I see that the Monarchist League of Canada its Union Jack bloomers in a twist because the Queen won’t be opening the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Did it ever occur to the Monarchist League that if Canadians gave a fiddler’s fu… er,fart about the monarchy there would be no need for them?
When I grew up on the west side of Vancouver, the love of the monarchy was touching. When God save the King was played, even at home, one stood up. We sang the Maple Leaf forever, with special vigor when it talked of Wolfe coming and thrashing the hated French. Oh Canada then said “At Britain’s side, what e’er, unflinchingly we’ll stand”. In those days, Hockey on Saturday only featured the Toronto Maple Leafs, it being assumed that no red-blooded Anglophile would want to hear the gutless, treasonous frogs from Montreal. It was a great time for monarchists and their anglophile organizations like The Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire (IODE).
The country has changed. French Canada has never been big on Kings and Queens especially when they saw what they got us into in 1914-18; a war that absolutely nothing to do with Canada which spent the blood of its youth on this quarrel in ever quarreling Europe. The massive immigration from non British sources couldn’t have cared less about the monarch. They, like Henry IV of France, who renounced his support of Huguenots saying “Paris is worth a mass”, new Canadians pledge allegiance to the Queen not because of conviction but because that’s what you have to do to become a Canadian.
How many kids now learn their loyalties through A.A. Milne’s When We Were Very Young and The House at Pooh Corner? Do kids go into schoolrooms with a Union Jack on the wall buttressed with Tennyson’s “One life, one flag, one fleet, one throne”?
One never hears God Save The Queen at ballgames, concerts and the movies any more. In fact, when was the last time you heard it sung?
Canadians, if they think about it at all, are bored with the monarchy but have no interest in doing anything about it. The Queen as the Queen of Canada whose representative is our Head of State and has some residual procedural power is an issue that only constitutional wonks and the Monarchist League care about. We don’t need a Queen for that – we can simply send the Queen her walking papers and make the Governor-General head of state.
The plain fact that monarchists must come to grips with is that Canada is not a British country and never has been, In the meantime, the Monarchist League must continue because they, in being a caricature of themselves, provide us amusement when, from time to time, they run up the Union Jack, hoist an English Ale and let go with Land of Hope and Glory.