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"The future is ours"
Grand Master’s Installation Address:-
June 14, 2017

[Ronald W. Yates]
MW Bro. Ronald W. Yates,
Grand Master 2017-2018

Annually, at this time, it is the usual practise that the newly installed Grand Master speaks to you on what should be accomplished during the next twelve months. I have discovered over the past three years, that the operational workings of Grand Lodge are quite complex. Our Grand Secretary, RW Bro. George Moore is here to help us understand the inner workings of Grand Lodge. We—the Grand Line—would like to thank him very much for the help and instruction he has given, to enable us to understand how things work in this grand jurisdiction.
While I'm thanking people, you may have seen my mentor, RW Bro. Louis Seidel place the Grand Master's collar during the investiture of the Grand Master. If wasn't for RW Bro. Seidel's patience, tolerance, instruction and encouragement over the past 28 years, I would not have been standing here today. Thank you, Louis. Also, I wish to thank you, my brothers, for allowing me to become your Grand Master for the ensuing year. I'm certainly humbled and proud that you have placed your trust in me to carry out the duties of this high office for 2017-2018. As I said when I was elected Junior Grand Warden; the phrase, "I won't let you down," is pretty hard for a Funeral Director to say, but as your Grand Master, I can assure you that I will not let you down.
Many exciting events are occurring during this upcoming masonic year. Today, we start celebrating the 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England. It is on this date, 24 June that the United Grand Lodge of England was constituted 300 years ago. There are going to be many celebrations across our country this year and I would encourage every lodge in this grand jurisdiction to have their own celebration of this auspicious event. Your Grand Master and Grand Secretary have been invited to attend the tercentenary celebration in London, England on 28-31 October 2017. It is an event that we are looking forward to attending.
In exactly one week from today, 1 July 2017 we will be celebrating our Country's 150th anniversary. What a milestone in our county's history! During the District Deputy Grand Masters' Seminar in April of this year, we asked that every district should have a special event to mark that milestone, as well as that of the 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England. One lodge could host the celebration for Canada and another lodge could host for the 300th on two separate occasions during the year. There are several lodges such as Ashlar Lodge No. 3 in Nanaimo and Cariboo Lodge No. 4 in Barkerville that are also celebrating their 150th anniversaries, and we are looking forward to being with those lodges for those events.
I would like to congratulate the newly installed officers of this Grand Lodge and I look forward to working with you all during this masonic year. I have asked each and every officer to put their best efforts forward to make this a very special year for the brethren of this grand jurisdiction.
The Grand Master's slogan this year is "The Future is Ours" and the charity of choice is the Citadel Canine Society. This society trains comfort dogs for veterans and first responders, such as police officers, firemen and ambulance personnel. We, in fact, have a retired police officer in our Craft that has a comfort dog and he says the dog is the best thing that ever happened to him. I have talked to another lady who has a dog and she said that she has cut her medications down to a quarter of what she used to take since getting her dog.
Now let us look to the future, as to what is to be done in the upcoming year. There are 26 committees of Grand Lodge which have approximately 140 brethren working on your behalf. The chairmen of these committees have been asked to forward to me what they would like to see accomplished this year, so that we can move forward with the necessary actions to improve the operations and governance of this Grand Lodge. In concert with these chairmen, I have asked the committees to concentrate on some of the issues that we would like to see accomplished this year.
The Trial Commission, chaired by W Bro. Paul Barclay has an hour and a half presentation on an actual trial, which he is prepared to present upon request. It would be better served if the presentation was done at a district level.
During the past number of years there has been a moratorium on Life Membership applications as the fund has not served the participating lodges well. As a matter of fact they have been losing quite a bit of money as a result of this programme. Upon review of what other jurisdictions have done, we find that a huge majority are dropping their life membership programmes. Consequently, we will be putting forward a resolution at our next Grand Lodge, to dissolve the programme and return the money.
We have also been working on a universal insurance programme for all the lodges in this jurisdiction. It appears that we are close to getting the programme implemented this coming year. Remember, that for this to work, all lodges have to participate in the programme. If any of us don't participate, then we won't be able to implement the programme.
In the past few years we have been talking about lodge consolidations, district consolidations, district reälignments and lodges surrendering their warrants. We must remember that the infrastructure we have today is set up to serve 27,000 Freemasons, but today we are just under 7000 brethren. What are we doing? That's 25% of what we were. Should we not be downsizing as an organization by consolidating and becoming stronger lodges and stronger districts? My brethren, we have to seriously look at these issues, put our egos away, and do what is right for our gentle Craft. We at Grand Lodge are trying to do our part in downsizing this year, by appointing seven Grand Stewards instead of twelve. It says in our Constitution that we can appoint up to twelve Grand Stewards, but that was when we were at 27,000 members. So, we at Grand Lodge are downsizing.
The Education Committee would like to implement five Educational Regions which will be designated as North, Kootenay, Okanagan, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. In these regions there will be a number of District Education Officers who will comprise the Education Committee of the region. The committee will choose a chairman who will attend a training seminar for what education should be given to the brethren in each region. The time of year that the seminar should be held will be up to the committee of the region.
Finally, we must put into place a development fund for our Grand Lodge. After researching what other grand jurisdictions are doing, we find that approximately 65% of those jurisdictions have their own property and building, whereas the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon has nothing. Wouldn't it be wonderful for us as Freemasons to be able to contribute to a Grand Lodge Fund for our own building? What a legacy that would be for us as British Columbia and Yukon Freemasons!
There are a number of other projects that are in the works at this time but I will not list them all as I know you don't want to hear me speak all afternoon. Let's have fun out there this year and remember, "The Future is Ours".


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