The official portrait of Colonel (Ret’d) The Honourable Donald S. Ethell, OC, OMM, AOE, MSC, CD, LLD, 17th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, will be unveiled during a ceremony on Monday, August 15, 2016, at 4:30 p.m. in the rotunda of the Alberta Legislature Building.
“From his contribution to world peace as a highly-decorated peacekeeper to his benevolence toward international humanitarian causes to his courageous advocacy for mental health, the Honourable Donald S. Ethell exemplifies what it means to be an outstanding Canadian, said Honourable Robert E. Wanner, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. “We are truly appreciative of his public service to Albertans in his role as Alberta’s 17th Lieutenant Governor.”
He was installed as the 17th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta on May 11, 2010, a position that he held until June 12, 2015. One of the principal legacies of his service was the establishment of the Lieutenant Governor’s Circle on Mental Health and Addiction. During his tenure he also revived the tradition of wearing a civil dress uniform for ceremonial occasions.
His service as Lieutenant Governor followed a distinguished career in the Canadian Armed Forces that spanned 38 years and involved 14 overseas peace support operations, including NATO duties in Germany and extensive service in Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Central America and the Balkans. During the first Persian Gulf War he served for 16 months as the Chief of Staff/Deputy Force Commander with the Middle East-based Multinational Force and Observers. From 1987 to 1990 he served as Director of Peacekeeping Operations. His last tour of duty was as the Canadian head of mission to the European community’s military mission to the former Yugoslavia during the wars of 1992 in both Croatia and Bosnia. He retired from the armed forces in July 1993 as a highly decorated peacekeeper.
Following his retirement he became involved with CARE Canada, working with staff responsible for five refugee camps in eastern Kenya and Somalia. He was also the Alberta director of the International Community for Relief of Starvation and Suffering (ICROSS) Canada, which delivers aid to countless African children and adults facing starvation and AIDS-related illnesses.
Over the years he has been recognized for both his military and humanitarian service. In addition to being an Officer of the Order of Canada, he is a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence and the Order of Military Merit and a Knight of Justice of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. In 1987 he received the Meritorious Service Cross for his work with neutral observers to plan and negotiate large-scale, short-notice prisoner-of-war exchanges between warring nations in the Middle East. In 2013 he was awarded the Pearson Peace Medal by the United Nations Association in Canada.
The Lieutenant Governor performs important constitutional functions such as granting Royal Assent, opening and closing sessions of the Legislature and swearing in Members of the Legislative Assembly.
The portrait was painted by David J. Goatley. Acknowledged as one of North America’s leading portrait painters, Goatley has completed hundreds of portrait commissions, including the official portraits of HRH the Duke of York and the Right Honourable Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada.
The portrait will join the collection permanently displayed on the third floor of the Legislature Building.