Protocol Guidelines for Events and Functions
There is specific, prescribed protocol associated with public appearances of the Lieutenant Governor at events and receptions. This information should provide adequate guidance for most scenarios however, when in doubt, always contact the Office of the Lieutenant Governor for clarification and/or guidance.
For any formal procession into a function, the Lieutenant Governor (and Lieutenant Governor's spouse if applicable) and any accompanying guests (the vice-regal party) enter the hall or room last. The group is preceded by an Aide-de-Camp. At smaller, less official or less formal dinners, changes may be acceptable, however the Lieutenant Governor should always be the last to arrive. Any changes to an event must be approved by the Aide-de-Camp beforehand.
Once the guests and head table/other dignitaries have entered the function, all attendees will be requested to rise, and the entrance of the Lieutenant Governor should be announced.
In advance of the Lieutenant Governor entering the room:
It is appropriate for the chairperson or master of ceremonies to make a simple announcement such as: "Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise for the entrance of His Honour The Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia"
Or, in advance of Their Honours entering the room:
If the Lieutenant Governor is accompanied by his/her spouse, the announcement should be: "Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise for the entrance of His Honour The Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and Her Honour Mrs. Patsy LeBlanc"
When the Lieutenant Governor enters the room:
The Lieutenant Governor then enters the room where the event is being held. The emcee will announce the arrival of the Lieutenant Governor by saying: "His Honour The Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia."
Or, when Their Honours enter the room:
If the Lieutenant Governor is accompanied by his spouse, when Their Honours enter the room where the event is being held, the emcee will announced the arrival of the Lieutenant Governor by saying" "Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise for the entrance of His Honour The Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and Her Honour Mrs. Patsy LeBlanc"
During official events, and once the Lieutenant Governor is announced and reaches his/her seat, the Aide-de-Camp will signal the orchestra/pianist/organist to commence playing the Vice-Regal Salute. The Vice-Regal Salute should never be played until the Lieutenant Governor has reached his/her seat (or the dais if applicable). Guests should also be advised not to sing during the playing of the Vice-Regal Salute.
The preference is to have a musician play the Vice-Regal Salute. A recorded version of the Vice-Regal Salute should not be used. If the host is unable to provide a musician, the Vice-Regal Salute should be omitted from the programme. An alternative option is to have the guests sing O' Canada and God Save The Queen as part of the programme in lieu of the Royal Salute.
The Vice-Regal Salute is comprised of the first six bars of ‘God Save the Queen’ and the first four and last four bars of ‘O Canada’ played without a break between the two anthems.
For a Pipe Band, the musical salute is a special combination of 'Mallorca" and O Canada".
Afterwards, all guests can be seated unless the emcee has instructed them to remain standing for prayers or the national anthem. The Lieutenant Governor should be informed beforehand if prayers are to be said and by whom.
Arriving at a Reception
When a reception is held prior to an event, the Lieutenant Governor will arrive 20-30 minutes before. For example, if a reception begins at 6:00 pm, with dinner served at 7:00 pm, the Lieutenant Governor will arrive between 6:30-6:40 pm. There are some exceptions to this timing, notably:
- If a receiving line is scheduled for 6:30 pm, the Lieutenant Governor will arrive between 6:15-6:20 pm;
- When attending a choral, theatrical, or other performance, the Lieutenant Governor will arrive approximately five or 10 minutes prior to the start;
- For religious services, the Lieutenant Governor will arrive five or 10 minutes before the service commences.
The host and/or hostess will meet the Lieutenant Governor (or Their Honours if his/her spouse is also attending) at the door of the building. Arrangements should have already been made for outerwear to be taken to a secure location.
When the venue for a function is in a hotel, the Lieutenant Governor should also be met by the manager or duty manager. An elevator, if required, should be held and the manager or duty manager should accompany the Lieutenant Governor to and from the function. The Aide-de-Camp will advise the hotel of the arrival time.
While the Lieutenant Governor will know the name of the host and/or hostess, it is the duty of the Aide-de-Camp to introduce them. It is also customary to ensure the Lieutenant Governor knows the names of all principals for the function.
The Lieutenant Governor (and His/Her Honour's spouse if also attending) will be escorted into a reception room to meet special guests or dignitaries. The process of meeting special guests and dignitaries can be accomplished one of two ways: a receiving line or by the Lieutenant Governor moving down a line of guests.
For receiving lines, the Aide-de-Camp will present the guest to the Lieutenant Governor. The guest then moves down to meet the host/hostess, and other dignitaries and officials in line.
The preferred approach is to have the Aide-de-Camp present special guests and dignitaries to the Lieutenant Governor. These officials should be lined up in an orderly fashion to permit a smooth flow of presentations by the Aide-de-Camp down the line.
Tip: The normal etiquette during introductions is to shake hands. No nodding of heads, bowing or curtseying is required.
If there is time between the reception and a meal, the Lieutenant Governor (and His/Her Honour's spouse if also attending) will normally circulate among guests. The host should remain with the Lieutenant Governor to assist with introductions and provide information, if necessary.
Tip: To avoid confusion when making introductions, it is best to use the phrase: "Your Honour, may I present _________________." If the host or Aide-de-Camp brings forward another guest, this is a signal to the person speaking with the Lieutenant Governor that their conversation is at an end.
As a rule, the Lieutenant Governor sits to the right of the host, regardless of whether there is a guest speaker or other distinguished guest. The Lieutenant Governor does, of course, yield precedence to the Sovereign, a visiting head of a foreign state, or the Governor General. If the Lieutenant Governor is accompanied by his/her spouse, the spouse should be seated to the left of the host.
The Aide-de-Camp will check seating arrangements upon arriving at a function to ensure there have been no changes, and will brief the Lieutenant Governor on the guests who will be seated at the head table.
Head table introductions are typically made by the host and should be made from the furthest guest on the left of the host, to the centre, then from the furthest guest on the right of the host, to the centre. The Lieutenant Governor is the last to be introduced.
Tip: The Aide-de-Camp does not sit at the head table, but should be seated in close proximity for easy eye contact with the Lieutenant Governor, and to be of immediate service, as required.
If the Lieutenant Governor is speaking as one of a group of dignitaries, bringing greetings or is the keynote speaker, the Lieutenant Governor is generally the last to speak. When in doubt, please check with the Aide-de-Camp or the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
Since the 1930s, it has been a tradition in Nova Scotia for the Lieutenant Governor to offer the Loyal Toast. It is proposed at official functions of the Province as the toast to Her Majesty The Queen, Canada's head of state.
The Lieutenant Governor will propose the Loyal Toast by saying:
"Ladies and Gentlemen (or other titles), will you please rise for the Loyal Toast to Her Majesty, The Queen of Canada."
Guests will stand, the Lieutenant Governor will wait for silence, and then raise a glass, saying:
"The Queen, la Reine"
This is signal for all in attendance to follow suit by raising their glass, and repeating the phrase:
"The Queen, la Reine"
The Loyal Toast is never given before a meal. Organizers of dinners and luncheons are encouraged to arrange for the Loyal Toast to be made after most of the head table guests have completed their main course.
There are some other guidelines worth noting, in particular:
- For domestic occasions, the Loyal Toast is proposed by the Lieutenant Governor after the main course, and before dessert;
- For international occasions – typically visits by foreign ambassadors, ministers or delegations – the visiting guest of honour will normally propose the Loyal Toast. In such cases, the Provincial host will offer a toast to the visitor's head of state at the conclusion of his/her remarks, while the guest of honour offers the Loyal Toast at the conclusion of his/her remarks, in response.
- For many occasions, it is no longer customary to play the Royal Anthem, but if it is desired, the correct order is: (a) Loyal Toast; (b) Royal Anthem; and (c) the toast is consumed.
Tip: The Loyal Toast may be made with either wine or water. Guests should never ‘clink’ glasses.
At the beginning of each event held at Government House, the Master of Ceremonies offers the following acknowledgement, signifying the importance of the Treaties between the Crown and the Mi’kmaq people and also affirming our commitment to reconciliation. It is customary for only one such acknowledgement to be provided at each event, unless one of the speakers is representing the Grand Chief, Grand Keptin or a Mi’kmaq Elder; in which case it is entirely appropriate for a welcome to Mi’kmaq Territory to be offered.
Government House Territorial Acknowledgement
“Through the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1725 and subsequent Treaties, the connection between the Mi’kmaq people and the Crown was formalized, and it remains a foundational aspect of modern Canada.
In the spirit of meaningful reconciliation, we are proud to acknowledge your presence on the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq people in what is today Nova Scotia.
This kinship and connection endures through the special relationship that exists between the Queen of Canada and the Mi’kmaq people.
These treaties remain foundational to the relationship that exists between the Mi’kmaq and all Canadians and are best exemplified by the phrase, ‘We are all Treaty People.’”