Ontario bill was one of the last signed in Queen Elizabeth II’s name

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Moments before the Royal Family had announced the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell was presiding over a ceremony at Queen’s Park that will forever live in history.

The Ontario government had, an hour earlier, passed a bill in the Ontario Legislature that required the Crown’s official seal of approval before becoming law.

Just before 1:30 p.m., Dowdeswell gathered in the Lieutenant-Governor’s suite at Queen’s Park along with Steve Clark, the minister of municipal affairs, whose legislation was set to receive royal assent.

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“At that time, we had not heard word,” Dowdswell said on Thursday as she reflected on the Queen’s passing.

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Amid the uncertainty of what would happen next, Dowdeswell said she “nodded assent” but paused before signing the bill in the Queen’s name to remind those attending the small ceremony “what a sombre day this was.”

“While we didn’t know the outcome, how important a moment it was, for all of them to realize what we were doing in her majesty’s name,” Dowdeswell said.

As Dowdeswell signed the legislation, the Royal Family announced the Queen’s death on social media which underscored the importance of the ceremony taking place in a small circular room adorned with portraits of the Queen and her representatives in Ontario.

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“I found out from one of my staff who had just seen the notice from the palace,” Dowdeswell said through visible emotion. “It was literally just as we were concluding that I got word.”

Minutes later Speaker Ted Arnott addressed the Ontario legislature to announce that “in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to assent certain bills.”

The significance of the moment was not lost on the government.

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Government House Leader Paul Calandra believes the legislation would have been the final piece of law passed in Queen Elizabeth’s name not only in Canada, but across the entire Commonwealth.

Dowdeswell, who had an audience with the Queen soon after she was appointed as the Royal representative, was asked whether she believed it would have been the last law signed in the Queen’s name.

“It would have been, yes.”


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Look at Queen’s impact on Canada


Look at Queen’s impact on Canada

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