By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on September 30, 2020.
Hon. Nathan Cooper, MLA
SPEAKER OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
“Insomuch as the fruits of the soil are at the basis of the material prosperity of any country, the glorious heritage to which the people of this province have been called justifies a boundless confidence in its future.”
These were some of the first words spoken on behalf of the Crown when Alberta’s first Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable George Hedley Vicars Bulyea, addressed the first Legislative Assembly of Alberta on March 15, 1906. Bulyea, who was only 46 years old when he stepped into this role, remains the youngest person to have served as Lieutenant Governor in the last 115 years.
Since then there have been only 18 other outstanding Albertans appointed to this role performing critical duties in the Assembly. They are responsible for ensuring the province has a premier, swearing in members of cabinet, opening each new session of the Assembly with a Speech from the Throne, dissolving a Legislature prior to an election and must provide Royal Assent to bills passed in the Assembly before they can become law.
From teachers and journalists to farmers and professional athletes, these representatives of the Crown have left their mark on this province and inspired us all in many ways. Most importantly, like all of us they are proud Albertans whose personal stories add to the fabric of our provincial history.
As I listened to the speech delivered by Alberta’s 19th Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Salma Lakhani, during her installation on Aug. 26, what struck me most is that she, like many before her, places tremendous value on family and community.
Her journey to Canada was not an easy one and like all of us she has faced many obstacles in her life and spoke of the many challenges Albertans are facing right now. Some of these trials might be very personal for each individual while others impact us collectively.
“But despite these significant challenges,” said Lakhani, “if this cloud should have any silver lining, it has taught us that in relying on the tight bonds of community, like a large and resilient family, we can weather the most difficult of storms. From the kindness of restaurant owners delivering food to those in need, to the sacrifice of frontline workers risking their health for the well-being of our communities from Fort Vermillion to Fort Macleod, we have seen the depths of care that exist within our communities and the capacity for that care to sustain us all.”
This sentiment is of critical importance to me and one I relate to on many levels. I have seen it in my own constituency and listened to stories from people across Alberta that create the narrative of this place we call home. Within individual communities and as an entire province, I have seen people rally together when times are tough and celebrate with pride during times of prosperity. It is the stuff we are known for. It builds resiliency and strength of character. It is what gives us our reputation of excellence and truly makes us who we are. And I for one could not be prouder to call Alberta home.