An Open Letter to Canadian Prime MinisterJUSTIN TRUDEAUAugust 5, 2015
Prime Minister Stephen HarperOffice of the Prime Minister80 Wellington StreetOttawa, Ontario K1A 0A2
Dear Mr. Prime Minister:I am writing to invite you and all my fellow Canadians to celebrate the life and memory of Jean Beliveau, on what would be his 85th birthday on August 31st. Additionally, I encourage you, as the leader of this great country -- the greatest country in the world when it comes to hockey – to declare August 31st National Jean Beliveau Day in Canada.
In the old days, I was a fan of your father, and I'm sure I am not the first to remind you that I remember the day your were born, and your early years growing up as a Prime Minister's son!
As your father once said, “Canada is a country whose main exports are hockey players and cold fronts.” As you well know, he was a huge fan of the Montreal Canadiens, and Jean Beliveau. Like so many Canadians, I was blessed to have watched Beliveau play hockey at the old Forum and on television, and I was humbled to know Le Gros Bill personally for more than a decade. What an incredible man.
It is with this love and respect for this friend that I encourage you to carry the torch to future generations -- the torch of our priceless hockey history, and the torch of respect and compassion which embodied Jean Beliveau.
This special occasion every year would collectively celebrate Mr. Beliveau's life, would honour his contribution to Montreal and Canada, and would recognize his unprecedented commitment to the great sport of hockey, to his fans, and to his community.
Jean Beliveau was hockey, is hockey, and will be hockey forever. He remains the sport's greatest Ambassador, and one of Canada's most valuable natural resources!
I would be preaching to the Ice Choir here were I to begin actually listing the career accomplishments of this professional athlete and executive. And in today's age of Lists Lists Lists, there simply could not be enough list-space for the outpouring of love and respect he received from his fellow Canadians, beloved Canadiens – and from all hockey lovers around the globe after his passing.
Jean Beliveau was, and is, and will continue to be – a National Canadian Treasure.
The daily grace of this man's presence and soul was a thing to see; the unconditional and heartfelt love and support he showed towards his wonderful wife and family was a thing of joy; the respect and compassion he showed to his admirers was a thing of pure class; and the deepest concern he illustrated to youngsters – those in need, those with special needs, or those who just loved hockey – was a thing of beauty.
Of larger than life. Of greater than great. This was Jean Beliveau.
August 31st is a day I pray all Canadians, and especially youngsters, will take time to pay deep respect to a man who changed and improved his sport, who loved his country with all his heart, and who respected his fellow man as perhaps no man before him, or since.
And as importantly, let's take a moment on that special day to never forget this legend's legendary teammates and competitors in heaven. Sadly, there are many. As in life, I believe Jean Beliveau is the leader of this heavenly team, and was unanimously elected Captain December 2nd, 2014.
To commemorate this celebration I have posted a website – JeanBeliveau.net – as an invitation for Canadians, and anyone else around the world, to join in the applause. There is also a comments section for anyone who wishes to forward Elise Beliveau greetings. My wife Deborah and I wish Mme. Beliveau well, and thank her for the incredible commitment she made to her husband's life in hockey, and to her family.
JeanBeliveau.net is also a website which encourages all who have personal memories of Jean Beliveau to share these stories. Anyone who ever met him seems to have a great story. In closing, Mr. Prime Minster, I remind everyone that this is a very difficult era in which we live. There are endless challenges at home and around the world – economic, political, and many that are dangerous and tragic. I encourage all of us to take a break from the worry of daily life in today's turbulent world.
Please honour Jean Beliveau August 31st. Quietly, peacefully, and most importantly, with love and support for Elise and his wonderful family. I know that's what he would want.
Thank you, Prime Minister Trudeau.
I remain respectfully yours; a fellow Canadian Citizen, and big-time hockey fan,
– Greg Meakin