Winston Churchill’s September 5, 1929 Speech to the Canadian Club
Winston Churchill arriving in Victoria September 1929
An especially noteworthy feature of Churchill`s time in Victoria occurred at the close of his address to the Canadian Club.
Churchill had departed from his prepared speech and, as recorded by his son, ` . . . received a rapturous reception –the best he has had. ` Alas, the vote of thanks was turned over to an elderly cleric whom Randolph described as “a fatuous dean“, and Churchill described in a letter home as “a foolish Cleric with Socialist leanings who asked a number of cheeky questions and maundered on unduly . . . “
Randolph, then 18, saw eager to get his own share of public attention and to showcase his own oratorical brilliance
Churchill, rather than answering the cleric`s questions, meant to be humorous but apparently missing the mark, instead turned to his son.
Randolph records in his diary, Ì immediately saw the opportunity to make a hit, and glanced down the table at Papa who nodded his assent; so as soon as the old dean sat down I rose to reply. They were all so bored by the dean that anything would have pleased them. I proceeded very mildly to twit the dean, and to answer the asinine questions as humorously as possible. I only spoke for about five minutes but I achieved the greatest success I have ever had. They all roared with laughter and cheered lengthily when I sat down. Papa was delighted. It was not, I must admit, in any way a good speech or particularly amusing, but I had the good fortune just to catch hold of what was wanted. . .”
Thus Victoria qualifies as a Churchillian footnote for launching the public speaking career of Randolph S. Churchill.