Leah Taylor Roy
Tribute to the Queen
Updated: Nov 3, 2022
I rise today to pay tribute to our late Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Before I do so, I would first like to give my condolences to the families and members of the James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, as they have just buried many of the dead and are suffering from the great tragedy that has beset them.
I rise on behalf of many of the constituents of Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill in paying my tributes and offering condolences to the royal family and King Charles III. I say “many” because not everyone feels the same way about the Monarchy or the Queen, and many members in this House have already referred to that.
Our relationship with the monarchy is complex. There is a history of colonialism and there are feelings from indigenous people and Francophones that do not always align with the monarchy. However, there are many people, including myself, who greatly admired the Queen and her life of service.
The Queen embodied many things. One of them, for me, was family. Family has always been so important to me and to many of my constituents, as well as to many Canadians. The Queen put family first. I believe her example in being a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and caring for her family above all was one set for all of us and that we should all admire.
Although I did not have the opportunity to meet the Queen as many people in the House have, I feel like I did meet her through my family. My grandmother, Ellen. Marie Taylor, was born in England. She went to school in Ireland and moved to Canada as a young woman. I could not help but notice all of the cookie tins, plates, china cups, and photos of the Queen in her home. She was certainly proud of our Queen. She was proud, as a Canadian, and she shared that with all of us.
It was not just her dedication to family for me. It was also her great dedication to service. When we look at the over seven decades the Queen served, we see an example of exemplary service. She, above all, wanted to connect with people. She was Queen of the Commonwealth, and as so many have already mentioned, she loved Canada and visited us often. I believe her connection to Canada was real and that she was not only connected to her subjects here from the past but that she grew and changed as Canada grew and changed. Her acceptance and desire to get to know so many parts of Canada and so many people was great. There is a quote I want to read that made it clear she believed in inclusivity and respected multiculturalism in Canada. She stated:
…it is as Queen of Canada that I am here—Queen of Canada and of all Canadians, not just of one or two ancestral strains. I would like the crown to be seen as a symbol of national sovereignty, a link between Canadian citizens of every national origin and ancestry.
Later, the Queen would say, “This nation has dedicated itself to being a caring home for its own, a sanctuary for others and an example to the world.” Her last message was to express solidarity and sympathy to the loved ones of those who tragically lost their lives on the James Smith Cree Nation reserve. She cared about our issues. She cared about our country.
I go back to her legacy of service and think about how she connected with people. She was the first Queen to have a televised wedding. Of course, it was the first time television was available, but she also initiated walkabouts. Many members of this House have spoken of how many hands she shook, how many people she saw personally, and all of the stories and memories written in the book of condolences. She definitely touched people. The importance of human connection and the recognition of individual dignity and the pursuit of good governance is one of Queen Elizabeth's legacies.
In a speech given to the United Nations in 2010, she stated, “I know of no single formula for success, but over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.” It was this commitment to hope and unity that strikes a chord with so many who remember her lifetime of service, composure, and personal strength, and offers a profound example for us as democratic representatives of the Canadian people.
I know that many will miss her. As a strong female presence in our world over this very long period, a period of change and tumultuous times, she always offered a vision of faith and hope, and it is that faith and hope, I believe, that we still need as we move forward today.
I know I will miss her caring, stable presence in our world and that many will. Her absence is a loss for us all.