- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 5 Sep 1980, p. 1-23
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- A dinner in honour of The Honourable Pauline McGibbon by the Loyal Societies and Militia.
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- 5 Sep 1980
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- Dinner IN HONOUR OF The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario The Honourable Pauline McGibbon by the Loyal Societies and Militia September 5, 1980
Chairman Major General B. J. Legge Past President of The Empire Club of Canada and Chairman of The Empire Club Foundation
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to see you here as the members of the Military and of the Loyal Societies in honour of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. The Reverend Reginald Stackhouse, the Principal of Wycliffe College and the 78th President of The Empire Club of Canada, will open the proceedings by reading a message from His Excellency the Governor General and by saying Grace.
His Excellency the Governor General
I am pleased to associate myself with those who are paying tribute to you tonight.
You were a "first" in many fields: first woman President of the University of Toronto Alumni Association, first woman admitted to membership in the Canadian Club of Toronto, first woman Chancellor of the University of Toronto and last, but not least, first woman Lieutenant Governor in Canada's history. You will be remembered, however, not as the first woman Lieutenant Governor, but as a Lieutenant Governor--one who, for six years, served her country with the grace and dignity that befit the role of Her Majesty the Queen's representative in a Canadian province.
The people of Ontario have come to admire, respect and love you for the dedication with which you carried out your functions. You have shown them that warmth, graciousness, humour and kindliness can mesh with selfdiscipline, courage, selflessness and devotion to duty. You have shown them the real meaning of the word "service." Indeed, all Canadians have benefited greatly from your example. You have been a faithful servant to your country, a fine asset to the Crown in Canada, a distinguished Lieutenant Governor. I hope you will notice that I have not used the word "woman" since the first sentence!
I thank you for your unceasing efforts on behalf of your province and your country and I wish you many more years of "firsts."
Governor General of Canada
Let us pray. Almighty God, who in your providence has divided to the nations their bounty, we give you deeply felt thanks for this good land of Canada, and especially for this banner province of Ontario, for the abundance of our resources and the fidelity of our people, for the heritage we have received and seek to hand unimpaired to those who will come after us, especially for the Crown and she who has represented it among us with devotion and love, with dignity and joy, with commitment and celebration, manifesting queenly majesty with a common touch, and exemplifying what it means not to be served but to serve and to give one's life for many. May this occasion pay just tribute as justly due, may she and her husband be put in mind of the sure place they have in the hearts of the people they have served. May your spirit bless this meal and this assembly, and following the example of these two good people, may we be ever mindful of the needs of others. Amen.
Thank you, Principal Stackhouse. Ladies and gentlemen, as you were so eloquently advised by Dr. Harold Cranfield, we will now sing "O Canada."
Ladies and gentlemen, dinner will now be served.
(During coffee.) Your Honour, ladies and gentlemen, in the Loyal Societies we are proud that our devotion to our sovereign lady the Queen is both to the gracious person of Her Majesty as well as to the constitutional institution of the Crown in the right of Canada. Because of those two devotions, I sent your loyal greetings and received this reply from Her Majesty at Balmoral Castle:
I sincerely thank all members of the Loyal Societies of Toronto for their kind message of loyal greetings sent on the occasion of the Gala Dinner to mark the retirement of the Honourable Pauline McGibbon, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. I much appreciate this message and hope you all have a most enjoyable evening. I send my very best wishes to the Lieutenant Governor.
I now have the honour of inviting Mr. Donald McGibbon to propose the Loyal Toast, following which we will sing "God Save the Queen."
Your Honour, ladies and gentlemen, the Queen of Canada.
Your Honour, My Lord Bishop, Madame Minister, My Lords the Queen's Chief Justices, gallant officers, learned friends, distinguished guests, fellow members of the Canadian Armed Forces and of the Loyal Societies: That is the last time, with Your Honour's permission, that we will use the full and fulsome formality that those attending Your Honour's dinner warrant.
There is a story of a Member of Parliament marching up to Prime Minister Churchill in the smoking room at Westminster and complaining that the police had not troubled to halt traffic when he was trying to drive out of the Mr's parking lot. "They obviously didn't know who I was," he said. Churchill sagely asked, "And who were you?"
In the reserves and in the Loyal Societies, we all know who we are and where we stand in our loyalties to the great institutions of Canada. I have been asked to introduce your guests, those whom General Lewis, Honorary Treasurer of the Empire Club Foundation, calls the paying guests, at the head table. I ask each one of the eighty guests to rise momentarily as their names are called and will you please withhold your applause until all of the eighty guests have been introduced.
The choir will sing the beautiful "Arise, my Love," composed by the immortal Dr. Healey Willan, in celebration of the Healey Willan Centennial in Canada, and then a lilting Welsh melody, "The Ashgrove." The choir will conclude with the rousing "Vive la Canadienne." Ladies and gentlemen, the famous St. George's College Choir under the talented direction of Mr. Maurice White.*
Thank you, Mr. White and St. George's College Choir. Our formal appreciation will be expressed by my learned friend John Lawer, Qc, a partner in the firm of Phelan, O'Brien, Shannon & Lawer, a member of our planning committee, and the distinguished President of the English-Speaking Union.
Mr. Chairman, Your Honour, distinguished head table guests, ladies and gentlemen: What a pleasure it is to express on your behalf appre ciation to all those persons who this evening have entertained us so royally with their musical talents.
*Historical Note: This was the last public event at which the Rt. Rev. Frederick Hugh Wilkinson attended and the event was reported in the Toronto Star by Ron Lowman: "Major General Bruce Legge, who introduced the bishop recently at a dinner honouring retiring Lieutenant Governor Pauline McGibbon, put it succinctly and brought a standing ovation for Wilkinson when he described him as 'a great musician, a superb organist, the bravest of the brave, the only Canadian to win the Military Medal three times in the first war as a boy who was only eighteen when that war began. Above all, a patriot who was a friend and a true and good bishop.," And how appropriate, indeed, has been their contribution to this gala occasion, for, in the presence of, and in tribute to Her Honour they give us opportunity to voice our gratitude to our Sovereign for her patronage of the arts, and, to acknowledge the personal commitment of the Honourable Pauline McGibbon to artistic endeavours not only in this Province of Ontario, but throughout Canada.
It has been said that no occasion of any moment in our country can properly commence without the skirl of the pipes, and we are most grateful to Pipe Majors John Wakefield of the Toronto Scottish, Ross Mackay of the 48th Highlanders and Ed McClure of the 25th Toronto Service Battalion, of which Her Honour is Honorary Colonel, for insuring the successful beginning of our evening.
As the trumpets then blew before battle and to celebrate victories, so in modern times the band is an integral part of the Queen's military forces. Captain Gino Falconi is tonight following in the footsteps of illustrious predecessors as he conducts the band of the Royal Regiment of Canada.
When St. George's College, an independent school for boys, opened in 1964, a choir was quickly formed. Since then the choristers have toured Canada, visited the United States and sung in the ancient cathedrals of Britain.
The choir is affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music, which is proud to have as a patron Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor. And I reflect that the College bears the name of that Captain of the Noble Army of Martyrs and Champion Knight of Christendom to whom King Arthur dedicated "The Order or Society of St. George and the Round Table," refounded by King Edward III as the Order of St. George and the Garter, thereby establishing George of Lydda, Patron or Chief Saint of England.
And how pleasant it was that the master of the choristers, Mr. Maurice White, chose to include among the choir's offerings tonight a selection by Dr. Healey Willan, a founder and first Warden of St. George's College, an adopted son of Toronto, the centenary of whose birth is being celebrated this year, and whose homage anthem, "O Lord our Governor," was the first example of coronation music ever contributed by the Dominions.
And now, all Canada will reap the benefits of Her Honour's abilities, for as she lays down the mantle of office of Lieutenant Governor, she assumes new responsibilities as Chairman of the National Arts Centre Corporation at Ottawa, which is charged with encouraging the performing arts in the national capital region and with supporting the efforts of the Canada Council to promote the arts throughout the country.
Your Honour, you have demonstrated an amazing ability to not only dream of, but to achieve, perfection of performance, and we are most grateful to you.
Thank you, Mr. Lawer. In these manipulative days when the great engines of persuasion, the media, are presenting Canadians as squabbling, greedy, self-interest groups, the Loyal Societies and the Military remind us of our heroes--French, English and neither--who came here in hardship and poverty from France and the British Isles as colonists, from the United States as Loyalists, and from everywhere to live in peace, to cut down trees, to break the prairie sod, to forge a nation in our wars for freedom, and to remain the only monarchy in the Americas.
Perhaps the British Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Margaret Thatcher, has said it best: "We are lucky in having the monarchy. With our monarchy, regardless of the performance of politicians, there is always something that is above politics, and that unites people." In 1980 no gathering of the Loyal Societies would be complete without recognition of a lady who has so uniquely contributed to the monarchy, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and I ask her gallant Canadian Equery to honour her. Colonel Robert Hilborn is a steadfast leader of the forces and of the Loyal Societies. At the time of the unification debates he led an intelligent opposition to heresy as the President of "Trio." He has also been both the Commanding Officer and Honorary Colonel of the Toronto Scottish Regiment and is the Vice-President of the Empire Club Foundation. He is a past president of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in Canada, of The Empire Club of Canada, and of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Toronto. Colonel Robert Hilborn.
Tonight, as we honour the Queen's Representative in the Province of Ontario, the Honourable Pauline McGibbon and Donald McGibbon, we are reminded of our heritage and of the vitality of tradition.
As on those other great occasions when we have been brought together by the Loyal Societies and the Military of Toronto for the recognition of achievement, the great endowments of our Canadian heritage are remembered--the Crown, a living symbol of our democratic freedom, and British military tradition. These are precious possessions that require constant support and wholehearted encouragement.
The visits to Toronto by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1939,1965,1974 and 1979 have been moving reminders of our great heritage and they tied in, to a degree perhaps never before achieved in Canada, these two precious legacies of our British tradition--the Crown and the Military.
The warmth of the welcome Her Majesty has received during these visits to our city--and will receive on the occasion of future visits--is bound up in a very special way with the admiration we feel for what she is in herself.
More than forty years ago, when abdication threatened the respect and stability of the Crown, she brought the strength and shine of her character to the rescue. With Elizabeth as Queen Consort at his side, the King was inspired to develop his gifts of bravery, good counsel and leadership. Together they became a focus of our pride and resolution throughout the Second World War.
This royal and dedicated Lady who supported a King, a family, a people and indeed, citizens everywhere in the free world during its darkest days, who is mother to a Queen with all that that implies, continues at eighty years of age to devote her life to the public service.
Prince Charles reckons his grandmother as a priceless human being "who can turn everything to gold and whose greatest gift is to enhance life for others by her effervescent enthusiasm."
She has been at the centre of history for most of her eighty years. Through the years of glory as well as tragedy she has been there, a warm presence--part of all our lives and a focus on our loyalty, our deep respect and our warm affection. Time has failed to diminish the charm and graciousness with which she walks amongst us.
In marking the eightieth milestone in a rich and full life, please charge your glasses and toast the health of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
Thank you, Colonel Hilborn, for proposing the toast to Her Majesty the Queen Mother, and thank you, Pipe Majors MacKay, Wakefield and McClure, for playing Edward VIII's Royal Salute "Mallorca." The next toast will be proposed by Mrs. Jean Throop, the Ontario President of a mighty order, the International Order of the Daughters of the Empire. According to Lord Byron, "He who loves not his country can love nothing." This very week the bravery of the Polish people demonstrates that every country from time to time has to suffer for its faith and freedom, but the Empire and the Commonwealth have given us noble traditions of the free man, the rule of the common law, and responsible government. Mrs. Throop is in that tradition of service which Her Honour herself has practised for so long in the IODE. Mrs. Throop will propose the toast to the Loyal Societies.
Mr. Chairman, Your Honour, distinguished head table guests, ladies and gentlemen: It is my privilege this evening to propose a toast to the Loyal Societies, who are assembled at this very special occasion.
This is a particular honour for me, as at this head table, I represent the Loyal Society of which our respected and loved guest of honour is a member of long standing. Not only is Her Honour a member of IODE, but in her typical pattern of life, she has served our organization in many offices including that of National President.
At the time our guest of honour was President of the National Chapter of Canada, IODE, I was a relatively new member of our organization. However, since then I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Her Honour and many of her LODE associates. The strong, joyous leadership of our guest of honour played a vital part in the development of IODE. To stand with Her Honour in a receiving line at an LODE occasion, as I have often had the opportunity of doing, is to share a proud tribute from LODE members to their beloved Pauline. Our guest of honour has played a significant role in the history of a Loyal Society.
The members of the Loyal Societies represented here this evening come from many backgrounds and from many walks of life. The organizations themselves have many varied programs, projects and aims ... all of which give service to their community, province and country. These organizations are to be commended for their endeavours and may they continue to serve and to grow. Yes, they are a varied group of organizations, but they all have some very definite similarities. One is that the organizations all have a long, proud history and all have played a vital role in the development of Canada. Another, of course, is that the members of these societies are very loyal subjects of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, and will be eternally grateful to our guest of honour for being such an excellent representative of our beloved monarch in the Province of Ontario.
The Loyal Societies also strongly share the belief that the monarchial system of government is the best form of government for Canada. The realization that this present form of government, from time to time, appears to be in jeopardy, presents a challenge to each of us and to our societies. As members of a Loyal Society and as citizens of Canada, it is up to each of us to do our part to promote our beliefs and to stand up for what we believe is best for our Canada.
Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and drink a toast to the Loyal Societies and to their continuing service.
Thank you, Mrs. Throop. The response to Mrs. Throop's charming toast will be made by Mr. Andrew Kniewasser, a member of the Order of Canada and the president of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada. Andrew Kniewasser is a thinking man's activist whom I have known since 1958 when he was the special executive assistant in the Department of Trade and Commerce who cut through red tape--figuratively speaking--to allow me to go to China with four other lawyers as guests of the communist government. Since then he has had an infinity of important appointments from the Government of Canada, including General Manager of Expo in 1967. Your Honour, ladies and gentlemen, the president of the Canadian Club of Toronto and a member of the dinner committee, Mr. Andrew Kniewasser.
Mr. Chairman, Your Honour, Madame Minister, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: I have the honour to respond on behalf of the Loyal Societies. Our societies have a long, proud history of loyalty to the Crown in Upper Canada and now in Ontario. We have always tried to fulfill our responsibilities to the Crown and its representatives in this province. In 1980, on this occasion, we join together again in reaffirming this loyalty and proclaiming our affection for Her Majesty and for her representative, the Honourable Pauline McGibbon.
Comme vous savez, Votre Honneur, les societ6s loyales representent des citoyens de toute origine, culture, religion et langue. La grande force de la couronne britannique est toujours cette comprehension et sympathie a 1'egard de tous ses sujets, malgre leurs origines. La couronne offre a ses sujets le symbole et la cause de la dignite, de la fidelite et de la justice. C'est la grande force de notre tradition commune et une source d'espoir merveilleuse pour notre pays. Votre Honneur, vous avez fidelement et gracieusement renforce cette tradition de comprehension et d'encouragement qui est le coeur de la splendide tradition de la couronne britannique.
That was said from my heart. And please understand, ladies and gentlemen, how welcome and important it is for Her Majesty and the Lieutenant Governor to have those expressions of appreciation and devotion in the French language.
We are again entering a period of challenge, change and adjustment in this country. We have been through these things before. We have always emerged stronger and better equipped to meet the realities of the future. So shall it again be in this land. The Loyal Societies have been the stable, loyal, understanding and generous foundation on which these adjustments have been made in Ontario. And, as you leave office, Your Honour, please take with you the satisfaction that that spirit of loyalty and devotion to our sovereign and to our country has been strengthened and nourished by your superb efforts as Lieutenant Governor and by your love for the people in this province.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Loyal Societies appreciate your toast. We are proud of our record in Ontario. And, Your Honour, we always shall be.
Thank you, Mr. Kniewasser. In a troubled world we forget John Dryden's truth that "Self defence is nature's eldest law." The toast to the Canadian Armed Forces will be proposed by Colonel Harry Tye, cD, a former commander of the Governor General's Horse Guards, a churchman, a successful businessman, a past president of the Fort York Branch and the president of the Royal Canadian Military Institute. Colonel Harry Tye.
At precisely seventeen seconds past the hour of 8:15 a.m. on the morning of August 6, 1945, the bomb-bay doors of an American Air Force bomber opened and her cargo fell toward earth. Forty-three seconds later the Japanese military communications centre of Hiroshima was obliterated and in the holocaust 79,000 people were killed.
The cloud of dust and smoke that mushroomed four miles straight into the sky heralded the arrival of the nuclear age--from that moment on, man's practice and conduct of war and planning of strategems for defence in times of peace changed convulsively and irrevocably.
The armed forces of Canada, at that dramatic point in time, were at the all-time peak of their strength. The Royal Canadian Navy, fourth largest in the world, had deployed some 471 ships on the oceans, exclusive of harbour and supply vessels.
The Canadian Army had five divisions concentrated in northwest Europe and an occupational force in Germany. Some 78,000 trained troops were in Canada defending our homeland and preparing for the final assault on Japan.
Canada was also a giant air training centre. Airmen from the whole Commonwealth came here to learn their craft. One hundred and thirty-eight thousand air crew attained the highest standard of flying proficiency under Canadian instruction, in Canadian skies.
These first line forces were supported by thousands of trained reservists, ready for mobilization should the need arise.
Canada, with its small population, had produced an awesome, formidable striking force of citizen sailors, soldiers and airmen. Initially rank amateurs, they were quickly prepared to join battle with experienced professionals, a Canadian achievement which was an inspiration to many and an example to all nations. However, such is not the case today!
From our beginnings until the present, the pages of the military history of the world have glistened with the thrust of Canadian bayonets, gleamed with the cut and slash of Canadian swords, sparkled with the burst of Canadian firearms, and are streaked with Canadian blood, as the unmilitary sons and daughters of our unmilitary nation have written important chapters in the military history of the world.
From Queenston Heights to Dieppe, Batoche to Hong Kong, Passchendaele to Ortona, Vimy Ridge to Falaise, South Africa to Korea and beyond, lie cemeteries containing Canadian graves, remote corners of distant foreign fields that shall forever remain Canada. Each one is a mute testimonial to the victory of the human spirit, an elegy to the common soldier, a memorial to the definitive horror of war and, at the same time, to the curiously perverse paradoxical nobility of Canadians in battle.
The gracious lady, in whose honour we have assembled in order to display our respect and deep affection this evening, holds the appointment of Honorary Colonel of the Toronto Service Battalion. So we may rest assured that the honour and future moral strength of that unit rests on capable shoulders and in very strong hands.
In the same manner our great Canadian tradition is being maintained and enhanced by all those capable, competent people who now serve, to be inherited and perpetuated by those who are yet to serve. Proudly they have all worn, wear now or will wear on their shoulders that one badge, respected and admired in all quarters the world over, the badge bearing the one word "Canada" that will always symbolize a nation united from ocean to ocean. And let us all earnestly pray that under God's providence all who wear that badge, our Canadian Armed Forces, will constantly remain strong and free!
Thank you Colonel Tye. I now introduce a fine soldier who was awarded the Order of Military Merit, the Commander of Central Militia Area, Brigadier General Andrunyk. Stephen Andrunyk was born in Saskatchewan and is a fanatical Canadian! He is an expert on the Warsaw Pact in general and Poland in particular, having been the Canadian military attache in Warsaw. General Andrunyk is a churchman who is active in good works, the President of the Ontario Safety League, and the First Vice-President of The Empire Club of Canada. General Andrunyk.
On being invited by the Chairman to reply to the toast to Canada's Armed Forces, I sought the advice of my Chief of Staff, who as a regular force Colonel is an expert in such matters. He thought that a bit of prose written by an unknown reservist would probably suit the occasion very nicely. So let me share it with you.
We, the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible, for the ungrateful. We, having done so much, for so long, with so little, are now qualified to do anything with nothing.
Of course, he was not serious and neither am I, so let me get back to the beginning.
First, I want to thank Colonel Tye for his inspiring tribute to the Canadian Armed Forces, and for reminding us of the tremendous contribution that the Armed Forces have made to Canada's development over the course of its history. It is well to remember that the very fact that Canada exists today as a separate and distinct political entity on the North American continent is the result of military operations of some magnitude.
Second, I also want to express to Colonel Tye the appreciation of every sailor, soldier, and airman in the regular forces and the reserves for recognizing their service to Canada today. The traditional high ideals of allegiance to the Crown, loyalty to Canada, dedication to duty whatever the circumstances, service and sacrifice are not only the foundations on which our forces are founded, but they continue to be the personal hallmark of every serving man and woman.
Finally, as I look into the future, I am confident that the military will continue to meet its challenges with the same dedication and loyalty that have made Canada's Armed Forces among the best in the world. They may from time to time lack the modern and sophisticated hardware we would like to see them have, but let us remember that ships, tanks and aircraft in themselves do not win wars. Battles and wars are won by dedicated and determined men and women who know how best to use them, and by a willing populace that provides them. I know that the people of Canada, in partnership with its forces, shall make Canada forever strong and free.
Your Honour, ladies and gentlemen: The last toast tonight will be proposed by Brigadier General R. W. Lewis, who is the Vice-President for Canada of the Inter-Allied Confederation of Reserve Officers and has just concluded the twenty-third congress of that organization in Montreal where he was host and received for his most distinguished service the Confederation's Citation of Merit. In civilian life, Reg Lewis is an accountant, the General Manager of the Parking Authority of Toronto, a Past President of The Empire Club of Canada, the President of the Good Neighbours' Club, the former Commander of Central Militia Area, a director of the Royal Canadian Military Institute, and the Treasurer of the Empire Club Foundation. General Lewis, a great militiaman and a citizen by choice of Canada, will eloquently propose the toast to the Honourable Pauline McGibbon.
Mr. Chairman, Your Honour, Mr. McGibbon, Madame Minister, My Lords Her Majesty's Learned Judges, distinguished guests, ladies and gentle men: I do hope I have all those titles correct. I would not want to find myself in the same position as the maid who worked in the household of a Duke who lived in England. (You can tell by the form, Bishop Wilkinson, that she was obviously Anglican.) That particular Duke used to treat himself to tea in bed every Sunday morning whilst reading the Sunday Times. One particular Sunday morning the maid brought his tea to his room and knocked on the door.
"Good morning, sir." "Good morning." "Lovely day, sir."
"Yes, it is a nice day. You're new here, aren't you?" "Oh yes I am, sir."
"Tell me, where do you come from?" "Oh, I come from the village, sir."
"Well, I must say, you're a very pretty girl. Here, come and sit on my bed."
"Thank you very much, sir."
"My dear, I think I should tell you, that when you address me, you should say 'Your Grace'." Whereupon the girl fell down upon her knees and said, "For what I am about to receive, may the Lord make me truly thankful."
To have the honour which this company bestows upon me tonight is at once an exquisite personal pleasure and yet a formidable task which weighed heavily upon me. A personal pleasure, of course, because of our feelings toward the great lady we meet to honour; a formidable task because it has indeed been difficult to find words worthy of what must be in all our hearts this evening. I have looked in awe, as no doubt many of you have looked, at the written chronicle of honours, of awards, of degrees, of memberships, which have been heaped upon our guest of honour, and I chose to steer clear of verbally chronicling these to you out of sheer intimidation, if not out of my inability to get my tongue around all the LLDS, the DRUMS, the DLITrs, the DUS, and so on.
In any event, these biographical summaries are often more remarkable for what is left unsaid than for what is said, particularly to those of us who move only on the fringes of Learned Societies and institutions. We perceive dark mysteries, for example, in our heroine being made, in 1977, a Fellow--yes, that's right--a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Neither do I think we need go down that long list of "first woman to," as in "first woman to be Chancellor of the University of Toronto," "first woman to be Chancellor of the University of Guelph," because in the context of Pauline McGibbon the woman, such appointments were earned, not mere tokenism in deference to sex.
Neither do I think that we want to make this occasion assume the proportions of a maudlin or dirge-like drumming-out of office. This would not be in keeping with the verve, the vitality, indeed the humanity which the Lieutenant Governor has brought to the office she has served so well.
Did you ever see a photograph of Mrs. McGibbon at any event over her six years in office that did not show her obviously enjoying herself, always smiling, and in some cases even guffawing?
There are few here who have not at least one personal reminiscence of Pauline McGibbon stored away to be recalled on such an occasion as this. In my own case, I have several. They are mainly centred around our service together in the same militia unit of which Pauline McGibbon is the Honorary Colonel. But I am not going to tell old soldiers' tales about our guest of honour, because old soldiers can react rather peculiarly to resignations, retirements and relinquishments of appointments, as evidence the case of the guardsman who was retiring from the Brigade of Guards after thirty-five years of service. He went in, on his last day of service, to see his Commanding Officer.
"Good morning, Jones. Well, you're leaving the Brigade today after thirty-five years."
"That's right, sir."
"Well, is there anything I can do for you, Jones." "No, I don't think so, sir."
"You're quite sure? All ready to make the leap into the civilian world?"
"Oh yes, sir. Oh yeah, I'm all right there. Got a lovely little cushy job fixed up in civvy street. A nice little house in the suburbs, bungalow like, sir. No, I think I'm all right."
"Well, that's good, Jones. You're quite sure there's nothing I can do?"
"No, I don't think so, sir. Well, there is one thing, sir. It's my old Lee Enfield 303 rifle. You know, sir, I had that old rifle with me the day I joined the Brigade thirty-five years ago. I've had it ever since. I had it in Dunkirk with me. Took it over there, brought it back. Been in all sorts of parades with it, ceremonial parades, Trooped the Colour with it, been on Buckingham Palace guard with it. I treasure that old rifle, sir. Anyway, those old Lee Enfield 303s, they're obsolete now. Well, sir, I was wondering like if for old times' sake, I could keep me old rifle."
"Well, Jones, I perfectly understand your sentiments. By all means, you keep your rifle."
"Thank you very much, sir."
Jones marched away with his rifle over his shoulder. He went to his little house in the suburbs, and much to the consternation of his wife, he started digging up the immaculate little lawn in front of the house. And in place of the lawn he poured a concrete pad. And in the centre of the pad he put a plinth, and he mounted on the plinth at an angle this immaculate Lee Enfield 303 rifle, and when he finished, he stood back to admire his own work.
And he said: "Right. Now rust, you blighter, rust." Or words to that effect.
When Her Honour relinquishes the office of Lieutenant Governor on September 15, she will have served as Her Majesty's representative in Ontario for six years, five months and five days. She has served the people of Ontario with dignity, with grace, with wit, charm and good humour, as those of us who are privileged to attend upon her know only so well. To the standards she has set for that office, she has also added the human touch, the ability to make us all, of whatever station, age or condition, feel at ease in her presence.
I think that besides so graciously, knowledgeably, and loyally representing our Queen in Ontario, this is where Pauline McGibbon made the greatest contribution to the life of the province in her six years of office. Not only has she brought the Crown to the people, she has also given to ordinary citizens the feeling that they are important, that they have something to contribute, indeed that they have a responsibility to contribute to the well-being of their fellow Ontarians. I do not speculate on this point; I draw my conclusions from those who have spoken to me about just that very matter.
In a very few days our guest of honour will step down from the highest office in this great province to become again a private citizen. But Pauline McGibbon can never really become a private citizen, for wherever she goes after September 15 she will still carry with her the aura of the office in which she gained the respect, the love, and the affection of the people of Ontario, and she will continue to be recognized and honoured wherever she goes.
There will probably be many occasions such as this on Pauline McGibbon's calendar in the days ahead. Let it therefore be recorded that nowhere else would she be honoured with any greater respect, greater love, greater affection and greater admiration than by the members and friends of the Loyal Societies and the members of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves, all of which stand for those qualities of loyalty and citizenship so graciously epitomized and enobled in the person of Colonel the Honourable Pauline McGibbon, Officer of the Order of Canada, the twenty-second Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Ontario.
Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to rise and join with me in a toast to our beloved Lieutenant Governor.
Thank you, General Lewis. Ladies and gentlemen: your Guest of Honour, the Honourable Pauline McGibbon, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. May it please Your Honour to speak to us now.
Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: My husband and I thank you, the Presidents of the Loyal Societies, the Commanders of the Reserves, and all the members here, for this magnificent and joyous dinner which you have given in our honour. More than that, I would like to thank all the Loyal Societies and the Military for the great support they have given to me as the representative of Her Majesty the Queen in Ontario during my tenure of office. To me you will always be the marvellous, loyal and unselfish people who serve the Crown and the people of Ontario in so many ways. May I also thank General Reg Lewis for his happy and amusing toast to me and General Bruce Legge for organizing and chairing this splendid occasion. It has been a great honour to serve as the representative of the Queen in this province and I have been enriched every day by the associations which I have had with those who undertake public service through the arts, the Loyal Societies and the Military.
We both thank you very much.
Thank you, Your Honour. While Andrew Kniewasser was praising the Crown in French, I recalled that the French language has special truths and meanings, like de La Bruyere's 17th century assertion that "Women run to extremes-they are either better or worse than men." Your Honour, your friends here don't see you in comparison to men or to other governors, but we do recognize in you the extreme of goodness and your governorship will always be "nuli secundis," second to none. We celebrate your long and happy and perfect service to this province and its people as the representative of Her Majesty. I know that you forbid gifts, but may it please Your Honour to accept a donation of the profit from this dinner to the Pauline McGibbon Cultural Centre. May it further please Your Honour to accept this commemorative leather album inscribed in gold leaf to mark this gala dinner and soon to be filled with beautiful coloured photographs by Robert Lonsdale, all of which is tendered with our duty, our respect, and our love for you and for the Queen whom you serve.*
*Historical Note: The band of the Royal Regiment of Canada played "Auld Lang Syne," which the 1,500 guests at the dinner sang as Her Honour left the Canadian Room.