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Speech in Senate Chamber: Congratulatory Address to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Anniversary of Sixty Years of Reign


Business of the Senate

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 27(1), I would like to inform the Senate that as we proceed with government business, the Senate will address the items in the following order: one, motion No. 38; two, the other items of government business as they appear on the Order Paper.

Congratulatory Address to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Anniversary of Sixty Years of Reign

Message from Commons Concurred In

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the Message from the House of Commons in the following words:

Monday, June 4, 2012

RESOLVED,—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty the Queen in the following words:



We, Your Majesty's loyal and dutiful subjects, .................. the House of Commons of Canada in Parliament assembled, beg to offer our sincere congratulations on the happy completion of the sixtieth year of Your reign.

The People of Canada have often been honoured to welcome Your Majesty and other members of the Royal Family to our land during Your reign, and have witnessed directly Your inspiring example of devotion to duty and unselfish labour on behalf of the welfare of Your People in this country and in the other nations of the Commonwealth.

In this, the Diamond Jubilee year of your reign as Queen of Canada, we trust that Your gracious and peaceful reign may continue for many years and that Divine Providence will preserve Your Majesty in health, in happiness and in the affectionate loyalty of Your people.

ORDERED,—That the said Address be engrossed; and

That a Message be sent to the Senate informing their Honours that this House has adopted the said Address and requesting their Honours to unite in the said Address by filling up the blanks with the words "the Senate and".

Hon. Anne C. Cools:
Honourable senators, I rise to speak today to this address to our most gracious sovereign Queen, Elizabeth II. Today we celebrate the sixtieth year of the reign of our sovereign and Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen of Canada. I offer my sincere congratulations on the happy completion of the sixtieth year of her reign, commonly called the Diamond Jubilee.

Honourable senators, this is a most stupendous achievement. This is the most extraordinary and exceptional human and queenly triumph, a 60-year reign over all her subjects, of every colour, every race, religion and nationality in many countries all over the world.

Today I congratulate her. Today I praise her and I thank her. Today I send my deepest esteem and affection to her and her family. I thank her and them for their lives of service in peace and in war.

I note that during the Second World War this family stood as the honourable, fixed and visible symbol of strength, endurance and resistance. This family stood as that symbol in the face of the most terrible, menacing and formidable threat to our humanity, to our individual and collective lives, and to our very existence as free peoples connected and joined by our communion with this Royal Family, then headed by her father, King George VI, whom I remember very well.

I shall read from the Proclamation as printed in the Canada Gazette on February 9, 1952, announcing the February 6 demise of His Majesty King George VI and proclaiming the accession of the then Royal Princess Elizabeth. We should note its assertion of unanimity in cabinet and Privy Council in their allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, remembering, honourable senators, that the word "allegiance" is derived from the old French word "liege" and describes the relationship between king and subject being fealty and allegiance owed to the king and protection and security owed to the subject.

All senators here have taken the oath of allegiance, but we do not swear to the heirs and successors like most people.

Honourable senators, interestingly, this proclamation was not given under the hand of the Governor General of Canada. It was given under the hand of the administrator of Canada, whom, as we know, is a replacement or substitute for the Governor General when the Governor General is ill or absent.

The administrator is always the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. The beautiful, poetic, and solemn proclamation reads in part:

Now Know Ye that I, the said Right Honourable Thibaudeau Rinfret, Administrator of Canada as aforesaid, assisted by Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada do now hereby with one voice and consent of tongue and heart publish and proclaim that the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is now by the death of Our late Sovereign of happy and glorious memory become our only lawful and rightful Liege Lady Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas QUEEN, Defender of the Faith, Supreme Liege Lady in and over Canada, to whom we acknowledge all faith and constant obedience with all hearty and humble affection, beseeching God by whom all Kings and Queens do reign to bless the Royal Princess Elizabeth the Second with long and happy years to reign over us.

That is now 60 years ago. She has reigned for long and happy years, and is celebrating the sixtieth year of her reign. I would like to say to honourable senators that I find it a very touching moment. I recall these events very clearly as a child in Barbados. I was about nine years old at the time. My school, Queen's College, named after Queen Victoria, was a large school set on about 10 acres of land — three tennis courts — full of school mistresses and form captains.

My school staged a pageant. I was a little girl at the time. Those schools have prefects and big girls. I vividly remember a big girl portraying Queen Elizabeth I as she addressed her troops at Tilbury while awaiting the Spanish Armada. Whoever organized the pageant brought a live horse and one of the big girls rode sidesaddle and made those famous statements:

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 to invade the borders of my realm.

That is what she said and her men cheered her on.

That touched me very deeply. I went to school and I heard daily about the great principles of British liberalism, enlarging the franchise, abolishing slavery and all those fine accomplishments. That was my childhood. It is very attached to my childhood.

Honourable senators, I will say something that some people may know, but some may not. Canada has had a long and abiding relationship with Kings and Queens of the United Kingdom. Many of the Fathers of Confederation had wanted Canada to be a kingdom. In fact, the term "dominion" displaced the word "kingdom" during the drafting of the British North America Act, 1867. The fourth draft of the act published in Sir Joseph Pope's book Confederation informs us:

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.

Sir John A. Macdonald writes about this in an exchange of letters between himself and Lord Knutsford about the word change from "kingdom" to "dominion." Sir John A. Macdonald wrote, published in Sir Joseph Pope's work Correspondence of Sir John Macdonald:

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

Sir John A. Macdonald in his postscript to this letter added:

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, the term "dominion" itself was borrowed from the Bible; it was a biblical reference. In particular, Psalm 72, verse 8:

He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.

Honourable senators, I thank the Queen for her outstanding efforts as Queen and for being a beacon of light to so many. I thank her for upholding and living the great principles that are articulated as a concept of the leader as a servant. The leader, the Queen, is a servant of all whom she serves.

Honourable senators, our concept of public service as we know it in Canada was developed in the ideals of Christian service, civic responsibility, all couched in British and Canadian constitutionalism. Today I uphold those principles and concepts which have created us and sustained us as a country under our sovereign, and in particular under this sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, whose service of Canada spans for a period of time that can be measured as over half of the total life of Canada as a country.

Canada has been a part of her life, and she has known many Canadian prime ministers. As a matter of fact, I remember reading of private dinners with the King, Queen Elizabeth and the girls in the writings of Mackenzie King.

Honourable senators, she is a unifying symbol; an eternal, stable and perpetual symbol. We must press for the renewal and the affirmation of these concepts to the public service of Canada in God and Queen, particularly in a time when there is so much instability economically and politically.

Being a sovereign, honourable senators, is about heart and stomach, lion heartedness in duty and service to God. It is about force and moral character. It is about the force of conviction. It is also about the force of intellect.

Remember, Her Majesty is the actuating power in the entire BNA Act, our entire Constitution. She is the fountain of honour, justice and mercy. It is for those reasons that I say these individuals are trained all of their lives to do these tasks. The only words I can think of to describe them are "lion heartedness."

I would like to close with a prayer from the Book of Sirach, also called Ecclesiasticus, Chapter 2, verses 1 to 5. I took it from the Saint Joseph Edition of the New American Bible:

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.

I thank Her Majesty again. One can certainly say she has been tested as gold in fire. I would like to say that this woman was formed and forged in world events and has served throughout, unflinchingly. I shall end by saying: Long may she reign over us. God save the Queen.

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