|Prime Minister Stephen Harper today delivered the following remarks at a dinner held in honour of Her Majesty The Queen|
"Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness,
"Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
"Tomorrow concludes Your Majesty’s twenty-second Royal Tour as Queen of Canada. Each of these occasions has been very much like a family gathering. Rituals are observed, milestones are celebrated, and bonds are strengthened.
"Your faithfulness to Canada over so many years has made a difference. It reminds us that our country itself is like a family. And that we have an extended family around the world, in the Commonwealth. In 1973 in this very place, Your Majesty said you 'would like the Crown in Canada to represent everything that is best and most admired in the Canadian ideal.' In this you have succeeded marvellously!
"Throughout your reign you have been a constant voice for mutual understanding and tolerance. And as head of the Commonwealth, a strong advocate for freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. And we believe there are no virtues, no values, more Canadian than these! I would like to take this opportunity, Your Majesty, to offer a personal word. It is said that the endurance of the Crown depends on 'magic.' Observing your service to Canada throughout my lifetime, I believe the reality is simpler than that, and much more powerful.
"The enduring strength of the Canadian Crown is the result of your hard work and devotion. And the affection and esteem in which you are held by Canadians are very real, and indeed profound. I spoke recently with a young man who saw Your Majesty and Your Royal Highness on a walkabout here in Toronto, during the Golden Jubilee Tour. Your Royal Highness spoke with the young man, who is from London, Ontario. The young man told me, 'I was impressed.' He said some things
about my own hometown that even I’d forgotten. 'They know this country better than anyone.'
"You know this country and its people, having met countless Canadians of every background and way of life. And, while you make it look effortless, we know that it is not. But it is inspired by your devotion to Canada. A devotion we would all do well to copy. We no longer speak as often as once we did, of the importance of doing one’s duty. But by your unfailing example, you have shown us the power of that virtue! Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, as tomorrow we see you off, allow me, on behalf of all Canadians to thank you for being with us, yet again, and to wish you a safe journey. Ladies and gentlemen, it is customary on such occasions that an official gift be given.
"Her Majesty and His Royal Highness were delighted to learn that a donation would be made in their name to support the well-being of families of the Canadian military, those of current and former members of the naval forces of Canada and children from economically disadvantaged homes.
"I am very pleased to announce, therefore, that in the name of Her Majesty and His Royal Highness, the Government of Canada will make substantial gifts to the True Patriot Love Foundation, the Royal Canadian Naval Benevolent Fund, and the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation. Finally, no family gathering is complete without a bit of nostalgia. Your Majesty is no stranger to Canada’s favourite sport, having attended your first hockey game here in Toronto, in 1951.
"In 2002, Your Majesty made history as the first monarch to open a hockey game, by dropping the ceremonial puck in Vancouver. As the saying goes, the crowd went wild. I am happy to announce that that wonderful moment has been incorporated in a new display to be housed in the Hockey Hall of Fame. And within that display, Your Majesty, is a personal gift to you, to mark your latest Royal Tour of Canada. By way of explanation, as Queen of Canada, you share in the recent triumph of our Canadian Olympic hockey champions. And so, I say you are not only
'victorious, happy and glorious,' – you are also Canada’s Most Valuable Player!
"I now ask Your Majesty to officially unveil this new tribute to Canada’s favourite sport.
"Ladies and gentlemen, will you please charge your glasses, and rise for the Loyal Toast to Her Majesty, Queen of Canada.
PM Press Office 7/6/2010