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Preston's Speech to UBC's 2017 Graduating Class
Friday, 26 May 2017 - 8:30am
A big congratulations to our founder, Preston Manning, for receiving an honorary "Doctor of Laws, honoris causa" from the University of British Columbia yesterday!
Posted below is a section from Preston's speech which you may find of interest –
"...But today, surely our primary focus is on recognizing and honoring you the graduates who are receiving your hard earned degrees at this convocation.
Congratulations to you, and many thanks to all those – your parents, your peers, your teachers – who have helped you to accomplish what your degrees represent.
You are probably tired of hearing speeches, so I will be very brief.
Being in the political business, I have listened to and given literally hundreds of speeches – very few of which I can remember and many of which (including my own) richly deserve to be forgotten.
But there is one address that I heard over fifty years ago when I was more your age, and which I have never forgotten, the essence of which I want to pass on to you for whatever it may be worth.
It was given by a Latvian scholar in Edmonton East, the electoral district in which I first ran for parliament, at an event commemorating the short period in the 1920’s when Latvia briefly enjoyed independence before being subjugated by the Soviet Union.
The subject of this Latvian scholar’s address was “The Three Great Commandments of Western Civilization” which she proceeded to define and urge her audience to practice and never forget.
Those three commandments were:
Know Thyself, from Socrates and the Greeks.
Control Thyself, from Moses the Hebrew lawgiver and the law makers of ancient Rome.
And Give Thyself, from Jesus of Nazareth and the Christian tradition.
She went on to elaborate on each by asking these questions of her audience and which I ask of you:
Do you truly Know Yourself so that you can address your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths?
Have you learned to Control Yourself and the importance of adherence to the Rule of Law?, reminding politicians of Milton’s dictum that if you want to govern others, first learn the government of yourself.
And do we practice Self Sacrificial Giving – of our time, of our money, of our affections, of our interests, of our lives – self-sacrifice being essential to peacemaking and the reconciliation of conflicting interests in a conflict-ridden world.
I want to wish every graduate the very best for the future, a future which will be brighter and more secure for yourselves and your children if you Know Yourself, Control Yourself, and Give Yourself.