Inaugural Presentation of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals
Rideau Hall, Monday, February 6, 2012
My wife, Sharon, and I are thrilled to welcome you to Rideau Hall this morning, to celebrate the accomplishments of deserving Canadians.
Today is an historic occasion. It was on this day, 60 years ago, that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became Queen of Canada.
Only once in our history has our country marked a diamond jubilee: in 1897 for Queen Victoria. On that day, Lord Aberdeen, then governor general, said “We offer the glad tribute of loyal devotion and affectionate homage.”
More than a century later, Canada once again celebrates the life and service of a monarch, a queen of great conviction who is respected the world over.
On February 6, 1952, Canada, as a member of the Commonwealth, was proud to proclaim then Princess Elizabeth as “Queen of Canada and head of the Commonwealth.”
Today, we once again reaffirm our bond with the Crown, which helps to define our country and what it means to be Canadian.
Six decades ago, a young Queen began her reign, one focused on service to others. Her Majesty has experienced and seen many hardships, but also many joys. Through it all, she has remained dedicated to serving the Crown and the people of the Commonwealth.
As the representative of the Crown in Canada, and as one who has always admired The Queen’s steadfast devotion, I am pleased, in honour of this occasion, to present 60 Canadians with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
During the year-long Diamond Jubilee celebrations, 60 000 deserving Canadians—whose contributions have changed this country and the world—will be honoured.
A decade ago, during the 50th anniversary of The Queen’s reign, 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.”
All of you here—who have been nominated by your peers and colleagues—have made Canada better. Individually, you have improved the well-being of many in your communities, and together, you have helped to create a smarter, more caring nation.
The first 60 recipients with us today represent a mosaic of individual experiences and accomplishments; most do not even know each other.
But after today, you have a common bond with one another. I encourage you to continue your work in building a country of which we can all be proud, as well as to inspire others to take up the call to help people in need.
I am honoured, here at Rideau Hall—the home of the people of Canada and the home of the Crown in Canada—to present the first 60 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals to those who share Her Majesty’s ideals and her devotion to service.
I can think of no better way to finish than by quoting the words on the medal itself: VIVAT REGINA—long live The Queen!