Those who say the queen is Canadian miss the point as usual. We are like her, rather than her being like us. That's the Asian view anyway. England is an old country the world knows, we are new and get grouped in with the more established nation. We are speaking a language made in England, not Ontario.
Very good opening sentence too.
The Queen is not Canadian
By Janice Kennedy, The Ottawa Citizen January 13, 2012 6:17 PM
Dump the Queen? You have to give the Young Liberals of Canada points for idealism, if not political savvy.
In their attempt to add the future of Canada’s monarchy to the agenda of their party’s current national convention, the Young Libs have opened up one of our most enduring cans of worms. Again.
Like a clarion call — to mix in another layer of metaphor — the issue has roused all the usual suspects (including this one) and thrust us onto our favourite soapboxes.
Including the soapbox dedicated to the institution’s Canadianness. The Liberal youngsters, who should have known better, resolved to “sever formal ties with the British Crown.” Red flag to a bull.
It’s not the British Crown, Canada’s relentless monarchists pointed out with outraged vigour. It’s the Canadian Crown.
So it is. It’s there in our symbols, legal language, apparatus of nationhood. We live in a constitutional monarchy. We understand.
Elizabeth II is the Queen of Canada. We get it.
So why does everyone in the world, including probably most Canadians, see her as the British Queen? What are we missing?
Could it be because Elizabeth, Queen of Canada, is not actually Canadian?
There is something wrong with that picture, something jarring, and it may be time to start talking about it. It may also be time to stop perpetuating a national mythology that, but for a straitjacket Constitution, would long ago have been a laughable anachronism.
Elizabeth, and soon Charles, and eventually William, are the face of the Crown in Canada. But to think of them as anything but privileged foreigners who live in castles across the ocean — occasional visitors who wear red on Canada Day and graciously accept diamond-encrusted jewelry from their hosts — is to be in thrall to sentiment, nostalgia and touching naďveté.
The Windsors are as Canadian as Winston Churchill or Mr. Bean — which is to say not at all, much as we might prefer otherwise.
In a mature country, we would stop focusing on the “Canadian” mythology of the Crown and start dismantling its legal reality.
Not that I am hopeful, youthful Liberal enthusiasm notwithstanding. The truth is, Canada has made it virtually impossible to expunge the monarchy from our constitutional structure — something for which, sadly, we must blame the otherwise estimable Pierre Trudeau. It was during the wrangling leading up to the 1982 repatriation that he allowed monarchists like New Brunswick premier Richard Hatfield to insert unanimous provincial consent as a requirement in the amending formula regarding the monarchy.
As if that could ever happen.
Even though, in a healthily evolving country, it should.
I grew up in a Canada far more British than today’s. When I was born, Canadians were still “British subjects.” Until I was 18, the Union Jack was still part of our emblematic identity. I’d lived 35 years before our Constitution was repatriated from Westminster.
It was not a bad world, and I don’t repudiate any of it. Nor do I repudiate my own ethnic roots, which include the devoutly monarchist inclinations of lowland Scots and honest-to-goodness United Empire Loyalists. Personally, and as a Canadian citizen, I appreciate all that as part of my history.
But affection for history should never be a prison, setting limits on national identity and dynamic nationhood. Progressive democracies like Canada should be able to take the best of their New World pasts and incorporate it into the realities of their ongoing growth.
For instance, we should be able to appreciate the parliamentary system, while adapting its structure to make it fully ours — that is, without a foreigner at its head.
And to those who point out, with unfailing legal gravitas, that the monarch is essential because it is in the office of the monarch that the symbols of our nationhood reside — you have a point. Nations need transcendent symbols to invest their institutions and governments with legitimacy. In present-day Canada, that symbol is the Crown.
But it doesn’t have to be. Republics around the world, including the giant to our south, seem to do just fine pledging loyal national allegiance in the absence of king, queen or absentee landlord.
Would we fall apart if we transformed the governor general into our actual head of state? Is it so outrageous to believe that the head of Canada’s executive branch, either as personage or as enduring symbol, should be Canadian?
The time has come to stop salivating after a family of upper-class Brits, working ourselves into a frenzy every time a well-bred Windsor shows up to be wined and dined. It’s time to stop festooning their symbols with maple leaves and pretending they belong to us.
Elizabeth II is, yes, the Queen of Canada. But she is not Canadian.Legalistically, that disconnect may look right. But it is deeply wrong.