April 16, 2012

Former Churchill Centre Chairman John Plumpton speaks on “Churchill and the Great Dominion.”


TORONTO, 10 May 2012—The annual dinner of International Churchill Society Canada (ICSC) was held in the historic Albany Club in Toronto again this year with a packed house of 130 members and guests.

The head table was “piped in” and ICSC Chairman Randy Barber rewarded the piper with a dram of a dark liquid upon arrival.
Churchill-in-Canada-1954Canadian Prime Minister Louis St-Laurent, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, British Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Eden, and Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs Lester Pearson at Rockcliffe Airport, Ottawa, Canada, 29 Jun 1954
The Chairman gave his report on upcoming activities, principally this year’s Conference in partnership with the Churchill Centre, being held in the Royal York Hotel from October 11th to 13th. He advised that the conference title is “Churchill’s North America: The States and Canada, From Foe to Friend.” The sessions will commence with the “testy” period between the two countries; the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. From that point the two North American countries realized a steadily improving relationship, culminating with a partnership in two world wars, and being each other’s chief trading partners.

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Lee Pollock, the Executive Director, of The Churchill Centre, gave a brief report on the Centre’s activities, with the exiting announcement of the intent to have a “National Churchill Library and Center” at the George Washington University in Washington D.C.

Randy moved the Toast to the Queen and Terry Reardon followed with the Toast to Sir Winston.

Mr. Reardon stated that on the 72nd anniversary of the day that Churchill became Prime Minister it was appropriate to give an overdue accolade to Lord Halifax who was offered the position of P.M. by Neville Chamberlain and King George VI, but turned it down, as he knew that Churchill was much more suited to run the country in time of war.

Randy Barber then introduced John Plumpton, former Chairman of the Churchill Centre, as the keynote speaker. In his introduction Randy noted that in the days when he joined ICSC John was established in the role of mentor.

John’s talk was on “Churchill and the Great Dominion,” which was the way that Churchill described Canada. Churchill’s long relationship with Mackenzie King was assessed; having started poorly with the future Canadian Prime Minister having a dim view of Churchill drinking champagne at 11 o’clock in the morning.

Churchill also had a long standing friendship with another Canadian, Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, with Churchill once commenting, “Some people take drugs. I take Max.”

John received a great ovation after a stimulating and informative dissertation, and ICSC Director David Brady in expressing the vote of thanks mentioned that John had opened his door to Churchill, when he took him to hear Sir Martin Gilbert speak, many years ago.

The Society’s annual award recipient was the Fort York Foundation, which is presently attempting to raise twenty six million dollars for a Visitors Centre at the Fort. David emphasized Churchill’s many exhortations on the importance of a knowledge of history and that the Foundation is committed to the fort being a source of information and inspiration, especially to the young generation. Ed Arundel, a Director of the Foundation, accepted the award and encouraged the Society’s members to become involved with the project.

Chairman Barber closed the proceedings by thanking the audience for supporting the event and the directors and volunteers for all of their efforts resulting a very enjoyable evening.

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