Lieutenant-governor comes home
The province’s lieutenant-governor has big plans during her tenure as the Queen’s representative, she explained at a reception hosted by the City of Merritt in her honour on Friday.
“First and foremost, I intend to visit every corner of this great province and to leave the place and myself better informed than when I arrived,” Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon said. “I want to connect rural and urban citizens so that they can learn about the very different lifestyles they enjoy, and what are the frustrations and challenges faced by each of these two groups.”
The division between urban and rural living was a recurring theme in Guichon’s 10-minute speech. Guichon, a prominent Nicola Valley rancher, made reference to the area’s ranchers, loggers and miners as people who produce the raw resources the province’s economy depends on.
“We must make it possible for those who earn our first dollar to have the same quality of life as those of us who provide the trade and services that we have all come to appreciate,” Guichon said.
She also stated another goal during her tenure is to engage people in all parts of the province in discussions about the constitutional monarchy, which she called a “stabilizing factor in our democratic system.”
In a constitutional monarchy, the monarch is subject to a constitution rather than in total control of his or her own government, as in an absolute monarchy.
“If not a constitutional monarchy, what then?” she asked. “What system could provide the stability that we’ve enjoyed in this country since its inception?”
Guichon also touched on various other aspects of her new job as lieutenant-governor, including acting as the royal host to dignitaries, maintaining the bond between the Crown and First Nations, and providing royal assent to provincial legislation, which she will focus on in February.
Guichon opened her speech by saying it was great to be home and to greet friends and neighbours, and closed it with more praises of home.
“Together, we can keep this valley, the beautiful Nicola Valley, the healthy community that we all know and love.”
Merritt Mayor Susan Roline, Fraser-Nicola MLA Harry Lali and Okanagan-Coquihalla MP Dan Albas also spoke at the two-hour reception, where they presented five Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals.
The medals honour the achievements of and contributions to communities by Canadians.
Albas presented medals to Al Clarke, a long-time broadcaster in Merritt, and to Dr. Margaret Carlson, a long-time philanthropist, as well as Merritt’s first female doctor.
Lali presented medals to Sharon McIvor, NVIT instructor, lawyer, and aboriginal activist; as well as Das Kandola, owner of City Furniture and member of several community organizations.
Mayor Susan Roline presented a medal to Ken Moyes, a war veteran and the first real estate agent in Merritt. Moyes also volunteered in countless community groups throughout the years, and Roline said his work facilitated the growth of the community through subdivisions, land sales, and housing solutions.
Sixty-thousand medals were handed out across the country.
The evening concluded with local entertainment, including highland dancing, Indo-Canadian dancing, and aboriginal drumming.
The drummers also presented Guichon with a cedar root basket, made by an 88-year-old Lytton elder, symbolizing sustainable production, and a handmade blanket, symbolizing people’s reliance on the land for livelihood.
Many of the drummers were among the 80 or so people gathered outside the Civic Centre during the recepetion for an Idle No More rally.
Over 200 people attended the reception.