28 June 2010
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today made the following remarks to welcome Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh to Canada:
"Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Your Excellency Governor General Michaëlle Jean, Excellency, Lieutenant Governor Mayann Francis, Minister MacKay, Premier Dexter, Mayor Kelly, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.
"It is a great honour today, on behalf of the Government and people of Canada, to welcome home to Canada, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip The Duke of Edinburgh. Your Majesty, this is your 22nd official tour of our country as Queen of Canada. You have visited Canada more often than any other country in the Commonwealth.
"And we are honoured that you have given us your time so generously. Each of your tours is etched in the memories of Canadians. The people you have met, and those who have witnessed your walkabouts or glimpsed your motorcade, those people treasure those experiences for a lifetime. In fact, seeing you drive by, just two blocks from my childhood home In Ontario is one of my earliest and fondest memories. Your tours have also been important moments in Canada’s history. They include presiding over the opening of Parliament in 1957, when you became the first reigning Canadian monarch to deliver the Speech from the Throne.
"You also joined us to celebrate our centennial year at Expo 67, Canada’s first Olympic Games in 1976, the patriation of our Constitution in 1982, Confederation’s 125th birthday in 1992, and the centennials of Saskatchewan and Alberta in 2005. In your farewell speech in Alberta, you noted how the relationship between Canada and the Crown has evolved since the Dominion was born. But, you added, and I quote:
‘I…can sense the continuity; it seems to me like yesterday that small girls offered me flowers on my first visit fifty-four years ago, yet today, I suspect, it is their grandchildren who are presenting the bouquets.’
"How right you were, your Majesty. Not only about the grandchildren and the bouquets, but about the continuity of Canada’s respect and affection for you and the continuing role of the Crown in the affairs of our country.
"The Crown, through you, is the embodiment of some of our most precious values: the rule of law, individual freedom, inclusive citizenship, sacrifice, duty and commitment.
"Everywhere you go on this year’s Royal Tour of Canada, Canadians will pay respect to you and everything your reign has represented.
"We look especially forward to your joining us for this year’s Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill. For we could imagine no better gift on our national birthday, than to share it with our Queen. Thank you Your Majesty, for over half a century of wise and gracious service as our monarch."