6. Indigenous people here have a unique and special relationship with the British Crown. It is this special relationship that is manifest in events throughout our time.
Early on, a relationship that was founded by peace and trade would become one of introduction of disease, wars and land dispossession, followed quickly by Canada's armed expansion into the west, matched by Métis and first nations resistance on the Great Plains, stories remembered still today. It is a relationship that has seen horrific results of forced Inuit relocations, the residential schools and the sixties scoop.
It is also a relationship of unity, forged while fighting side by side in the Great War and World War II. It is a relationship that is still growing and one that, I hope, can bring us even closer to unity, while maintaining our truly nation-to-nation relationship.
While the federal government is directly or jointly accountable for 76 of the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action, the Crown must play an active role in the truth-telling of these lands.
On behalf of indigenous survivors, their nations, including my own, I call on the King to ensure he works closely with his Crown government in Canada to realize the TRC call to action number 45, which calls on the Government of Canada, on behalf of all Canadians, to jointly develop, with indigenous people, a royal proclamation of reconciliation to be issued by the Crown, to build on our historic relationship, to renew our nation-to-nation relationship and to ensure indigenous sovereignty.
In addition, the Crown must renounce colonial concepts used to dispossess my people, indigenous people across Turtle Island, of their children, their land and, in many instances, their dignity, such concepts as the doctrine of discovery and terra nullius.
This is not the work of the impossible. During his most recent trip to Canada earlier this year, the then Prince of Wales acknowledged in a speech in Yellowknife that, “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 the opportunity to go further. It is my sincerest hope that in his first official visit to Canada as King, His Majesty Charles III will meet with indigenous elders and leaders across this country and listen to their requests. History will judge his reign based on his response.
The Crown's history here is short. In the magnitude of the time these lands have witnessed, it is a mere tree in a forest, but like lightning the Crown's presence here has changed this land forever. When a lightning strike hits the perfect tree, it has the power to destroy an entire forest, but like the fires that destroyed the forests of old, there is renewal and rebirth. The generations of today, like the seedlings of a great new forest, are growing, and we are a generation that can achieve this.
Let us walk the next chapter not so divided but together, so that this forest may truly feed all of us.