This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Skip to Content

Speech in Senate Chamber: Senator Cools pays tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the forty-seventh anniversary of Her accession to the Throne.

 

The remainder of this day's Senate Debates available here.

 Hon. Anne C. Cools rose pursuant to notice of Tuesday, February 9, 1999:

That she will call the attention of the Senate to the 47th anniversary of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne on February 6, 1952, and also to the commemoration Service of Her Accession held on February 7, 1999 at the Anglican Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto, hosted by its Dean, the Very Reverend Douglas Stoute.

She said: Honourable Senators, I rise to honour the 47th Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne. My theme for this speech will be "The Leader as Servant, Public Service, the Queen and Christ the King."

Honourable senators, the concept of public service, as we know it, was developed in the ideas of Christian service, civic responsibility, and British and Canadian constitutionalism. I shall speak to the values and the principles which founded, created, and sustained our Dominion of Canada, as per the words of Psalm 72, verse 8, King James Version:

He shall have dominion also from sea to sea.

We must press for the renewal and the affirmation of these concepts of public service in Canada, in God and Queen, particularly as the political condition of Canada today is troubling, and compelling care and attention. But first some history. The term "Dominion" replaced "Kingdom" during the drafting of the British North America Act, 1867. The fourth draft of the British North America Act, published in Sir Joseph Pope's book, Confederation , at page 177 stated:

The word 'Parliament' shall mean the Legislature or Parliament of the Kingdom of Canada.

The word 'Kingdom' shall mean and comprehend the United Provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

The words 'Privy Council' shall mean such persons as may from time to time be appointed, by the Governor General, and sworn to aid and advise in the Government of the Kingdom.

About the change from "Kingdom" to "Dominion," Sir John A. Macdonald, in a letter to Lord Knutsford, published in another of Sir Joseph Pope's work Correspondence of Sir John MacDonald, at page 450, tells us:

A great opportunity was lost in 1867 when the Dominion was formed out of the several provinces.

The declaration of all the B.N.A. provinces that they desired as one dominion to remain a portion of the Empire, showed what wise government and generous treatment would do, and should have been marked as an epoch in the history of England. This would probably have been the case had Lord Carnarvon, who, as colonial minister, had sat at the cradle of the new Dominion, remained in office. His ill-omened resignation was followed by the appointment of the late Duke of Buckingham, who had as his adviser the then Governor General, Lord Monck - both good men, certainly, but quite unable, from the constitution of their minds, to rise to the occasion. Had a different course been pursued, for instance, had united Canada been declared to be an auxiliary kingdom, as it was in the Canadian draft of the bill, I feel sure almost that the Australian colonies would, ere this, have been applying to be placed in the same rank as The Kingdom of Canada.

He added as a postscript:

P.S. On reading the above over I see that it will convey the impression that the change of title from Kingdom to Dominion was caused by the Duke of Buckingham. This is not so. It was made at the instance of Lord Derby, then foreign minister, who feared the first name would wound the sensibilities of the Yankees. I mentioned this incident in our history to Lord Beaconsfield at Hughenden in 1879, who said, 'I was not aware of the circumstance, but it is so like Derby, a very good fellow, but who lives in a region of perpetual funk.'

Honourable senators, about leadership, service and trial, I shall cite the Book of Sirach, also known as Ecclesiasticus, Chapter 2, verses 1 to 5:

My son, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart and steadfast, undisturbed in time of adversity. Cling to him, forsake him not; thus will your future be great. Accept whatever befalls you, in crushing misfortune be patient; For in fire gold is tested, and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation.

Honourable senators, in 1984, having been summoned to the Senate by Her Majesty's representative, His Excellency the Governor General of Canada, I entered this red Senate Chamber, our Upper House, for the first time. I placed my right hand on the Bible and swore the Oath of Allegiance. I swore:

I, Anne Clare Cools, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II . . .

I took that oath most seriously. An oath is a promise, a solemn declaration invoking one's deity, an appeal to God.

Honourable senators, last Sunday, St. James Cathedral, full of people assembled by the Monarchist League of Canada and other loyal societies, celebrated the 47th Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne on February 6, 1952. I recall most vividly her Coronation in 1953. Her Majesty, too, then took an oath, the Coronation Oath, swearing her commitment to her subjects, to mercy, to justice, and to God. I was then a child of nine in Barbados, British West Indies, in the first form of my school, Queen's College, the oldest girl's school in the British Empire, situated on many acres of land, with games fields, hockey fields and three tennis courts. In honour of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation, my school, Queen's College, staged a pageant, an outdoor play, in which one student, an upper form girl, dramatically mounted side-saddle on a horse, played Queen Elizabeth I delivering her inspiring address to her troops poised for battle at Tilbury in 1588, awaiting the approach of the Spanish Armada. Queen Elizabeth I said:

I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king and of a king of England too; and think foul scorn that Parma and Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare too invade the borders of my realm.

Queen Elizabeth I told them that leadership is about heart and stomach, lion-heartedness, in duty and service to God, Queen and Country. The Sovereign, the chief warrior, commanded the troops who fought and died, as was required of them in their soldiers' duty. As a woman, Queen Elizabeth I was exempted from warrior duty but, as Queen and Commander, she personally met and faced her troops, her own warriors. Canada sent many soldiers, young people, to fight and to die in two world wars. They fought and died to defend their God, their King and their country. We owe much to them.

Honourable senators, public service and civic responsibility were emphatic themes of my childhood in Barbados which was filled with the classics by Charles Dickens, Charles Kingsley, and others. I loved Kingsley's The Water Babies about Tom, the child chimney sweep. Imagine - little children inside dirty, dangerous chimneys. I heard accounts of the 19th century's great British social reformers, parliamentarians Lord Shaftesbury and William Wilberforce, whose names still resonated with magic. Both were devout Christians, actually Anglican Evangelicals. Lord Shaftesbury's work for the mentally infirmed, the destitute, the factory workers, and for the child labourers, is still spoken of. Equally legend was William Wilberforce's lifelong, tireless, daunting effort for the abolition of the slave trade and slavery. Wilberforce was successful. He saw the abolition of the slave trade in 1807 but did not live to see the abolition of slavery itself because, sadly, he died days before the abolition of slavery and the passage of the Emancipation Bill in 1833. His 40-year parliamentary action on the amelioration of slavery was his life's work, his life's journey, his pilgrimage.

Reverend John Wesley, the Anglican minister, founder of the Methodist Church, a few days before he died in March 1791, wrote a letter to William Wilberforce, published in Samuel Wilberforce's The Life of Wilberforce. Wesley wrote:

I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise, in opposing that execrable villainy which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils; but if God be for you who can be against you... Go on in the name of God, and in the power of His might, till even American slavery, the vilest that ever saw the sun, shall vanish away before it. That He who has guided you from your youth up may continue to strengthen you in this and all things, is the prayer of your affectionate servant, JOHN WESLEY.

Reverend John Wesley admonished Wilberforce on the perils of trusting in one's own righteousness and trusting in one's own worthiness. He cautioned of the need of God's grace in fighting evil and facing human inadequacy. John Wesley was a powerful influence in my native Barbados, also the birth place of Reverend Douglas Stoute, Dean of St. James Cathedral, and host of this celebration. 

My mother was a Methodist, and a strong Methodist, too. I share this because I understand so well that, even with the whole force of truth, with righteousness and judiciousness on one's side, and even with every rational argument and the powers of moving eloquence on one's side, victory and justice are uncertain, and are often elusive, even fleeting, for reasons that we all know. The human psyche and human nature are artful dodgers. Human frailty, weakness, cowardice, vanity, and inadequacy permit multitudes of wrongs.

Honourable senators, I move now to the political condition of Canada. Often, I hear calls for the abolition of the Senate. I also hear calls, sometimes from the same quarters, for the abolition of the monarchy and for a condition of Queen-lessness in Canada. The finest achievement of constitutional governance is our system of responsible government called "The Queen in Parliament." That is, government, the cabinet, chosen from elected members of Parliament, sitting in Parliament, and politically responsible to Parliament on sufferance of Parliament's confidence.

I view these calls as acts of mischief, as constitutional vandalism, and as vandalism of Canadian history and culture. These proponents, even when they are members of our House of Commons, like Roger Gallaway, are troubling; when members of our cabinet like ministers Lloyd Axworthy, Stéphane Dion, and John Manley, they are vexing.

The principle was that cabinet speaks with one voice, and that cabinet ministers, like senators, are sworn to the Queen. They propose to dispossess Canadians of their inheritance and their institutions, to impoverish them, and to sever them from their history. It is vandalism. Canada has one Parliament. The Constitution Act, 1867, formerly the British North America Act, 1867, in section 17, states:

There shall be One Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Queen, an Upper House styled the Senate, and the House of Commons.

The one Parliament for Canada is indivisible. These members and ministers offer no explanation about the true meaning and true consequences of their propositions, which are for an entirely different social order. I do not support either of these two propositions.

Parliament without the Queen, or without the Senate, is not a Parliament. The problem is that these proponents will not tell us what Parliament without a Senate or a monarch would be. I assert that there can be no Parliament without a monarch, or without a Senate. I assert that the Parliament of Canada is indivisible, as is Canada indivisible. The deconstruction of Parliament is synonymous with the deconstruction of Canada.

The deconstruction of Canada is most evident to me in developments in the institutions of civil society, particularly the family, and also in the judiciary with its judicial activism in family law. I have been pained that Parliament and the courts have been reluctant to vindicate the need of children of divorce for both their parents. On this question, I have adopted a position that the children of divorce have an entitlement to the love and support of both parents, both their mother and their father. Fathers and grandparents simply must not be shut out of a child's life. The Divorce Act or Parliament never intended the dispossession of children of their parents, or the dispossession of parents of their children. I have maintained that Parliament and the courts must vindicate the needs of children of divorce for both parents. I have also asserted that both men and women are equally capable of being good parents, just as they are equally capable of being bad parents. I have repudiated any concept of moral superiority of gender, any concept that women are morally superior to men, or that men are morally inferior to women, or that somehow men are morally defective. As a Christian, we hold that sin is an affliction of the human condition, not an affliction of gender. My upholding of the children of divorce is founded upon the concept of Her Majesty the Queen's Royal Prerogative as the parens patriae, the supreme parent of the nation, of the vulnerable and those in need of her protection, the children. The protection of children was developed in the jurisprudence of the courts headed by the Queen's chief representative, the Lord Chancellor, in the Courts of Chancery and Equity, both in the United Kingdom and in Canada. That jurisprudence in the late 19th century gave us the terms, "the welfare of the child" and "the best interests of the child." I have merely reasserted that the Queen's parens patria and the best interests of the child have always ever included the child's interests in both parents' meaningful involvement in the child's life, both fathers and mothers.

The Queen is the chief parent of all the children of the land. We parliamentarians are their stewards. Psalm 127, verse 3, The Good News Bible, tells us:

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing.

Human nature is imperfect. Consequently, the leaders of society are imperfect. Therefore, it is imperative that leaders must aspire to ideals and principles that are higher than their own human nature. Leadership must bear allegiance and loyalty to a centre that is higher than that which they can control. Failure to do so will result in leadership based in self-interest, personal fancy, vanity and personal power drives, what St. Augustine called the libido dominandi, the lust for domination, for personal power.

We must understand the dark and the light sides of human beings. Human capacity for evil and human capacity for good live side by side. That is why, in the exercise of power and leadership, Lord Acton wrote:

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It is an ill-fated leader or politician who ignores those words. Leadership must be guided by principles and concepts that are clear and known to all, and which are grounded in a sense of public duty, public service, and love. For us, these have been Christian principles as born of Judaic, Christian, and Islamic tradition. We can look to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus and Ishmael, the bond child of Abraham with Hagar, for guidance. For me, these principles are non-negotiable.

Further, they are written in the Constitution Act, 1982, the preamble of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which states:

Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:

I suppose all I can say is credo, I believe, with the Apostles Creed, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Queen Elizabeth II has lived, to the best of her ability, the high concepts of public service in Christ the King. She is a great woman, a great Queen and a great servant. God Bless the Queen!

Romans, Chapter 12, verse 5, King James version tells us:

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Honourable senators, we are all connected.

I would like to thank honourable senators. I attended that service last Sunday. It was magnificent. In point of fact, I was an honoured guest. I gave the homily.

The music was spectacular under the Director of Music, Dr. Giles Bryant, and the organist, Christopher Dawes. The choir was outstanding. I invite all of us to celebrate the great things in Canada and in our lives more often, in praise and in song and in prayer.