Speeches – 2007

The Honourable Jason Kenney

Lieutenant Governors Meeting

Regina, Saskatchewan
April 23, 2007

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Introductory Comments

It is a pleasure to address Canada's Lieutenant Governors here in Regina, Saskatchewan, a city and province with a long and illustrious relationship with the Crown.

Regina, "the Queen City," was named in honour of Queen Victoria. The name was suggested by Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Louise, the wife of the then Governor General, the Marquess of Lorne. They were the first of a long list of royal visitors to Saskatchewan, coming in 1882.

Queen Elizabeth II herself has visited Saskatchewan six times over the years. Most recently she came in 2005 to celebrate the Saskatchewan Centennial, when she opened this new wing of Government House in which we now stand.

During the royal visit in 2005, she also unveiled the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Equestrian Statue, which stands prominently in front of the Legislative Building in Regina. The bronze statue depicts her favourite horse, Burmese, who was born here in Regina and presented to her by the RCMP in 1969.

Role of the Crown

Canada's New Government deeply values the role of the Crown in Canada, and the role of Canada's Governor General and Lieutenant Governors as the Queen's representatives.

Canada has been a monarchy since 1534, beginning with the French monarchs who reigned over New France, continuously down to the present day.

Canada is one of sixteen of the 53 Commonwealth member countries that recognize Queen Elizabeth II as our monarch and Head of State.

The Canadian Monarchy, along with that of Australia, is a shared monarchy or ' a divisible crown'. The Canadian Crown is not part of either federal or provincial jurisdictions. The sovereignty of the provinces is not passed on by the Governor General or Parliament but through the Crown itself. 

While this relationship was unclear in the early years of Confederation, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ruled in 1892 that, "the Lieutenant Governor ... is as much a representative of Her Majesty, for all purposes of Provincial Government as the Governor General himself is, for all purposes of Dominion Government."

Jacques Monet wrote in his study The Canadian Crown, that "The adaptation of the Crown to a federal system was a unique and daring experiment. But it works. The sovereignty of the same Crown is exercised by different representatives in different jurisdictions. Thus, diversity has been reconciled to unity."

The provincial Crown, and your role as Lieutenant Governors, are essential in defining the nature of our federation as one in which both orders of government have full and equal authority in their own areas of jurisdiction.

The Crown also has a specific and long-lasting relationship with the First Nations of Canada.  This was illustrated by the Queen's 2005 visit to the First Nations University of Canada in Regina where she presented a tablet of granite taken from the grounds of Queen Victoria's beloved Balmoral Castle and stated that "it symbolises the foundation of the rights of First Nations peoples reflected in treaties signed with the Crown during her reign. Bearing the cipher of Queen Victoria as well as my own, this stone is presented to the First Nations University of Canada in the hopes that it will serve as a reminder of the special relationship between the Sovereign and all First Nations peoples."

Working Together with Canada's Lieutenant Governors

Canada's New Government is intent on fostering closer ties with all of Canada's Lieutenant Governors, as well as the three territorial commissioners. We want to forge a closer working relationship among our government, the representatives of the Crown and the Department of Canadian Heritage. Together we hope we can engender a more effective partnership between Canada and the Crown.

The recent Vimy Ridge ceremonies have once again underlined the importance of our longstanding values and institutions and shown how those values find their underpinning in the Crown. The Queen's presence at the rededication of the Vimy memorial, as her uncle, King Edward VIII, was present at its dedication in 1936, was significant in this context.  As she said this past Easter Monday: "Canada's commemorative monument at Vimy shows Canada's great strength and its commitment to freedom."

The foundation and basis for that freedom is precisely the values and institutions that are inextricably linked to the history of the Crown.

As Sir Winston Churchill said in a speech he gave in Canada in 1929, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper quoted last year in London to the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce,  "at the heart of our relationship ' is the golden circle of the Crown which links us all together with the majestic past that takes us back to the Tudors, the Plantagenets, the Magna Carta, habeas corpus, petition of rights and English common law'…"

As Queen Elizabeth II herself said in Toronto in 1973: "The Crown is an idea, more than a person, and I would like the Crown in Canada to represent everything that is best and most admired in the Canadian ideal... It is as Queen of Canada that I am here, Queen of Canada and all Canadians, and not just one or two ancestral strains. I would like the Crown to be seen as a symbol of national sovereignty, belonging to all. It is not only a link between Commonwealth nations, but between Canadian citizens of every national origin and ancestry."

Diamond Jubilee

I believe we have a tremendous upcoming opportunity to showcase and celebrate the Canadian connection to the Crown.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee will occur in 2012. I look to all of you as partners in helping us to celebrate this significant event.

The Diamond Jubilee should make more visible both our personal affection and gratitude towards the Queen and our national loyalty to the Crown and the enduring values it symbolizes.

We can build on the tremendous success of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations here in Canada in 2002.  Among the many memories of the Royal Visit of that year, I think we will all long remember the sight of Her Majesty, accompanied by Wayne Gretzky, dropping the puck at an NHL hockey game in Vancouver.

We have almost five years to plan the Diamond Jubilee thoroughly and take advantage of this great event to help increase the pride Canadians take in their long historical relationship with the Crown. We can begin to help our fellow citizens to appreciate and value our constitutional monarchy and our Head of State.

I am sure there will be many initiatives on a local and national level as we prepare for the first Diamond Jubilee since 1897 – and only the second in history.

Let us all do our best to prepare for a celebration which thanks and celebrates Queen Elizabeth II for her remarkable life of service, but also one which increases Canadians' recognition of the Crown as a source and symbol of our deepest values.