June 4, 1954 (22nd Parliament, 1st Session)


Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)


Mr. Speaker:

This morning there occurs one of those very rare but indeed very happy occasions, when it is my privilege to draw the attention of the house to the presence in our gallery of a most distinguished visitor. I refer to His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia. I take it as a great honour to be able, in your name, to extend to him a most hearty welcome. If ever a man possessed the virtues of courage, perseverance and love of country, it is the Emperor of the ancient Kingdom of Ethiopia. We cannot but admire the statesman who, in the darkest hour, when the league of nations had unfortunately decided to recognize the conquest of Ethiopia, stoutly answered, "Whatever the world will do, my people will fight on until they have forced the invader from the country or are themselves exterminated."
From then on he worked hard and prepared himself for what was to come. He had refused to bow to brute force, and once more in the history of the world faith and honesty were to triumph. I need not recite all the events which took place but a few years ago, events which are well known by all of you. Yet, it may be useful to recall such great deeds for the benefit of those who will come after us.
It was on January 15, 1941, that Haile Selassie arrived in Ethiopia from his Sudan headquarters, and there unfurled his red, green and yellow banner, rallied around him some of his faithful warriors in a secret rendezvous, and inspired his subjects to raise their arms and join a gradually expanding army. A few months later he returned to the throne and in less than a year, with the help of the allies, his beloved country was again completely free and independent.
Having extended a most cordial welcome to His Majesty Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, to this parliament, in Ottawa, and recalled the virtues of faith and courage which have inspired his conduct in life, I would feel remiss in my duty were I not to associate my French-speaking colleagues in the tribute I have paid him on behalf of the members of this house.
There is not much more to be said at this time, except perhaps to recall briefly that although geographically our countries may appear far distant, they are very close together in the way of understanding and fraternity. This becomes evident when we stop to think of the numerous Canadians now living in Ethiopia and helping to make of that great country a country greater still, of a deserving nation, a happy and prosperous nation.
To Your Majesty we express our thanks for coming to Canada, and our regret that your visit must be so short. When you leave us, you will carry with you, I assure you, the best wishes of the people of this country for you personally, and the members of your family, your parliament, and your valiant people.

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