Thank you, Senator David Braley, for that kind introduction, and for all your support over the past decade. I know that everyone here wants to thank you for all you’ve done for the BC Lions and for the Canadian Football League.
Greetings to Commissioner Cohon, to Premier Clark, to Mayor Robertson, to Minister Moore, Minister Gosal, Minister Van Loan, and representatives of all levels of government, and to all the volunteers and the fans who have travelled from near and far to make this week’s Grey Cup festivities such a resounding success.
Friends, we saw it at the Olympics, and we’re seeing it again, this week - nobody hosts a big event like the people right here in Vancouver.
And nothing brings Canadians together from West and East like the Canadian Football League. We are all here today because we know that a good quarterback only needs three downs, that a real punt returner never calls for a fair catch, and that no single game anytime, anywhere, can match the annual tradition of the Grey Cup.
Most important, we are here to see two teams that we know will put on a great show - the Eastern Division champions, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and the best of the West, the B.C. Lions.
So there’s a slogan here, and with everything all set for tomorrow, I have to ask: are you ready to raise the roof?
Friends, the Grey Cup Festival gets bigger and better every year. It doesn’t matter whether you watch the game at home with family and friends, or inside the stadium. Year in and year out, the Grey Cup is the game that Canadians watch together as a country, united, like on no other day.
And everyone has their Grey Cup memories, like mine right here forty years ago, when Leon McQuay fumbled the ball, giving our Calgary Stampeders that great victory over the Toronto Argonauts. Of course, I have to remind you, I was a Torontonian at the time.
Friends, along with everyone in this room, I want to share the Grey Cup experience with all those diehard fans who simply aren’t lucky enough to be able to make the trip.
That’s why, next year, our government will support commemorations and festivities across Canada to celebrate the 100th Grey Cup final. We’re going to bring the party to all the fans, because this is our game, played the Canadian way, and I believe that all Canadians should have an opportunity to take part in this historic celebration.
Meanwhile, like all of you, I can’t wait for tomorrow’s kick-off, for a great game that will once again make us all proud to be CFL fans.
Enjoy the game.