Your Excellencies, Minister, Your Honours, Premier, Distinguished guests,
Thank you Governor General, Minister and Premier for your most generous words of welcome.
I do also want to thank all of you ladies and gentlemen for coming here to welcome my wife and myself on our return to this great country.
It is, as always, a special joy to be back in Canada again - a place that is very dear to us both - this time to be in Canada’s historic ocean gateway to the Atlantic at the official start of summer! I have fond memories of coming to Halifax forty-two years ago, when I was then serving in the Royal Navy. On that occasion, I have to admit, my visit was due to an act of God: mechanical failure of the ship in which I was serrving. In fact a fishing net and miles of rope and cable round the propellor shaft. (An American net, of course!). I'm glad that I was invited this time!
As members of your Canadian Royal Family, we are always made to feel so much at home in Canada and are greatly touched by the warmth of your welcome.
Ce n’est pas vraiment nécessaire de dire, que nous sommes particuliÃ¨rement heureux d'Ãªtre des vÃ´tres à ce moment-ci alors que nous apprÃªtons à célébrer et à commémorer ensemble de nombreux anniversaires significatifs dont le cent cinquantiÃ¨me anniversaire des Conférences de Charlottetown et Québec. Notre tournée place l'accent sur les réalisations canadiennes dans une grande célébration du passé et de l'avenir.
150 years ago, the foundations for a new country, which would be proud of its traditions and excited by its future, were first laid in Charlottetown and Quebec City. Based on the principles of freedom and justice inherited from two great European nations, the Dominion of Canada was to become a reality three years later on July 1, 1867.
In the succeeding 150 years, Canada has grown and prospered as a modern and dynamic country, drawing strength and inspiration from Canadians originating from all parts of the world while supported on that foundation laid by the Fathers of Confederation.
Halifax has borne witness to so much of Canada’s modern history. The magnificent cenotaph before us on Grand Parade reminds us of Canada's involvement in two World Wars when Canadians sacrificed so much to protect their cherished freedoms.
Plus tard aujourd'hui, mon épouse et moi visiterons le Quai vingt et un oÃ¹, voilà prÃ¨s de soixante quinze ans, prÃ¨s d'un demi-million de Canadiennes et Canadiens se sont embarqués pour servir outremer pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, une contribution des plus extraordinaires venant de la part d'un pays dont la population était alors bien moins importante qu’aujourd’hui.
In Normandy next month we will be standing alongside Canadian veterans at Juno Beach, commemorating the remarkable service and sacrifice of all those Canadians who fought to liberate Europe, many of whom left from right here in Halifax.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is the greatest pleasure for us to celebrate Victoria Day with you. It reminds us all of our common bonds and common history.
On such an occasion, perhaps I may repeat the words of my beloved Grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, here in Halifax very nearly seventy-five years ago. As the King and Queen prepared to depart Canada, my Grandmother reflected that: "Seeing this country, with all its varied beauty and interest, has been a real delight to me; but what has warmed my heart in a way I cannot express in words is the proof you have given us everywhere that you were glad to see us."
Being with you here today my wife and I have felt that Nova Scotians and Canadians are offering us what I can only descirbe as a thousand welcomes; mille bienvenues; epchilaasi.