Stompin’ Tom Connors could have lived anywhere in Canada. Certainly, in his long career as a performer, he’d seen and stayed in every region of the country.
But he chose our community as his home.
Many Canadian towns and cities claim him as one of their own, but Stompin’ Tom Connors was one of us.
He was a neighbour, a friend, someone you might run into to by happenstance, as I did at Judy’s Restaurant in Brisbane the last time I saw him.
To say that he was a Canadian icon has become a cliché. He was more than that. He was one of Canada’s biggest boosters, and through his lyrics, his music and his principled stands in favour of promoting a distinct Canadian culture, he made us all very proud of who we are as citizens of this magnificent land.
His songs are timeless, and because so many of them tell a compelling story of a Canadian community in our time, they will be listened to with interest in the decades to come.
My favourite? “Bud the Spud,” because it also inspired a children’s book that we read and sang to our boys, that they really enjoyed.
A close second? Of course, “The Hockey Song,” always played at each Toronto Maple Leafs home game. And maybe this year, 50 years after their last Stanley Cup, Stompin’ Tom will inspire them to go all the way, just as he inspired a country through his live performances and records.
I want to thank Karen Smith and her group for organizing this recognition and Canada 150 commemoration, and for inviting me to be part of it.
On this 150th anniversary of Confederation, we know that yes, the world definitely needs more Canada.
I also want to acknowledge the Town of Erin Council and Staff and the Town of Halton Hills Council and Staff for their outstanding leadership on behalf of our community.
Lastly, I want to read a message from our MP, Mike Chong, who couldn’t be here, but asked me to bring the following greetings:
I would like to extend my very best wishes to you as you celebrate the life of Stompin’ Tom Connors. Unfortunately, I cannot be with you today due to a prior commitment, but I trust that your event will be an incredibly successful one. It is fitting that – as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation this year – we are today honouring a man who shaped Canada’s musical landscape, and whose music has continued to live on through generations.
I would like to thank today’s organizers for taking on this important initiative, and I wish you all a pleasant afternoon.
Again, that was from our Member of Parliament, Mike Chong.
Thank you for having me here today.