For over 7 years, the second longest run in Ontario history, The Honourable David Onley, served as the Queen's representative (Lieutenant Governor) of the province of Ontario.
David shares that everyone asks him what it was like to meet the queen in Buckingham Palace. It was an honour that every new Lieutenant Governor gets to have. He says that she was the warmest and most engaging personality that you could possibly imagine. The image most people have of her through television and through most media, yes that is pretty much who she is as a person.
David recently has been focusing on a book called, "The Servant Queen and the King She Serves". It was released this past April as a celebration of Her Majesty's 90th birthday. It is a statement of her faith. Many Canadians have seen her Christmas message. Every year there is a message about Christ and a scripture that is included in the message. Many have wondered what role faith plays in her life and this book really answers that. She is first and foremost the Queen but she acknowledges that she serves the King. She wrote the foreword to the book, and believed in the book quite definitely. It is a collection of stories and essays about her and her faith.
Ruth and David have travelled to a lot of different countries. To countries they didn't even expect.
China, Beijing, Paralympics in 2008. Due to the accessibility issue Ruth went on David's behalf to fly in communities in Ontario. She ended up visiting 23 times during the 7 years to the aboriginal literacy camps. Which the Lieutenant Governor has now continued on.
Over the 7 years David shares that he learned that there is in the country, specifically in Ontario and inherent goodness to Canadian people. You see volunteers in terms of hospitals, and kid's programs, sports programs, arts programs. It is what makes the country tick. It truly defines who we are. These Canadians are unsung heroes who quietly beyond their own jobs when nobody is looking, they volunteer and role up their sleeves to add value to other peoples lives. He became immediately aware of the impact of being the Queen's representative and people meeting him and how much it meant to them to meet the Queen's representative. Over the years it really became clear that the institution of the monarchy and the values that it represents are very important to a huge portion of Canadians. That number has increased over the 7 years. A significant part is to do with William and Kate and their children. People see in a time of broken relationships and a time when the family is under pressure and so many families are broken and blended. In this time to see a family with continuity is important.
Ruth Ann says that she was always overwhelmed by the number of people at each event.
David says they had the enormous privilege and honour at speaking at and attending funerals for fallen officers, firefighters, soldiers. They got to attend so many different church services.
He says many make a big deal about the different denominations, and yes there are denominational differences but as they travelled amongst different churches they kept hearing the similarity of the message. The gospel was being preached.
In the world of disabilities and employment there is in corporate Canada and corporate America a real surge of trying to place people into some mainstream jobs that have challenging disabilities. This has been a theme song for him right through and continues to be as he has a platform.
David shares it is a shifting of times as accessibility devices grow. Things came along to make things easier and more accessible. There is an untapped pool of people. During his time as Lieutenant Governor he couldn't advocate in terms of policy however since that time he has become special advisor to the Ontario government in terms of accessibility. Over the last 18 months he has been in a position where he can address policy and increasingly this is happening across the country.
Currently David is teaching at the University of Toronto. He is lecturing and travelling and really enjoying it.
Do not remember the former things; nor consider it the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing!
Now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?
-- Isaiah 43