Introduction to the MacEachen Lecture Series (2012)


Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I am Doug Brown. I am the Chair of the Political Science Department here at St. F.X. That also means I have the pleasant duty of being the chair of the MacEachen Lecture Committee. First off, I wanted to thank Sociology professor, Dr. Lynda Harling Stalker, who was going to have a talk here tonight. Ian McKay from Queen's University was going to speak here tonight for the Centre for Regional Studies and as soon as I found out they were camping on the night I thought we had, well, let’s just say we traded for future considerations. So thank you very much to Lynda for being so kind.

It is lovely to see so many people here tonight. So many of our students. I wanted to say to the students, especially those that follow politics, one also looks out into this crowd and sees many illustrious political careers. We have two sitting members of parliament with us tonight, the Honourable Roger Cuzner and the Honourable Geoff Regan, maybe you could both give a little wave here. We have a sitting senator, the Honourable James Cowan. And three former senators: one just former who we'll introduce in a minute, Senator Lowell Murray; Senator John Stewart who was also a Member of Parliament; and of course we have the Honourable Allan J. MacEachen, both a senator and a Member of Parliament. We have a number of people who have run for office including our own Tim Lang, and many others. And, I know of course, we also have the Honourable Richard Cashio, who was a former Member of Parliament and a graduate, an absolutely legendary figure in Newfoundland; I'm not sure if everyone knows him in Nova Scotia as well as they should. But these are people who are graduates like you, or like you are going to be. Who within just a very few years after graduating found their way into political lives as assistants, as party-workers and gradually as elected MPs or appointed Senators. They had amazing and wonderful careers. And they have never forgotten what it is like to eat ‘sloppy joes’ at the cafeteria. They have never forgotten their St. F. X. roots. And they have never forgotten what it is like to be a student. So afterward, I want you not to be shy and to go and talk to any one of these people. They will be glad to meet you.

So this is the lecture series established by the friends and associates of the Honourable Allan J. MacEachen, who is with us tonight. Allan MacEachen taught at St. F. X. in the Department of Economics. He was the Member of Parliament for this area for many years. He was the Deputy Prime Minister and held many senior posts in the cabinets of Lester B. Pearson and of Pierre Trudeau. And he went into the Senate for many years and was a major figure. I was just telling my students the other day of how Allan J. pulled the plug on the Free Trade agreement in 1988, precipitating the election. So, this is a man who has been there and done that. The series that was established in his honour has had a whole series of very illustrious speakers come here, including - and I think I have the whole list - but it included Bob Rae, Frank McKenna, Dalton Camp, Gerry Grafstein, John Turner, and just to show you they are not all Liberals, Preston Manning, Roy Romanow, Margaret MacMillan and Jennifer Welsh (the latter two are academics - we let the odd academic into this group). John Chrétien just a few years ago and the last two speakers in this lecture series were Flora MacDonald and the Right Honourable Joe Clark. Each of these speeches, these addresses, are published, recorded on video tape and put in the St. F. X. archives. Gradually, it’s going to make a fabulous set of reflections on politics.

Now, to bring greetings to you all from the St. F. X. community, is our president, Dr. Sean Riley.


Political Science Department

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