March 15, 1946 (20th Parliament, 2nd Session)


William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)


Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

As hon. members are
aware, His Excellency the Governor General and Her Royal Highness the Princess Alice will be taking their official departure from Canada to-morrow. I intimated yesterday that I thought it would be the wish of all hon. members that some expression should be given by both houses of parliament to the appreciation which we all feel of the great services which His Excellency has rendered Canada during the years that he has represented His Majesty in this country. I stated at the time that I proposed to introduce" a motion which would give expression to the feelings which we cherish in common. I have the motion before me and I will introduce it in a moment.
Before bringing forward the motion in a formal way may I say that I am sure all hon. members were impressed yesterday by the reference made by His Excellency in a personal note in the speech from the throne to the relations which he had enjoyed with the ministers of the crown, with members of parliament and with the people of our country. Those relationships, as Lord Athlone stated, have extended over many years and have in many ways been quite intimate. His Excellency said that they had endeared the people of this country to the hearts of the Princess Alice and himself. This afternoon I , should like to say that the sentiments thus expressed by His Excellency are I believe warmly reciprocated towards himself and the
Princess Alice by the people of Canada, and, in particular, by their representatives in this parliament.
Speaking personally, if I may be permitted to do so, I cannot begin to say what a privilege, what a pleasure, what a help in every way it has been to me to enjoy the close association which I have had with His Excellency during the years he has been His Majesty's representative in this country. All the relationships to which His Excellency referred, his relationship to the Prime Minister, to the ministers, to the members of parliament and to the people, have been in most complete accord with the spirit and the letter of constitutional procedure and constitutional practice. They have in addition been of very great assistance to the ministry and to the country at a time of its greatest need.
To mention only one of many good offices, I doubt if one can begin to appreciate what it has meant to have at Government House in these years in the persons of His Excellency Lord Athlone and Princess Alice, the Countess of Athlone, two persons who have given so generously of their time and their thought, not only to matters immediately concerned with the war effort of Canada but also have done so much to welcome to our country in Canada's name so many of the distinguished personages who have visited our country during the last six years. There never has been a time when so many have come to our land from other countries. As an instance of the growth in international relations in that period of time I might mention that when His Excellency arrived in Canada there were only nine missions, four headed by high commissioners from other nations of the British commonwealth and five from foreign powers in the nature of legations or embassies. Today there are some twenty-six in all, five from other parts of the commonwealth and the remainder from foreign countries. This serves to indicate the extent of the development of Canada's international relationships. In connection with important aspects of that development no persons have played a more helpful part than have His Excellency and Her Royal Highness.
I should like to say many things in bidding farewell to His Excellency and Her Royal Highness. I have however expressed something of my own feelings in this address which I am about to ask the house to approve. I believe the sentiments there expressed will accord completely with those of all other hon. members of this house. As my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bracken), who

The Governor General

has seen the proposed address, has kindly said that he would be pleased to second the motion which proposes it. I shall not say more, but will immediately move:
That whereas the houses of parliament desire to present an address to His Excellency the Governor General on the occasion of the termination of His Excellency's official connection with this country, it be resolved by this house that the said address be presented in the following words:
"Farewell address by both houses of parliament to His Excellency the Right Honourable the Earl of Athlone, Governor General of Canada.
To His Excellency Major-General the Right Honourable the Earl of Athlone. Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, a member of His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Grand Master of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, one of His Majesty's Personal Aides-de-Camp. Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Dominion of Canada. May it please Your Excellency:
We, the members of the Senate and of the House of Commons of Canada in parliament assembled, beg leave to convey to Your Excellency an expression of the general feeling of regret with which the people of Canada have learned of the approaching conclusion of your official relationship as the representative in Canada of His Majesty the King.
Your Excellency's period of office has extended over the most eventful years in the history of the world. It must be a source of profound gratification to yo.u, on your retirement as Governor Genera], to realize that your years in Canada have witnessed victory over the enemies of freedom, and the emergence of Canada as a world poWer, with a foremost place among the united nations.
We cannot bid Your Excellency farewell without expressing our grateful appreciation of your helpful cooperation in the tasks of government through these years of constant anxiety. You have, throughout, given unsparingly of your time and thought to sustain and strengthen the morale of the nation at war. By word and example, you brought courage and cheer to the armed forces, to the auxiliary services, and to the workers in all the- fields of wartime production and supply. You lent your support to every worthy national appeal. Universities, schools, hospitals, and other agencies of health, and welfare, have all benefited from your personal interest and concern.
Your extensive travels have given Your Excellency an intimate knowledge of our country, its resources and its potential future. You have seen Canada at work under the tragic stimulus of war. You have also watched its industries being converted to the purposes of peace. We are pleased that you have been able to glimpse the broad expanses of our eonntry and that you have found delight in its scenic grandeur. Your journey's to all parts of Canada, including many" remote areas, have been greatly appreciated. Wherever you have gene, you have been warmly welcome and will be long remembered.

At no time in Canada's history has our country been visited by so many of the leading personalities of the world. Both at Government House in Ottawa, and at the Citadel in Quebec, you have extended warmest hospitality in the name of Canada.
Throughout your life, Your Excellency has given constant proof of devotion to public service. We do not forget that- for seven years you were His Majesty's representative in the Union of South Africa. In Canada, as in South Africa, your unfailing courtesy, your broad and generous sympathies and your wide experience of constitutional government have helped to further the ideals of tolerance and good-will. You have thereby" helped to strengthen national unity, and the ties which bind, in close attachment to the crown, the nations of the British commonwealth.
The presence of Your Excellency" and Her Royal Highness in Canada has also strengthened the place which the royal family holds in the hearts of the Canadian people. We would ask Your Excellency, on your return to the United Kingdom, to convey" to Their Majesties,the King, and Queen, the assurance of Canada's fidelity to the crown, and of the devotion and affection felt by the Canadian people for Their Majesties. We should be pleased if you would also convey to Queen Mary an expression of our kind remembrance. We hope that in the near future Canada may be honoured by a visit of Their Royal Highnesses the Princess Elizabeth and' the Princess Margaret.
In saying farewell to Your Excellency, we cannot express too warmly our appreciation of the helpful pairt so graciously taken by Her Royal Highness the Princess Alice in the discharge of Your Excellency's high responsibilities. The active, generous and sympathetic cooperation of Princess Alice in the performance of your public and social duties has won for Her Royal Highness an enduring place in the admiration and affection of the Canadian people. Your Excellency and Her Royal Highness have been as one, in all you have sought to foster of a high sense of public duty and social responsibility.
To Your Excellency and Her Royal Highness-we extend, on behalf of all Canada, the best of wishes for the future. We hope that, in the eventide of life, you may enjoy together, in health, strength and happiness, the reward of your many" years of devoted public service."

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