We honour Her Majesty, and remarkable Canadians

By MPP Toby Barrett

“This medal is an opportunity to come together as a nation, to celebrate service and to see how we are brought together through action and by the very fact that Canada’s heritage is forever linked to the Crown.” – Prime Minister Harper
Year 2012 marked celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. This makes her the second longest reigning British monarch after Queen Victoria, and throughout 2012 many honoured her kindness, her spirit, and her tremendous sense of duty.

Britain 60 years ago was an austere and conservative country trying to cast the shadow of war aside but also gripped by rigid social conventions. Since 1952, it’s clear Her Majesty has seen and overseen overwhelming changes and advancements within the British Isles and throughout the Commonwealth.

In honour of her 60th anniversary a new commemorative medal was created. The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a tangible way for Canadians to honour our Queen for her service to our country. At the same time, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.

The medals themselves are beautiful, with the face depicting a crowned image of the Sovereign, in whose name the medal is bestowed. The reverse marks the 60th, or diamond, anniversary of the accession to the Throne. The anniversary is expressed by the central diamond shape, by the background composed of a pattern of diamonds, and by the two dates. The maple leaves refer to Canada, while the motto VIVAT REGINA means “Long live The Queen!”

During the year of celebrations, 60 000 deserving Canadians from across the country and various walks of life were recognized. In recent weeks I have had the distinct privilege of presenting the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals to 14 well-deserving individuals from across Haldimand-Norfolk.
It was difficult to choose. I took note of those who embody values of supporting others, encouraging learning, as well as philanthropy and volunteerism. Following are the Haldimand-Norfolk residents I chose to acknowledge: Ron Clark, Wallace Anderson, Frank Somner, Richard Walker, Walt Long, Marc VandenBussche, Gordon Miller, Warren Berger, Roger Cruickshank, Bob Hall, Ross Bateman, Pat Logan and posthumously Edna Bowyer and Roy Dinner. These recipients have made extraordinary contributions to making our community and province a better place to live. We should all be proud of them and their accomplishments – their drive to make a difference. They are a true reflection of Her Majesty’s legacy.
Many things have changed over the past 60 years; however Her Majesty’s presence on the Throne has remained constant. Canadians have the utmost respect for her commitment and support of our nation. And it was just a few days ago the Queen delivered her annual Royal Christmas Message — one that combines a chronicle of the year’s major events, personal milestones and feelings on the days that lie ahead.
Through her four children, and a number of grandchildren, the Queen continues to inspire the Commonwealth of Nations. And as with the Queen, the area jubilee medal recipients inspire the rest of us with their tireless spirit of giving. This past year has given us a chance to look back and thank Her Majesty and others for their tireless service to Ontario and Canada.

Happy New Year everyone. Long live the Queen!