DECEMBER 17, 1969
H. Ian Macdonald
Your Honour, Ladies and Gentlemen: I have, today, the happy task of extending a twofold welcome to our annual Christmas Party. First, I welcome all the members of the Empire Club of Canada as well as their families and their friends--not to suggest that the last two categories are mutually exclusive. I would recall, however, that the late President Kennedy, when asked why he hired so many of his relatives, replied that it was easier to fire a relative than a friend.
Second, may I extend a particularly warm welcome to our Honorary Vice-President, the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario and to his daughter, Mrs. Haldenby.
The parody of that old Highland song may tell us that "the Campbells are coming", but obviously, Sir, the Macdonalds are here! At this, our fifteenth meeting since midSeptember, the members of this Club are undoubtedly tired of listening to one of them, but take heart: there are only eighteen more meetings this year. However, I can assure you, Sir, that you suffer from no such disability in this company.
The Queen is the symbolic adornment of our constitutional system, crowning the pillars of our parliamentary democracy. For that reason alone, as Her Majesty's representative, you have our respect and our loyalty. But, Sir, we welcome you even more because no one could mistake you for other than a Canadian, indeed for other than an Ontarian; in fact, I know that the people of your native community think of you only as a Brantfordian. We think of you in all these ways and it is a great delight for us to have you as our guest. You are primus inter pares among us today.
His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor addressed the Club and brought greetings to those present at the Christmas Party. Mr. E. A. Jolliffe then presented a bouquet to Mrs. Haldenby, his Honour's daughter.
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Ladies and Gentlemen, may I turn from "the primus" to introduce "the pares"- our other guests at the Head Table. (Introduction of Head Table guests)
I now have a happy duty to perform, which I do so with particular feeling, as a half-spent President, who hopes that his spending has purchased a programme pleasing to his constituents. One of the many privileges and benefits derived from my association with the Empire Club of Canada has been the opportunity to serve under Ted Jolliffe, our immediate Past President.
We all admired the quiet dignity with which Ted Jolliffe conducted the affairs of this Club last year and the sometimes cryptic, but always apt and illuminating, manner in which he presided over meetings. He was under great pressure, I know, with cases before the Supreme Court of Canada and as a result of the appointment of one of his partners to the Bench in mid-year, but he produced a balanced diet of speakers, with some gourmet delights, climaxed by the notable D-Day Dinner last June. Mr. Jolliffe is now Chief Adjudicator for the Public Service Staff Relations Board in Ottawa and, after a long period on the opposition benches in the Legislature of Ontario, I imagine that he is invulnerable to any bureaucratic snares and delusions. I only hope, Ted, that the rigours of last year in office with the Empire Club did not drive you to escape from the real world and to seek refuge in Ottawa. You are welcome here any time, and I have the happy duty to present you with this illuminated scroll, signed by our Honorary President, the Governor General, which I do now on behalf of the Board of Directors and our entire membership.
It is a matter of great regret that your calm and charming wife was unable to be here today, although we welcome your sister. Mrs. Jolliffe has not been well but, at this very moment--Christmas deliveries being willing--a bouquet of flowers is being dispatched to her at home in Ottawa with our love and good wishes.
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Mr. Jolliffe replied briefly.
The far bank, rather than mid-stream, is the place to thank those who assist in the affairs of this Club. However, I may not have such a large gathering of members as this at our Annual Meeting. May I, then, at this time, say a word or two of appreciation to our Past Presidents, to all our Committee members and, in particular, to Mr. Bath, our Secretary-Treasurer, who, in addition to his daily duties, also chaired the committees planning the Kennedy dinner and this luncheon, to Harold Gillingham who arranges our 500 Head Table guests each year, to our Office Secretary, Miss Groves, who I believe is still speaking to me, and to several lovely ladies present today, who are responsible for the secretarial work of our Committee members.
Your Honour, Ladies and Gentlemen: The Empire Club is a distinguished institution, whose name derives from a period of history, whose activities now also encompass an empire of ideas, whose concern is for an even wider universe of people, and whose role is firmly directed at the highest standards of performance by our beloved country, in all its parts. Even at the respectable age of one hundred and two, Canada still represents to the world an image of youth and vitality. For that reason, I am delighted that we can enjoy today the St. Michael's Choir School Junior Choir--young voices which will exalt the meaning of Christmas just as they symbolize the promise of Canada.
May I thank the Choir, wish you and them a Merry Christmas, and ask, as we contemplate the tasks, responsibilities and blessings of this country in the new decade of the 1970's, that you all rise and join in singing, in this, the Canadian Room, our National Anthem, following which I would ask all to remain standing while the Vice-Regal Party withdraws.