Canadian Churchillian Ron Cohen brings Archives exhibit to Ottawa.
MANOTICK, ONTARIO, 31 May 2012—Churchill bibliographer, longtime Finest Hour contributor and co-founder of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa, Ronald Cohen has realized his dream of celebrating Sir Winston Churchill on Canada’s Parliament Hill.
After years of collaboration and planning, and the indispensable participation of the Churchill Archives Centre and Canada’s Parliamentary Library, six original pages of the speech Churchill delivered to Canada’s House of Commons in December 1941 are on display at the Parliamentary library, along with a video clip of part of the speech. “The six pages, typed with handwritten notes by WSC are some of the most significant and memorable from the 22-page message,” Cohen said. They include parts written and delivered in French, as well as Churchill’s infamous comment about the French generals’ speculation that “in three weeks England would have her neck wrung like a chicken” and his follow-up “Some Chicken! Some Neck!”
“I’d been talking for years to Archives director Allen Packwood about finding some way to bring something to Canada,” Cohen said. “It was the first and only time that Churchill spoke to our Parliament, and that is a significant event. It was especially important because we were in the midst of the world war and Churchill had been an inspiration to the world.”
Mr. Cohen added that the pages still hold lessons for Canadians today: “The speeches are inspirational, and what Churchill stood for is inspirational. He wrote his own speeches. He was a man of principle and an admirable leader.”
The exhibit includes the iconic Churchill portrait taken by celebrated Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh, taken right after Churchill delivered his speech in the House. (All seven Karsh photos, and speech itself are in Finest Hour #154.) “If you look at Churchill’s left hand jacket pocket,” Cohen said, “you can see pages stuffed inside—some of the same pages that are now on display. He literally stuffed the pages of the speech in the left hand pocket.”
Nepean-Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre said he is proud that Canada is the first place outside the UK to showcase the speech. “So much of what Churchill said and stood for stands true today,” he said. The exhibit is on display through June 27th. —EMC News, Ottawa