Christmas Luncheon
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 13 Dec 1990, p. 205-211
Alexander, The Honourable Lincoln, Speaker
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Season's Greetings from the Lieutenant Governor and Special Performance by the Choir and Orchestra of Grenville Christian College.
Date of Original
13 Dec 1990
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Full Text
The Honourable Lincoln Alexander Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
Season's Greetings from the Lieutenant Governor and Special Performance by the Choir and Orchestra of Grenville Christian College.
Chairman: Harold Roberts President


We are most pleased that for the sixth time in his term of office, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable Lincoln Alexander, has honoured us with his presence and annual greeting to this Christmas Luncheon. I am especially pleased, in that because he accepted an extension to his term he is able to to be at this luncheon, during my time of office.

As an Aide de Camp to His Honour, I feel a special pride in, and affection for, this man who has served this province with such distinction. I have had the privilege to work "behind the scene" and I must say the demands of the Office are at times, almost inhuman. And yet throughout his term, His Honour has, day after day, approached the vocation with dedication, humour and great warmth. He is a man of the people. It is often an emotional experience to attend a function at a school with him. The young people hang on every word. He has lived and advocated the great ideal that the highest office in the Province of Ontario or any high office is open to all persons who through hard work and perseverance aspire to it.

His Honour is impressive wherever he goes. He is much loved and he deserves it.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Honourable Lincoln Alexander, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

Lincoln Alexander

Mr President, Reverend clergy, distinguished head table guests, ladies and gentlemen.

I want to say how delighted I am to be here with you again. It's a wonderful tradition that this Club follows in terms of seeing to it that the Lieutenant Governors grace this wonderful hall. I've had a lot of fun. You're very warm and you have always received me with open arms. I see the choir there, the youth, the future. The only thing I can tell you about success is it calls for hard work If you continue to believe in yourself, have the confidence in yourself, work hard, then every dream you have will become a reality.

I want to thank the audience of this Club, particularly the members. I guess this is the second time you've been out this week Well, that's what you call appreciation of leadership. I want to thank you for being here and you will notice that I have my tie on this afternoon. Every time I have been here, somebody's complained and said, "Look Adam, he's back again without our tie." I looked high and low for this tie. I started yesterday, found it this morning, and here I am.

Well, Mr. President, I want to thank you for those kind words, but I also want to praise and commend you. I see that you wear three hats: you're a very distinguished man of the cloth, you're a very competent aide de camp, and you're the president of this Club. So, it seems to me that the busier a person becomes, the more famous and the more wanted and the more excellent that person becomes. So, I want to thank you for serving in such a magnificent way.

It is always a most pleasant privilege for me as the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario to convey the warm greetings and seasonal best wishes of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada. My family and I would also like to extend to all of you our best wishes for a safe and joyous festive season and a new year blessed with peace, health, happiness, economic certainty and greater prosperity.

At the present, ladies and gentlemen, the Kuwait/Iraq crisis is certainly on everyone's mind and I join with you in prayer for an early, peaceful and lasting solution. I salute and thank those gallant men and women who now serve in the Persian Gulf, following in the footsteps of volunteers who preceded them. I can think of World War I, World War II, NATO and peace-keeping. Pray for them.

As a representative of Her Majesty, the Queen, and the Parliament of Ontario, I've travelled the width and breadth of this beautiful province for more than five years. As you know, my term has been extended until September 20th, 1991. Accordingly, this will be my final attendance with you as Lieutenant Governor. I remember the last time I was here, I said perhaps that was the last time. This time, it's for sure. You know how it happened. I met with the Prime Minister at the Brazilian Ball--one of the magnificent balls--it's involved with charity. He was looking for me and I didn't want to see him. I knew what he had on his mind. And I talked to my partner--Mummy, as I like to call her. Some people find that offensive, but it is Mum. I said, "At long last, this wonderful job which we love so much will be over and we will now be able to find the Orient Express which you want to travel. I don't know where it is, but we'll try it." Well, the Prime Minister finally caught me. I said, "Well, what can I do for you, Prime Minister, as if I didn't know?" He said, "1'd like to extend your term." I said, "For how long?" He said, "One year at a time." I said, "No, Sir. That's the wrong way to put it. One year only." Here I am and it's a wonderful experience to be here.

I have to say I was delighted. It was very tiring, but you learn so much. And so really, even though I didn't want him to ask me, I am glad he did. But I hope you continue to invite me to your annual Christmas function. I do realize in the future though that there will be no free lunches provided. I've been getting away with murder for the past five years. It's been a wonderful experience.

To be Lieutenant Governor is a very rewarding and unforgettable experience. I have had the privilege of shaking over 200,000 hands. I've made 650 visits and revisits to villages, towns and cities throughout the province, welcomed 68,000 guests in my suite, attended over 3,700 functions and attended some 220 schools. It ain't easy, but its fun.

There is no greater honour in my view than serving the Queen as one of her representatives in this great country of ours. Let me pause for a moment and hope that I don't get in trouble because I'm going to talk about my country. I'm a proud Canadian. I love this country. And indeed, it is a great country, a great democracy enjoying an international acclaim--not perfect. You show me a country that's better or show me a country that's more perfect. You can't do it. But I am concerned about its future. There's a glue which has held this country for 123 years, still strong enough to withhold the pressures of this decade. You know, in the past year and a half, we have witnessed unbelievable social and political change. The eyes of the world have been focused on--the Soviet Union, the Berlin Wall, the unification of Germany, South Africa and now the Persian Gulf. But you know, of course, that those eyes are now focused on Canada and its future as a nation from sea to sea. Canadians--all of us--are at the crossroads.

I cannot go too far with this portion of the speech because if I do, Ill be in the front page of the national paper, but I just want to say it is my hope and my prayer that the glue, however interpreted, holds fast and if it needs a little change in the make-up of the glue, I hope we as people who are concerned about this great country of ours are prepared to see that a new mix perhaps can come forth. I have seen a lot and learned a lot, and believe I am no wiser and more knowledgeable about our wonderful province than all the people who make their economic, political and social contributions. When I leave, I will be the beneficiary of exciting experiences.

I will always remember Her Gracious Majesty when I journeyed to London in 1986. At an audience with her she asked all the right questions to make me feel comfortable and at ease. You know, you're a little intimidated when you find out you're going to have an audience with Her Majesty, but she did not intimidate me. I thought I would be, but I felt part of the extended family. I will always remember the Queen Mother whose warmth and friendship brought tears to veteran's eyes and whose stamina and energy boggles the mind. I felt so inadequate when I was with her. I will never forget Angus Ogilvey, husband to Princess Alexandra who, when in Toronto, invited me to lunch, if I was ever in London. I didn't believe him, but I did have lunch with him in London.

I will always remember a young student who asked me who was the right-handed governor. I have heard that has happened before. It never happened to me until about a month ago. Really. I have heard that saying. And he did ask me, "Where was the right-handed governor?" I have said it before on my last visit, I will never forget the vision and energy of our youth--you exemplify them, you who are on that stage--the determination and strength of the disabled, the generosity of volunteers, and corporate Ontario's commitment to charities. Individually and collectively, all have made a significant contribution to the development and vitality of this province.

Despite, ladies and gentlemen, the many good things I have seen and felt and experienced, I am sure I will share with you some other great concerns of mine--that is racism, and intolerance, and the abuse of women and children. Men's attitudes are ripping holes in the fabric of our society. As Ontarians, many of us like to think of our province as nearly Perfect in terms of human relations, however, it would be naive to believe this. In fact, the quality of life of too many people is being adversely affected by racism and intolerance. This should concern all of us. We must sever the shackles of insensitivity, indifference and apathy as we look towards a new year, a new beginning, a fresh start, if you will. We must dedicate ourselves to the fight against racism, intolerance and the abuse of women and children, and to the promotion of justice, equality and racial harmony.

Finally, while we celebrate this holiday season, let us be ever mindful that some are not as fortunate as others and that the spirit of giving and caring should not be restricted to our circle of family and friends. Reach beyond. Go beyond to those who are homeless, who are hungry and lonely, helping others in the true meaning and spirit of Christmas.

I would like to thank you for the support and encouragement which you have given to me and my wife over the past five years. We will always remember the many kindnesses and courtesies extended to us by the people of Ontario and, in particular, by the officers and members of this great organization.

I am singly honoured to stand here as Her Majesty's representative in and for the Province of Ontario, to extend to each of you a merry Christmas, happy holiday season and may your every prayer for the new year be answered. Thank you very much.

The appreciation of the meeting was expressed by Robert Watt, Partner, Hetherington, Fallis, Park, Watt and Carriere and Second Vice President, The Empire Club of Canada.

Harold Roberts:

Today the musical programme is being presented by the Choir and Orchestra of Grenville Christian College.

Situated in beautiful surroundings on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, six km east of Brockville, Ontario, this co-educational boarding school of some 250 students offers a varied curriculum from grade 7 to University entrance level.

Their graduates have an outstanding record of achievement at countless universities and in life in general. They are leaders of tomorrow.

Grenville has developed a rich musical tradition and its choir has sung in many centres throughout the province, including The Empire Club, the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Skydome, the parliament Buildings, the Canadian Club of Ottawa, the Rideau Club and the National Arts Centre.

My remembrances of their Choir at our Christmas Luncheon in December of 1981 were that they were musically superior, a joy to listen to and sing with, and enthusiastic.

The suggestion to have them return was warmly accepted. Ladies and gentlemen, the Orchestra and Choir of Grenville Christian College.

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Christmas Luncheon

Season's Greetings from the Lieutenant Governor and Special Performance by the Choir and Orchestra of Grenville Christian College.