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Nature's Law
Spiritual Life, Governance, Culture, Traditions, Resources, Context and Background
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Speech by the Most Honourable Antonio Lamer, PC, CC, CD, LLD, DU Visual representation of nature's laws

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And of the right of association, he adds:

Men are by nature social, and consequently they have the right to meet together and to form associations with their fellows. They have the right to confer on such associations the type of organization which they consider best calculated to achieve their objectives. They have also the right to exercise their own initiative and act on their own responsibility within these associations for the attainment of the desired results. [As We insisted in Our] [The] encyclical Mater et Magistra, the founding of a great many such intermediate groups or societies for the pursuit of aims which it is not within the competence of the individual to achieve efficiently, is a matter of great urgency. Such groups and societies must be considered absolutely essential for the safeguarding of man's personal freedom and dignity, while leaving intact a sense of responsibility.

Tempusfiigit, I must conclude.

Justice is a transcendental value, one among others but one which blends with the others in this God of Love, and can only be, to plagiarize Matthew, the love of one's neighbour. Juxtaposed by Matthew to the love of God, it is in loving God that we must love our neighbour. As well, as are the laws of God so are the laws of man, at least in Canada. Through our laws, we Canadians have adopted these two fundamental laws; one even is part of our constitution, and the other is of a quasi constitutional nature.

Before concluding, I will take advantage, if I may, of this very special audience, who could, in my opinion to everyone's benefit, greatly help me advance the teaching in schools of the role of religions and their churches in the history of Canada. Let me explain. I am the president of Historica Inc., a non-profit society which for the last three years has taken on the mission of promoting the better teaching of our history. Three years ago, two provinces did not even offer a course in the history of Canada other than at the university level, and the other provinces offered at it different levels as an option from a selection of courses including ballet, cooking, sewing, pottery and others. All of this has changed, and without going into detail, Canadian history is now taught "a Mari usque ad Mare". Historica is a large organisation which is supported by thousands of people, all volunteers, except for the many professors who, for two years now this summer, at our expense and with pay, have been taking a week of intensive classes on how to better teach our country's history.

We have a web site, http://historica.ca. You will see that we promote a particularly different, and in my opinion, more interesting way of teaching history to our youth. You can also have free access to the Encyclopedia of Canada on the web, which we have just bought for all of you for eight million dollars. Which brings me to the point of this extension to my speech.

The history of New France, and after, the history of Quebec and of Canada, cannot really be understood if we do not understand the role which was played by religions, their churches and those who served them. The Catholics of Brittany and of Normandy, the Huguenots from La Rochelle, the quarrels of the Jesuits, the bishops and the Superior of the Sulpicians of Montreal, but also their contributions to the discovery and the development of the country (I have in mind here particularly the Oblates and the Far North) including the Scottish Catholics, fleeing intolerance, shipwrecked near Malbaie and welcomed by the residents of the North Shore and who are still there. There are many "Harveys" there, among others, who only speak French, and have done so for many generations.

Yesterday afternoon, during an meeting of the executives of Historical board of directors, I asked that a study of how much room we should reserve for the contribution of our churches in the teaching of our history be placed on the agenda of our annual meeting in Mississauga from October 25 to 27. Depending upon the decisions taken at this annual meeting, and I am confident that they will be positive, I believe St. Paul University could have a role to play. There. I have finished with my little personal spiel, and if time permits, I will accept - albeit uneasily - your questions. In any case, thank you for having invited me.

Antonio Lamer

Translated by Juliette Champagne, PhD


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