Announcement of the Creation of the Diamond Jubilee Medal
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Rideau Hall, Thursday, February 3, 2011
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Rideau Hall, as we begin the countdown to Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This Sunday, we will celebrate the 59th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne and enter the 60th year of her reign.
As Her Majesty The Queen’s representative in Canada, I am delighted to announce that she has approved the creation of the Diamond Jubilee Medal.
It is now my pleasure to invite the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, to speak.
Thank you, Prime Minister.
This medal, the design of which was created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, is a perfect way to celebrate The Queen’s 60th anniversary on the Throne.
In her time as Canada’s Queen, we have been enamoured with this royal presence. We have witnessed Her Majesty’s wise leadership since her accession to the throne, and in turn, she has seen our country transform.
During her reign, we have introduced modern peacekeeping to the world, we have created our own national flag, and we have adopted the Constitution. We have sent Canadians into orbit and we have weathered any number of storms, both figurative and literal.
Her Majesty has seen 11 governors general, including the very first Canadian-born governor general, as well as 11 prime ministers. Canadians have invented new technologies and have contributed to the world in staggering ways.
Much has changed in 60 years.
But Her Majesty’s presence on the Throne has remained constant. She commands the utmost respect for supporting Canada during its development as a sovereign nation.
John Fraser, a Master of Massey College, wrote about Her Majesty on the occasion of The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. He wrote that “[Our Queen] sails on dutifully, determined to do the right thing as best she can, to hold firm to her Coronation oath of service and commitment.”
This medal is not only a reminder of our evolution, but is also an affirmation of Her Majesty’s six-decade old oath of service and commitment. Its design is simple, yet striking, displaying Her Majesty’s profile on the obverse, and several maple leaves and a pattern of diamonds on the reverse, all to signify the 60th anniversary celebrations.
The colours of the ribbons are symbols of continuity. The red, blue and white are reminiscent of the 1953 Coronation Medal, the 1977 Silver Jubilee Medal, and the 2002 Golden Jubilee Medal. Each of these medals was created to commemorate a particular milestone during Her Majesty’s reign.
At the same time that this medal honours The Queen, it also affords an opportunity for the Crown to recognize deserving Canadians who have contributed so much to this nation, and who have helped to define what it means to be Canadian.
I have spoken often of the three pillars of my mandate—supporting families and children, reinforcing learning and innovation, and encouraging philanthropy and volunteerism. The recipients of this medal will have embraced these and many other important values of our society. They will be people who work tirelessly to ensure that our children can develop and succeed in today’s world. Educators who teach knowing that they can, and do, change lives. Volunteers who, with compassion, will donate their time and money to causes near and dear to them.
But no matter what their contributions, from what part of the country, or what field of endeavour—arts or business, public or private—and regardless of age, all can agree that the past 60 years have seen some remarkable Canadians. We will honour those who represent the full breadth of our society, who take to heart the idea of service to country.
At the inaugural presentation of The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson said, “It is at moments like this that we realize that we are all linked by the actions of others.”
This medal is an opportunity to come together as a nation, to celebrate service and to see how we are brought together through action and by the very fact that Canada’s heritage is forever linked to the Crown.
The smart and caring nation we seek is a reality that is constantly happening, fuelled by Canadians across the country and around the world, who work individually and collectively for our future.
All the recipients of this medal will continue to create a Canada that cares deeply for its citizens, a Canada that has unlimited potential.
The announcement of this medal begins the celebration that will mark this auspicious and unique occasion in our country’s history.
I feel honoured and privileged to represent the Crown in Canada. Let me end by reciting the words inscribed on the medal—Vivat Regina, “Long live The Queen.”
I would like now to invite the Prime Minister to help unveil the design of the Diamond Jubilee Medal.