|'Profound Reasons for Thanksgiving'
Her Majesty The Queen's address on Parliament Hill Saturday in reply to the address of loyalty adopted by the Senate and the House of Commons.
MR. SPEAKER of the Senate; Mr. Speaker of the House of Commons.
I thank you both for the Loyal Addresses which you have read on behalf of Parliament and for your welcome to my husband and myself.
One hundred years of Confederation, what a simple statement, but what a remarkable chapter in Canada's history. It is altogether right and fitting that Sovereign and people should meet together here at the heart of Canadian existence to give thanks on this great occasion.
Canada is a country that has been blest beyond most other countries in this world. Although there have been all the possibilities for human anguish and conflict, the pages of Canada's history during the last hundred years have hardly been strained by serious misfortunes. The problem which faced the statesmen of 1867 and the national problems which have had to be met in the intervening years have been solved, with rare and minor exceptions, through discussion and through an effort of tolerance, goodwill and understanding.
When I visited the scenes of those historic discussions at Charlottetown and Québec three years ago, it came to me how quietly this nation had been created by men sitting around a table. Not the least important service rendered by Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir George Etienne Cartier and the other Fathers of Confederation, was this tradition of calm consultation which they established.
LET no one underestimate the imagination and daring shown by those men one hundred years ago. They created one nation of this great country which reaches from sea to sea, a land rich in the things that man needs for a good life, enough to provide for a varied and growing population and to help meet the world's needs as well. They also created a nation that has grown and prospered in an atmosphere of freedom, where differences are respected, and where the rights of individual men and women to work out their own salvations have never been long denied. These are profound reasons for our thanksgiving.
On this day of celebration it is right that we should remember with gratitude the men and women who have held responsibility and authority -- at the time of Confederation and down through the years in the National Capital as in the Provinces -- for their contribution to the birth and growth of Canada.
I can think of no more valiant and fitting representative of the people I have in mind than the late General Vanier, soldier, patriot and servant of Canada.
I HAVE spoken of the great men, the men whose names have an honored place in Canada's history, but we must not forget that we owe as much to the unsung work and steadfast lives of great numbers of more humble people. The men and their families who made the clearings and worked the land, and who built the roads, railways and canals. The greatness and stability of this country also rests on these firm foundations. I am thinking of the eager immigrants who came with such high hopes and had to face the dread of cholera; of the early settlers on the prairies struggling through the harsh winters; of the fishermen determined to wring in a livelihood in the storm of danger of unfamiliar waters; of the many thousands who went back in two world wars because they believed so strongly in their own freedom. It is these, the ordinary people of Canada, who have given fresh and sinew to the plans of the Fathers of Confederation.
(Translated from French). It is a hundred years of nationhood that we celebrate today. But let us not forget the earlier centuries of arduous labor that came before Confederation. I am not likely to overlook the contributions made by those British stock who came here from elsewhere in North America or who were settlers from the old world in the new. Even more extended in time, and as deep in impact, have been the contributions made by Canadians of French descent. Ever since Champlain founded his Habitation at Québec -- and planted those rose bushes around it -- this air has been sweetened with the French tongue and French culture and sharpened with French intelligence and French resource. It is one of the marvels of history that a society planted so precariously in the wilderness should not only have survived but should have flourished so triumphantly, still loyal to its past and open to everything that is new. From all I hear, from everything I know, I am sure that the contributions of French Canada to the life of this country as a whole will prove even ampler in the future than they have been in the years gone by.
TOMORROW I sail down the St. Lawrence to pay a visit to Expo '67. I have no doubt that I will find there a great mirror held up to the future. It will be possible to catch glimpses of what may be expected in the further exploration of space, in new methods of travel and communications, in the growth of new technologies. Such a future clearly holds as large opportunities for imagination and daring as any that have made this country what it is will also enable Canadians to share in such a future to the full. On the basis of the natural and human resources that are available here, the broad industrial development, the many centers of learning and research, and the skills found here, there should be few limits to what Canada is capable of. Above all, the energy and resourcefulness of Canadians may be relied on to carry them forward successfully whatever the swiftness of the changes that we will witness.
Sustaining a human perspective will be possible, I am inclined to think, only if we have the courage to probe within ourselves as well as into space. And in thinking about the future we must not be too much distracted from the problems that we can see about us in our society today. This country is fortunate and prosperous above most others. But not all of its people are free from want or hardship. There are still wrongs to be righted and suffering to be relieved. There is still a constant effort of accommodation to be made so that all the peoples in this great country may live together in friendship and harmony. (End of French translation).
Confederation has given Canada the economic strength which has made it possible for her to help the needy countries in their economic development; it has made it possible for Canada to provide forces to help keep the peace where it has been threatened, and, above all, it has given increasing power and authority to Canada's voice in world affairs. This power and authority derives from the internal national unity and it can only be sustained and flourish if that national unity prospers.
From the very earliest days, the name of Canada is associated with prodigious voyages of the seamen from Bristol and St. Malo in their tiny ships, then the explorers who went by canoe up the Ottawa to the Great Lakes and along the waterways of the Middle West to the Rockies and beyond. With the beginning of this new century the whole Canadian nation embarks on another great voyage. May it bring peace and prosperity, happiness and harmony and a just reward for the work and endeavor of each one of you.
- End of article. Copyright by The Ottawa Journal, July 3, 1967. All rights reserved.