Greg delivered a tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the House of Commons.
Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre
Check Against Delivery
It is my honour to rise in this 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 2 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 significant impact.
Though her passing should not have been unexpected, in anyone’s heart – and her husband – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh -- 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, always dependable.
For 70 years – more than my whole life – she has been our Queen – Canada’s Queen -- and she has defined the role and shown the dignity, grace, and humility as an illustration of service to people in her realms – and around the world – a literal personification of an institution that provides a light over which free people govern themselves.
It’s a challenge to separate the person from the institution – the Queen was both personal and an embodiment of good character and duty to people.
Si quelqu’un demandait à mes amis quand j’étais un jeune homme ce que je pense de l’institution de la Couronne, ils seraient surpris d’entendre les points de vue que je partage avec vous aujourd’hui. À l’époque, j’étais quelqu’un qui avait l’idée que les gens libres devraient se gouverner eux-mêmes - et les institutions du passé n’avaient pas leur place dans nos vies. Liberté, égalité, fraternité – et tout ça.
La vie est un bon enseignant – et on nous a montré un très bon exemple.
L’institution représentée par la reine Elizabeth tous les jours pendant 70 ans – est le fondement qui permet à cette démocratie parlementaire de s’épanouir. Les gens ici changeront, les opinions débattues changeront, la direction du pays changera – avec le temps et le leadership et l’avènement des idées – mais l’institution de la monarchie nous lie – de sorte que même si tout autour de nous peut changer – notre lien en tant que peuple uni a un rocher sur lequel il se tient.
The example this Queen showed us all – the entire world – could not have been a better model of service and duty.
Such is the role she played, and let’s acknowledge that she played this important role every day of her life. No retiring, no holiday from this role – but a duty to bear the responsibilities associated therewith ever and always.
Think of the person that Elizabeth II 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. Friendships changed, 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 4 children, and through it all, she didn’t miss a step.
And 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, a city watched Her Majesty in awe, and 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. But 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 that will be remembered for the ages. Her example is one that some may equal, but none will excel.
She has earned her rest. Queen Elizabeth II – rest in peace, knowing you have left this world a far better place than the one that you inherited.
Long live the King.