Unveiling of Canada Post Stamps in Commemoration of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee
Gatineau, Monday, January 16, 2012
It is such a pleasure to be here with you today at the unveiling of new stamps to honour the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen.
How many of you know what a diamond jubilee is?
That’s right; it’s when you celebrate something that’s 60 years old. And that is what Canada and the world will do this year as we celebrate 60 years of Queen Elizabeth II being Queen of Canada.
Imagine your moms and dads when they were your age. Back then, Queen Elizabeth was already on the throne. Indeed, she is the only Queen they have ever known. But the history of the Crown in Canada, and the history of the role of the governor general, is long and interesting, and I hope that you will take the time to ask your teachers about it later on.
Many of you may know what the governor general does, but did you know that in my role, I also act in place of The Queen when she is not in Canada? That means that I’m responsible for things such as signing new bills into law, giving what is called Royal Assent.
I also get to hand out medals and decorations to Canadians across the country, including the brand new Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, which will be given to 60 000 deserving Canadians throughout the year in recognition of what they have done to make this country great.
In fact, the very first medals will be given out on February 6, the exact date when, 60 years earlier, Princess Elizabeth, who was just 25 years old at the time, became Queen.
But one of the best parts of my job is that I get to speak to children just like you who are beginning to learn about our country’s history.
During the reign of Her Majesty, she has seen 11 governors general come and go, and each one did his or her duty of representing the Crown in Canada.
But The Queen also enjoys coming to visit Canada. She has been here 22 times over the past 60 years, and each time she has said that she feels at home in this country and that she takes great pride in being our Queen.
And Canadians have always shown her respect because of the type of person she is and the dedication she has shown to serving her people.
We are also excited when her family comes to visit. Do you remember when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge came to Canada last summer? Canadians gave them a rock star reception! My wife and I were so honoured to host the recently married couple here in Canada.
And I know that Canadians will also be excited to welcome His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales when he and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, arrive in Canada later this year to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.
So it is fitting that Canada Post has chosen to honour The Queen with new stamps, as they have done throughout Her Majesty’s life.
With stamps, Canada Post has always celebrated the people and occasions that are significant for Canadians. Whether it is a Royal visit, hockey players or even past governors general, they rejoice in what it means to be Canadian. I congratulate all those involved in the creation of these stamps. It is a wonderful tribute to Her Majesty.
Let me end with the motto that is etched on the Diamond Jubilee Medal: VIVAT REGINA, which is Latin for “Long live The Queen.”