Past Presidents' Dinner
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 13 Nov 1984, p. 127-140
Derry, Douglas, Speaker
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Toast to Canada and the Commonwealth by Edward Jolliffe. Toast to the Empire Club of Canada and its Past Presidents by Margaret Scrivener. Presentation to the Guest of Honour by C.R. Charlton.
Date of Original
13 Nov 1984
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Full Text
Douglas L. Derry, F.C.A. Immediate Past President
November 13, 1984
Royal Canadian Military Institute
The President Catherine R. Charlton, M.A., Chairman


Vice Regal Salute

Grace The Rev. Harold Roberts Director of the Club

The Queen Setrak Adourian Director of the Club

Greetings on behalf of The Hon. John B. Aird

H.M. Queen Elizabeth II Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

Hon. Vice President of the Club

Toast to Canada and the Edward B. Jolliffe, Q.c.

Commonwealth Past President of the Club

Response William M. Karn

Past President of the Club

The Empire Club of Canada Margaret Scrivener, M.P.P. and Its Past Presidents Director of the Club

Response Stephen F Andrunyk, O.M.M., C.D.

Past President of the Club

Presentation to the Catherine R. Charlton,M.A.

Guest of Honour President of the Club

Toast to Canada and the Commonwealth

Edward Jolliffe

Madam President, friends and colleagues: I have the privilege of proposing that we pause for a few monents to pay honour where honour is due.

Throughout the long history of this club, it has been closely identified in its own way with the growth and development of our country and of the community of nations of which Canada is a senior member. The evolution of both Canada and the Commonwealth are two of the most significant and extraordinary phenomena of this century.

A day or two after November 11 it may be proper to recall the parts played by Canada and other members of the old Empire and Commonwealth from 1914 to 1918 and from 1939 and to 1945. It was a great surprise to those who thought we had drifted apart and could never stand together again. We do not forget!

If I may digress slightly: in this club our last major project during my presidency was the dinner on June 6, 1969, to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of D-Day. In planning it I was helped by Bob Hilborn, the late Ted Royce, and Trumbull Warren. I thought the ideal speaker would be FM. Lord Montgomery, the great commander who led our Canadians and their allies on that day, and who I knew had a very high regard for his Canadians. I had a most interesting correspondence with the old soldier. He was very anxious to come. What is more he was. deeply touched, and he said so and that his only invitation to commemorate that historic day came from the Empire Club of Canada. But the doctors would not let him travel, so his message was taped for our dinner and introduced by Lord Montgomery's Chief of Staff, from El Alamein to Berlin, Major General Sir Francis de Guingand.

Sir Francis said, as recorded in our Yearbook, page 302: "I'm afraid tonight it's very sad that you have not got our old chief Montgomery with you ...".

After we had heard the message, Sir Francis reminisced for awhile about the war, and told us of the day he welcomed the German Field Marshal Jodl, who had come to capitulate. Sir Francis said, and this is at page 310 of the Yearbook: "I asked my ADC to go over and offer him lunch. He refused a dry martini. And I remember thinking what a terrible position to be in, having been so important a general, absolutely lauded by the German people and now going to sign the unconditional surrender of his country."

And on the next page: "As you know he was strung up after the Nuremberg trials."

Well, I thought the D-Day dinner was a success; but it had a strange sequel which has no place in the annals of Canada or the Commonwealth, but is among the most horrific experiences ever of a president of this club. Of course I read the galleys of the Yearbook carefully. When I received the first copy of the book itself, however, I was absolutely horrified to discover that eight pages had been misplaced, pages 303 to 310. And this was the awful result: at the foot of page 303, Sir Francis

Past Presidents'


In attendance at the dinner were:

Past Presidents of the Club

BGen. S.F Andrunyk Robt. L. Armstrong

Sir Arthur Chetwynd, Bt. Harold V. Cranfield, M.D. Douglas L. Derry, FC.A. John W Griffin

Peter Hermant Sydney Hermant Col. R.H. Hilborn Arthur E.M. Inwood E.B. Jolliffe, Q.c. James H. Joyce Wm. M. Korn

MGen. Bruce J. Legge, Q.C. BGen. Reginald Lewis John A. MacNaughton The Hon. J.H. Potts, Q.C. R. Bredin Stapells, Q.C. The Hon. A.H. Stark, Q.C.

Officers of the Club

Directors of the Club

Setrak Adourian Sarah A. Band Willis L. Blair Jerry Collins Carlyle Dunbar Ronald Goodall, F.C.A. Lorraine Gotlib, Q.C. R.F Gulliford

John D. Herrick

The Very Rev. E.M. Howse The Hon. D.A. Lang, Q.C. John P. MacBeth, Q.c.

H. Dennis Madden Ian D.C. McPhail Dr. J.A. Parish

The Rev. H.F Roberts R.A. Robertson Margaret Scrivener, M.pp. J.A. Wm. Whiteacre, Q.C.

Directors of the Foundation

Diana Chant, C.A. Catherine Charlton Montague Larkin, C.A. Harry Seymour

Fraser Deacon

C. Warren Goldring Donald G. Neelands


said: "I'm afraid tonight it's very sad that you have not got our old chief Montgomery with you." And at the top of the next page: "As you know he was strung up after the Nuremberg trials."

Stricken with horror, I went to the phone at once, demanding recall of the books and their correction. As far as I know they were all recalled and corrected but for some time I had visions of Montgomery's wrath falling on my head. Such are the perils of being a president.

Apart from the occasional misprint, this club has always stood firm in its loyalty to Canada and to the Crown, now the Queen, who heads the Comonwealth.

... Our country has always been underestimated ...

Canada? Our country has always been underestimated, very often by Canadians, most often by wise men and experts abroad. Voltaire said in 1759 that two great nations were at war spending more on that war than all Canada was worth, Canada being only a few acres of snow. Our people too have been underrated. The German General Bernhardi (the one who said "war is a biological necessity") also said in 1912 that "colonial" troops like ours would never count for anything in the European theatre; they could be ignored. He was wrong. But another German war lord also said - after being routed by the Canadian Corps - that it was the best amateur army in history. He was right.

Some people think that the cradle of liberty was in Virginia or Philadelphia. They are wrong. The idea that free men are entitled to self-government was born in England centuries ago, an idea so radical that it led to a civil war and a Revolutionary War. But the real cradle of liberty was right here. It was here that self-government linked with loyalty and trust had its beginnings.

... we moved on, not by revolution but by steady evolution ...

From there, we moved on, not by revolution but by steady evolution, to 1840 and 1867 and the charter of 1926, which declared the Dominions to be "autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations."

The steady evolution continues to this day, when forty-nine nations are proud to have membership in a unique organization. Among us all there have been great successes and great failures, but there is no attempt to achieve uniformity, just as there is no uniformity of opinion among Empire Club speakers. We do not even strive for unity in diversity, because that is not always possible.

What we do value is an association unlike any other in the history of the world with growing understanding and faith in each other. I venture to say that all our partners are proud of their membership, as we are. On our part, we can also be proud of Canada's role in building the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Ladies and gentlemen: I invite you to rise and drink a toast to our Canada and our Commonwealth!

The response was made by William M. Karn, a Past President of the Club.

Toast to the Empire Club of Canada and its Past Presidents

Margaret Scrivener

Madam Chairman, honoured guests and fellow members of the Empire Club of Canada: As always, I am pleased and privileged to join this august gathering assembled for such an important event. I note with pleasure some of my distinguished constituents present this evening. And tonight I am doubly honoured at having been invited to propose the toast to a very distinguished group of members who have served the club well over a period of time - our Past Presidents.

While I feel a considerable humility in undertaking this onerous task, I do so in the security of being able to claim having been the daughter of a Past President. My father, Thomas Henry Howse, fulfilled his term of office in the year 1948-49, long before women could aspire to membership and to the high office you now hold, Madam President.

As well, I could be regarded as having a second qualification. As a member of the Provincial Parliament of Ontario, my identification as a legislator may be considered seemly in terms of the ideals of this club. However, being a legislator can have its bittersweet moments, as witness, on the one hand, the chagrin we at Queen's Park experienced last week when we learned about the Morgentaler decision (apparently it pays to break the law), or the consternation we felt when eleven city councillors refused to vote on a decision to issue a demolition permit to a developer (the taxpayers will pay a $115,000 fine because the councillors flouted that law) and, on the other hand, the heady anticipation and excitement of the Ontario Conservative leadership convention next January.

Several weeks ago, when I was in the process of recruiting a new member for the club, I was asked why he should join the Empire Club and what were the special qualities which set it apart from other luncheon or service groups.

... the Empire Club of Canada has a very particular ambience of its own created by its style and by its membership ...

We all know, Madam President, that the Empire Club is "different", but how to convey its special qualities to an outsider? After a moment of thought, I responded that the Empire Club of Canada does indeed have a difference. Far from being a mere luncheon club, it has a very particular ambience of its own created by its style and by its membership, all of whom have been proposed for acceptance by the board by other members. You cannot just "buy" your way into the Empire Club.

Secondly, the club has very lofty ideals in terms of its ties with the British Crown and the Commonwealth, and as a result, holds a strong belief in and respect for British justice and the common law. As a servant of the Queen, I believe it is exceedingly important that there should be a viable, on-going organization such as the Empire Club providing a constant reminder and challenge to public thinking in this vein. And the rapport the club has always maintained with the Loyal Societies is a further, important extension of this process. While pursuing this train of thought, I made this further observation to my friend: In an era which has seen the general decorum become increasingly casual, there is now a shift in societal attitudes, a re-statement and a greater emphasis upon simple "good manners". It seems to me that the security of conduct implicit with protocol is undergoing a restoration. We here tonight appreciate that the Empire Club has always maintained a very clear and correct protocol, and it is reassuring to know that the entire style is being "rediscovered". More power to Bud HofFman!

However, we also know that the Empire Club does not rely solely upon its capacity for finely-executed protocol for its success. Madam President, I think its great success must surely lie with three main attributes.

These are:

1. The quality of the Empire Club leadership, which has been consistently strong throughout the years;

2. Its ability to maintain a great emphasis upon the Crown and the Commonwealth;

3. And the platform it has provided for political thought throughout the years, without the club itself being partisan.

The outward visible sign of the club's success has been reflected in the strength of its memberhsip and in the incredibly high level of speakers it has been able to attract to its podium. Which brings us full circle to my stated purpose at the commencement of these remarks, that is, the toast to our Past Presidents.

All of our Past Presidents have been exceedingly competent speakers in their own right, some of them indeed being markedly superior - considerably more eloquent - than the persons they introduced to rapt audiences week after week. Of course, there have been occasions when an introduction was somewhat, shall we say, fulsome, but that too was a reflection of the scintillating opinion and wit of the President of the day.

And we have all heard tales about the speakerinspired anxieties that our Presidents have had to endure, when speakers failed to show (every President has a stand-by for just such eventualities), or arrived late for lunch (there have been several such cliff-hangers in recent years), imbibed too much of "the grape" with disporaneously, without any of the "notes" so dear to the heart of those who compile our Empire Club Yearbook.

Yes, the agonies and vicissitudes so patiently borne by our Presidents are many, but on the platform all present a confident, reassuring countenance which speaks volumes in body-language to our members and their guests.

... It has been our good fortune that our Presidents have been possessed of infinite vision and foresigh t ...

In closing, ladies and gentlemen, I would say this: It has been our good fortune that our Presidents have been very capable persons, possessed of infinite vision and foresight, as well as the tact and leadership so necessary to an organization of this nature. They have been distinguished persons, not the least of whom is the incumbent, Catherine Charlton, who as the first woman to hold this position brings it grace and charm no man could match. Her predecessors are men we know and respect and love for their great talents and continuing contribution to the purposes of the Empire Club. Their important role as leaders of this esteemed body, the style and standards that they have set, are the ongoing challenge to those who come after them.

Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to charge your glasses and join me in drinking a toast to the Past Presidents of the Empire Club of Canada.

Presentation to the Guest of Honour

C.R. Charlton

Your Honour, distinguished Past Presidents, directors and friends: It is the past presidents of this club who are its very essence, and so I am pleased to announce that this year, in consultation with the President of the Foundation, we have created the Past Presidents' Medal. Each past president has received one, and many are wearing them this evening for the beginning of another important club tradition.

When one speaks about Douglas Derry's year, one's tongue inevitably rolls around the syllables "Margaret Thatcher". And what more you may ask need one say about anyone's year? To say "Margaret Thatcher" is to see every past president's eye light up, and the vocal chords quiver in incipient introduction .

But Margaret Thatcher was not the only event in 1983-84; I remind you of these other interesting activities: - of Canada's last remaining father of Confederation, Joseph Smallwood, volubly celebrating our eightieth Anniversary; of the Empire Tea, immortalized by our very own blend of tea; of the Premier of Ontario on the state of the economy, followed by the Japanese Ambassador on the state of relations, followed by the Honourable Michael Pitfield on the state of the state.

And how could one forget Douglas's original style - "terminating" meetings where others merely "adjourn", toasts to "the Queen, Lorraine du Canada", and of course his constant reminders to take out memberships, renew memberships, spousal memberships, life memberships, spousal life memberships ... and on and on...

But lightness aside, Douglas Derry stands alone as the President who computerized the Empire Club's mailing system. This is one of those unsung jobs that take hundreds of hours of time, patience and painstaking attention to detail. Yet this single activity affects every event of the Empire Club and the move to computerize will benefit presidents for years to come.

Thank you, Douglas, for this service and for all the others that go unsung. Thank you for seeing the club through its 1983-84 season, and its eightieth Anniversary, with distinction and with such outward calm.

In recognition of your services to the Empire Club it is my pleasure to present you with this suitably inscribed tray.

Mr. Derry then addressed the meeting.

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Past Presidents' Dinner

Toast to Canada and the Commonwealth by Edward Jolliffe. Toast to the Empire Club of Canada and its Past Presidents by Margaret Scrivener. Presentation to the Guest of Honour by C.R. Charlton.