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Joseph Whiteside Boyle

1st Session, 42nd Parliament

Hon. Daniel Lang: Thank you, colleagues. First of all, I would like to extend a special welcome to Senator Moore. I really appreciate the time and effort he put in as a member of our Senate.

Colleagues, 2017 holds many important anniversaries for Yukoners and for all Canadians.

It is the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of our Confederation. It is also the one hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge; and closer to home, in Yukon, we will be commemorating the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of a legendary Canadian and proud Yukoner, Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Whiteside Boyle, who was born on November 6, 1867, in Toronto. His birthdate makes Boyle one of the first Canadian-born citizens, which alone is worth celebrating, but there is more.

Lieutenant-Colonel Boyle grew up in Woodstock Ontario, and later made his way to Yukon and made a fortune mining gold in the Klondike.

At the outset of the Great War, Lieutenant-Colonel Joe Boyle established and funded Yukon's own Boyle's Machine Gun Battery, which saw 35 Yukoners make a two-year journey from Dawson City, Yukon to the battlefields of France, where they gallantly participated in the Battles of Courcelette, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele and the German offensives of March 1918 in Amiens and Canal du Nord.

Colleagues, 100 years ago, in 1917, Lieutenant-Colonel Boyle began a major undertaking for the Allies in Eastern Europe, which included operating a spy network of almost 500 agents for the British Secret Service. He was active in Russia, the Ukraine and Romania during the chaotic period of 1917-18.

At all times, the single-minded goal of Lieutenant-Colonel Boyle was to keep up the allied effort on the Eastern Front. His actions earned him the nickname "The Saviour of Romania," and his heroics were compared to those of Lawrence of Arabia. He was awarded nine medals from Russia, Romania, France and Britain.

Following the war's end, Boyle was present at the Paris Peace Conference.

He was instrumental in convincing the Allies, including Canada, to provide post-war aid to Romania. This unique relationship between our two countries began with a pledge of $25 million in aid to Romania from Canada.

Following the war, Lieutenant-Colonel Boyle suffered a fatal stroke in 1923. He was buried in London, and his remains were later returned to Canada.

Colleagues, 2017 is an important year in our country's history.

On this, the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Confederation, let us proudly tell those stories like that of Lieutenant-Colonel Boyle, which make our regions and our country great.

And as we celebrate, let us remember our Queen, who this Monday celebrated her sapphire anniversary, having served 65 years as Queen of Canada.

God Save the Queen and God bless Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear