Introduction to the MacEachen Lecture Series (2016)


15 November 2016

Well, good evening everyone. Thank you all for coming. I think we are going to have a great evening tonight. My name is Jim Bickerton. I am in the Political Science Department here at St. F. X. and I am also on the MacEachen Lecture Committee. And I would like to begin this evening by acknowledging - and this is especially appropriate given our topic tonight - that we are gathered here on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi'kmaw People, land that forms part of Mi'kma'ki, the region we associate today with the Maritime Provinces, that is covered by the Treaties of Peace and Friendship which the Mi'kmaw and Maliseet Peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1725.

We are fortunate tonight, actually for the fourth time in the history of the lecture, to have a former Prime Minister as our guest speaker. University President Kent MacDonald will formally introduce our esteemed guest a little later. But first I would like to say that we are also fortunate to have present in the audience tonight Mr. MacEachen himself, who this summer celebrated his 95th birthday. He has never missed a MacEachen Lecture and he remains an active member of the lecture committee which organizes this event. While I have to say that having a former Prime Minister with us to deliver this lecture is always a very special event, it has happened often enough now that it does say something important, I think, about the respect and high regard for Mr. MacEachen from his former political associates, in recognition of his long and distinguished service in Canadian public life. Over his 27 years as a member of the House of Commons and 12 years as a Senator, he served in the cabinets of three different Prime Ministers in many different capacities, including as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, External Affairs, Health & Welfare, Manpower & Immigration, Leader of the Official Opposition in the Commons, and Leader of the Government and later the Opposition in the Senate. Mr. MacEachen retired from the Senate and active political life in 1996. And the next year, the first lecture in this series was delivered by the Honourable Bob Rae. Since that time, the MacEachen Lecture has become a signature event at St. F. X. and, of course, it is the intention of the lecture committee that this will always be the case.

Now, about tonight's proceedings. If you have a program, you will notice that the format for the evening is a little different; it varies somewhat from past MacEachen lectures. Rather than a formal lecture of considerable length, Mr. Martin will speak briefly, perhaps 15 minutes or so. This will be followed by brief remarks from three other speakers who have been extensively involved with tonight's subject: Chief PJ Prosper of Paq'tnkek First Nation; Dr. Jane MacMillan of the Anthropology Department; and, Dr. Jeff Orr, Dean of Education. This format should allow for plenty of opportunity for audience questions and Mr. Martin has indicated his willingness to field these for some time, if the audience is of a mind to ask them.

So with that, I would like to ask our President, Dr. Kent MacDonald, to introduce tonight's speaker.


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