The Prime Minister and opposition leaders paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II in the House of Commons today, celebrating her devotion to service and acknowledging the sense of loss many Canadians felt after her death.
“Over the past week, Canada has lost the one sovereignty most of us have never known,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Representatives. “It is important to take advantage of these times, here in Parliament and across the country, to learn more about the service and leadership you have provided.”
“When someone turns 96, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, this sudden absence visibly and deeply shocked us all.
Her Majesty has been everywhere – on coins, her portrait hanging in Parliament and Post Offices, her televised Christmas address and warm weather in homes from coast to coast.
Trudeau’s tribute to the Queen is one of several events taking place today in the House of Commons, which have been called upon to allow members of Parliament to make personal statements about the life and legacy of the late monarch.
The Prime Minister said he appreciated the candid conversations he had with the Queen and that Canadians would be grateful for the advice she gave him on a range of issues.
Trudeau said that Canada witnessed an era of prosperity and peace during Elizabeth’s reign, describing it as the foundation of democracy and the Canadian constitution.
Watch: Trudeau remembers Queen Elizabeth:
“The world today is in trouble,” Trudeau said. We are all experiencing an unprecedented global pandemic. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s brutal and unjustified war threatens global stability. Democratic institutions are facing challenges around the world.
But Canadians can really be proud of living in one of the most powerful democracies in the world. Our institutions are sound, our debates solid… It is this strength and stability, represented by the Crown and embodied by the Queen, that Canadians have always benefited from. »
Home Honor Day began at 10 a.m. with a minute’s silence for the recent murders in rural Saskatchewan. Speeches in the Chamber of Deputies began with the Prime Minister, followed formally by the Leader of the Opposition, Pierre Bolliver.
“She has been our Head of State for nearly 70 years, but she is also a servant of the Canadian people,” Bolliver told the House of Representatives. She has been a role model for all in the public service to remind us that, despite all the pomp and circumstance, the real business of government is not so cheerful.
“You often have to put vanity aside, keep your head down, and get on with your business. His humility reminded us that government is not about us, it is about those we serve. We are indeed servants, not masters.”
Watch: Bolivar remembers Queen Elizabeth:
Poilfrey said that while the Queen has held a special place in the hearts of many Canadians, Canada also holds a special place because she has visited this country more than any other.
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He said, “When the Queen spoke of upholding our constitution in 1982…she said: ‘The genius of Canadian federalism lies in our unwavering ability to overcome differences through reason and compromise.'” “
“This ability is reflected in the will of the common people of French and English in Canada and in all regions to respect the rights of all and to create conditions together in which all may flourish freely.”
Bolliver joined the other leaders in congratulating King Charles, and said he looked forward to seeing him carry on his mother’s legacy.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh joined other leaders in offering his condolences to the Queen’s family.
“She promised that she would spend her whole life, long or short, in the line of duty, and for more than 70 years she has kept that promise,” Singh said.
“Two days before her death, she met the new British Prime Minister and called on her to form a government and to ensure that it fulfills this ultimate constitutional duty.”
Singh said the Queen had led a wonderful life and remained a source of stability in a rapidly changing world.
Watch: Singh remembers Queen Elizabeth:
“Throughout her life, Queen Elizabeth has used her platform to offer encouragement in difficult times,” Singh said. Recently, during a pandemic, she reminded us that we will all overcome the challenges and pain of not being able to see our loved ones.
“She asked us to embrace difficult times with optimism and hope by coming together and doing what needs to be done.”
Blanchett: The Crown Prince’s relationship with Quebec is a difficult one
The leader of the Quebec Bloc, Yves-François Blanchett, took a different tone – offering condolences to “anyone who mourned” the Queen’s death without expressing any personal sense of loss.
He said, “This is not something that we as patriots and sovereigns do without much thought between us. Everyone has their own sensibilities and that means we have to pay special attention to the story.”
“The history between the Crown and the nation of Quebec is both thorny and cruel.”
He said “respect must come first” and offered “the mass sincere condolences to the people of England”. He then said that the Caucus MPs would rise after the Leaders’ Speech and would not take part in any honoring of the Queen in the House.
Speaking on behalf of the Greens, MP Michael Morris expressed his condolences and said the Queen had set a true example of a life of service to others.
“Today we honor and mourn an incredible woman who loved this country and its people… who set an unprecedented standard,” he said.
After the party leaders finished their tributes, there was a moment of silence before the deputies began to salute the Queen.
Each member who wishes to speak has ten minutes to do so. Government House Speaker Mark Holland said at the opening of today’s session that the House is ready to sit down on Friday to complete all the honors.
Parliament was originally scheduled to return on 19 September. This date has been pushed back to 20 September to avoid clashing with the Queen’s funeral.
After today’s events in the House of Commons, Trudeau will travel to London to attend the Queen’s funeral with his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and a number of other dignitaries:
- Governor General Mary Simon
- Wife of Viceroy of Canada Whit Fraser
- Former Governor General Michel Jean
- Former Governor General David Johnston
- Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell
- Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien
- Former Prime Minister Paul Martin
- Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper
- Roseanne Archibald, First Nations National President
- Inuit chief Tabiriet Kanatami Nathan Obed
- Cassidy Caron, President of the National Council of Mutants
- Former Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Janice Sharett
- Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Ralph Goodall
Trudeau will be joined in the UK by Canadian medalists Mark Tewkesbury, Gregory Charles and Sandra Oh, as well as Cross of Valor medalist Leslie Arthur Palmer.
Ottawa will commemorate the Queen on September 19
Four members of the RCMP Musical Mission will take part in the funeral procession in London. They will ride on horses lent to them by the stables at Buckingham Palace.
Back in Ottawa, parliamentarians and dignitaries who did not attend the funeral in London will attend a memorial service at Christ Church Cathedral.
This party starts at 11:00 AM but won’t start until after the party ends in London.
Events will kick off in Ottawa a little earlier, at 10:10am, with a parade featuring CAF members from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Special Forces. They will leave the Quartier Square Drill, behind City Hall, escorted by the Canadian Armed Forces Central Section.
The parade will pass the National War Memorial and the Houses of Parliament, as 96 missiles will be launched into the air, one for each year of the Queen’s life.
The service at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa will include hymns and readings.
The full list of speakers for the service has not yet been released. Albert Dumont, Algonquin Spiritual Counselor at Christ Church Cathedral, is scheduled to address the 600 guests.
The government said the concert will include musical interludes by Canadian artists, a video tribute and a speech from an as-yet-unnamed prominent Canadian.
The government said the full list of people who attended the ceremony will be released to the media on the morning of September 19.