Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Merry Christmas from the Monarchist League of Canada!

On behalf of the League, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It's been a great year for the League and for our cause.

In 2010, we will welcome home Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, welcome a new Governor General, and celebrate the League's 40th anniversary.

Thank-you for your continued support. All the best.

Robert Finch,
Dominion Chairman


Queen's Christmas message a Commonwealth tradition


The Queen's annual Christmas message to the Commonwealth is a tradition dating back to 1932. That year, King George V delivered the first Royal Christmas Message via radio. King George VI continued the tradition in 1939, delivering his famous message during the opening stages of the Second World War.

Queen Elizabeth II's first Christmas message was delivered in 1952. Sitting in the same chair and using the same desk as her father and grandfather had previously done, she began with, "Each Christmas, at this time, my beloved father broadcast a message to his people in all parts of the world. Today I am doing this to you, who are now my people."

The following year, The Queen broadcast her Christmas message from New Zealand. 1957 marked the first televised Royal Christmas Message.

The advent of new media in 21st century means that The Queen's Christmas message is not only broadcast on television and radio, but is also available for podcast download and shown on YouTube.

Over the years, the The Queen's Christmas messages have chronicled both the life of the Commonwealth and of the Crown. The broadcast is one of the rare occasions when The Queen does not speak on government advice. Instead, The Queen gives her own views on events and developments which are of concern both to Her Majesty and the public.

The Queen's message has always been a "must-see" on the Finch Christmas calendar and one of the highlights of my day.

This year's Christmas message will be broadcast on CBC (main network) Christmas Day at noon and repeated at 11 p.m. CBC News Network will carry the broadcast at noon, as well.

On behalf of the Monarchist League of Canada, I wish you a Merry Christmas. All the best in 2010.

Robert (The D.C.)

Monday, 21 December 2009

The answer to creeping republicanism? Creeping monarchism!

Last week, the Attorney General of the Australian state of Victoria, Rob Hulls pulled a classic, textbook example of creeping republicanism. Creeping republicanism is a term used by monarchists to describe a sneaky, underhanded act of undermining the Crown, always with little or no consultation.

Mr. Hulls announced that beginning next year criminal proceedings in Victorian courts will be brought in the name of the "Director of Public Prosecutions" instead of The Queen. His rationale? Modernization, of course. Oh, and apparently using the word "Queen" makes the court process all too "mystifying," according to Law Institute of Victoria. I am sure people will now be much more at ease knowing they're up against the Director of Public Prosecutions. Good grief.

Creeping republicanism is a spiteful game played by republicans who deep down realise that they simply cannot achieve their ultimate goal of turning their country into a republic. So, they resort to chipping away at references and visual images associated with the monarchy little by little, piece by piece, with the hope that one day people will simply forget about it and suddenly agree to abolish it.

Like Australia, we have experienced plenty of creeping republicanism here in Canada. Whether, it is removing The Queen from the oath taken by civil servants. Taking down The Queen's portrait. Or erasing The Queen's name from diplomatic Letters of Credence. Unfortunately, creeping republicanism does rear its ugly head every now and then.

The good news is that no act of creeping republicanism does a darn thing to alter the fact that we are a constitutional monarchy. It's more frustrating to monarchists than damaging. But, monarchists also have the ability to fight back. How best to fight back? Creeping monarchism.

Long ago, the Monarchist League of Canada shifted from being a reactionary organization that would sit back and wait for the next opportunity to defend the Crown to being a proactive organization that would go on the attack to promote the Crown.

The positive results are starting to appear. Creeping monarchism can reverse the trend of creeping republicanism one step at a time. Portraits of The Queen have been restored at many post offices, thanks to our members. References to the Crown and The Queen in particular are plentiful in the federal government's new citizenship guide book. Politicians are even making monarchical references in their speeches again.

So, Rob Hulls can go about his merry way and play the creeping republicanism game. But, no matter how hard he tries, no matter what he does, he knows deep down that he simply cannot win. He cannot turn his country, Australia, into a republic. For in 2010, despite his removing The Queen from court proceedings, Australia - like Canada - will still be a constitutional monarchy.

Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

All for debate but...

Last month, I was asked by the Centre for Inquiry to participate in a debate on the monarchy. The Centre for Inquiry describes itself "the leading free thought organization in Canada, promoting reason, secularism and critical thinking." The CFI was to host the debate. The participants were to be the Monarchist League, Citizens for a Canadian Republic, and the Canadian Secular Alliance.

My initial reaction was why in the world would the Canadian Secular Alliance be invited to participate as issues of church and state are irrelevant in Canada vis a vis the Crown. And, since the host of the debate, Centre for Inquiry, also promotes secularism it appeared as though they wanted to both host and participate in the debate. Ultimately, I suspected that the CFI/CSA might be just another republican group, which would give the republican side a clear advantage.

Then, my investigative nature kicked in, the great amateur sleuth that I am. I came across this blog posting by Justin Trottier, CFI's executive director...and low and behold the President of the Canadian Secular Alliance, too. He was also the guy who was to be the neutral moderator of the debate. The icing on the cake was his post on the Citizens for a Canadian Republic's Facebook group:

I'm a supporter of your organization and the Executive Director of the pro-secular Centre for Inquiry. I just posted a blog entry in support of this issue to our international blog...
November at 16:36


Not surprisingly, I respectfully declined to take part.

This lead to Justin Trottier twittering the following:


Monarchist League refuses to debate validity of monachy @ CFI. When you don't have a point in your favour you'd avoid informed debates


Not quite, Mr. Trottier. I am all for debate, especially "informed" ones. The same old tired arguments put forth by republicans can be refuted - most quite easily as matter of fact. But, where's the objectivity and fairness in a debate organised by republicans, moderated by a republican who publicly supports one of the republican participants and is president of the other republican participant?

Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.






Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Of course, Prince William is the future of the monarchy

No, he's not a Shadow King. Nor is he supplanting his father in the line of succession. But, make no mistake about it...Prince William is the future of the monarchy.

News of Prince William's increasing official royal duties created quite the frenzy this week, often borderlining on downright insane. Somehow, visits to New Zealand and Australia suddenly morphed into some Shakespearean tragedy complete with sinister plots to somehow oust the Prince of Wales.

Yes, in time The Queen may gradually cut back on some - but I wouldn't expect too many - engagements. Yes, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will pick up some of the slack. And, yes Princes William and Harry will indeed kickstart their respective royal careers into high gear.

But, boy are the media types reading (and writing) waaaaay too much into the situation.

Even though The Queen is going to be 84 next year, by all accounts she appears to be as robust as ever and shows no sign of slowing down. I wish I had half of her energy. Further, most people would probably agree that the words "retire" and "abdicate" are not in Her Majesty's vocabulary. In short, our Queen ain't going away anytime soon. And, long may she reign!

But, of course, Prince William is the future of the monarchy. He is only 27. He is extremely popular, and he could very well be the monarchy's greatest weapon against republicanism and apathy.

A sense of panic is already starting to take hold in republican circles Down Under. They sense the pending tide of monarchist sentiment - it could be more like a monarchist tsunami - that is about to come their way. Prince William - the future of the monarchy - is coming!

Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Independence via evolution not revolution


Today marks the anniversary of the Statute of Westminster, a British law passed in 1931 that ultimately gave Canada and the other dominions (now called Realms) of the old British Empire legislative independence from the U.K. No longer were the former colonies subservient to Britain; instead they became equal partners.

The Statute of Westminster also sets the basis for the continued relationship between the Commonwealth Realms and the Crown. This is why, for instance, each country where The Queen is head of state must agree on changes to rules of succession.

As part of Canada's constitutional law, the Statute of Westminster is one of the most important milestones on our road to independence - something we Canadians achieved through a process of evolution rather than revolution.

Canada's first major step towards true independence came with Confederation in 1867. Our final step was the repatriation of the constitution in 1982.

It is truly quite remarkable that our country has been able to mature from colony to country with such ease - and without a single drop of blood lost in some revolutionary war. This is especially true when you contrast our road to independence to that of our republican neighbour to the south.

That Canada chose evolution and not revolution is most certainly a result of Canadians' loyalty to the Crown. From the time of the early colonial settlements to the founding of a new country to the day we severed the constitutional link to the British Parliament, Canada has steadfastly stood behind the Crown. Under this Crown - now a distinctively Canadian Crown - we continue to demonstrate our independence and have become one of the world's great respected voices.

Incredibly, those who would rather Canada become a republic argue that one of the reasons we should abolish our monarchy is that only then could we be an independent country. Of course, this argument is nothing more than a republican myth. The reality is that Canada is a fully independent country and has been for years. Any reasonable person would agree.

While we share the same Queen with the U.K. and the other Commonwealth Realms, we also share the English language, common law, Shakespeare, and other cultural traditions. Do these make us less independent? Of course not.

Abolishing the monarchy is not going to make us any more independent then what we already are. Period.
Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Ontario court dismisses Oath of Allegiance lawsuit

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has dismissed a class action lawsuit that claimed the Oath of Allegiance taken by new Canadians violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The suit was initiated by Charles Roach, a Toronto lawyer who is also a member of, a small Toronto-based republican group. He was previously unsuccessful when he sued the federal government over the same issue in 1992.

Mr. Roach was born in Trinidad and Tobago and is a permanent resident in Canada, refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance to The Queen required for citizenship. This, despite having sworn allegiance to The Queen twice in the past.

Mr. Roach argued that the Oath violates the Charter's freedom of conscience provision and ridiculously compares the Crown to Nazis saying, "I feel that we [blacks] were colonized as a people by the British throne, and we were enslaved as a people by the British throne and, to me, taking an oath to the monarch of Great Britain, without any disrespect to the Queen herself as a person, is like asking a Holocaust survivor to take an oath to a descendant of Hitler."

The court's decision hopefully puts an end to this silly time and money wasting adventure. Case closed!

* * *

The Governor General is not a constitutional judge. Former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm is apparently "stunned" that Her Excellency won't wade into the contentious harmonized sales tax debate. Mr. Vander Zalm had written to Mme Jean asking her to determine the legality of the proposed tax. She rightfully referred him back to the Government of British Columbia.

Of course, all Canadians are welcome to write the Governor General to express their views on a particular issue. And, the Governor General has every right to advise, to be consulted, and to warn, sharing her concerns with her government.

Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.

Monday, 7 December 2009

State Visits a great opportunity to tell the world we are a monarchy


The Governor General has begun the first of three State visits after arriving in Mexico City yesterday. Mme Jean, along with her husband M. Lafond, will pay a four-day visit to Mexico, followed by visits to Guatemala and Costa Rica.

I am big fan of having our Governor General embark on State visits abroad. In fact, I wish there were more of them. Besides the usual economic benefits, cultural exchanges, and diplomacy building, State visits provide Canada with a rare opportunity to tell the world that we are a constitutional monarchy.

When Her Excellency visits a foreign country, she is for an intents and purposes received just as The Queen would be. This is important. It reminds both the hosts and Canadians just where the Governor General stands in the pecking order as representative of The Queen of Canada.

Putting aside any past gaffes where the GG has been called "head of state", the reality is that far too many Canadians believe the Prime Minister is head of state. Many of us still - incorrectly - equate the Prime Minister of Canada to the President of the United States. So, when the Governor General is involved, it serves as a gentle, subtle reminder that Her Excellency The Governor General represents the highest office in the land.

Now, could I just ask Her Excellency to begin one or two of her speeches this week with, "As representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Canada...?"
Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Prorogation: One Year Later

Today marks one year since the Governor General exercised the powers of the Crown to prorogue Parliament, honouring a request by the Prime Minister - her chief constitutional advisor. In doing so, Mme Jean demonstrated that the Office of the Governor General (and indeed the Crown itself) is much more than a mere symbolic rubber stamp. Nobody was calling the GG a simple figurehead in the aftermath of the so-called "coalition crisis."

Regardless of whether you supported or opposed the idea of the proposed Liberal-NDP(-Bloc) coalition, from a monarchist perspective last year's events yielded a solid, contemporary textbook example of how the Crown works - and works remarkably well - in Canada's governance.

Here we had the Governor General - above and beyond partisan politics - making the ultimate decision. Ensuring that the constitution and established conventions were being adhered to.

For me, the whole exercise underlined the importance of having a non-partisan head of state. And, despite what republicans may claim, a non-partisan head of state can exist only in a constitutional monarchy. Because our non-partisan Governor General is appointed by the non-partisan Queen she is much less likely to pick sides or meddle (i.e., be partisan) than an elected or appointed President in a republic - who would be naturally inclined to favour the political party to which he belongs.

Thankfully, we have a wonderful track record in our constitutional monarchy in that even Governors General who were ex-politicians remarkably rise above partisanship once becoming the vice-regal. The fact that the Governor General represents The Queen and, thus draws her authority from the Crown - and not from a political party, Parliament, a segment of the population who voted for her, or some elitist electoral body - in my view helped us get through last year's "crisis" quite well. Rather unscathed and remarkably stable.

Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Monarchy urged to allow Catholics to take throne

Has the time come to amend the Act of Settlement 1701, the law that outlines the rules of succession to the thrones of Canada and the other Realms of Queen Elizabeth II? I believe the answer is, Yes.

A quick background. The Act of Settlement includes provisions that bar Roman Catholics from inheriting the throne and prevent the Sovereign from marrying a Catholic. It was passed by the Parliament of England in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution, which saw King James II of England (a Catholic) overthrown in favour of his son-in-law William of Orange (a Protestant). William reigned jointly with his wife Mary as William III and Mary II. To ensure a Protestant line of succession (and to prevent any of possible claims by the deposed James II), the Act of Settlement was thus passed.

Flash forward to the 21st century, and the same provisions that bar Catholics from sitting on the throne and prevent Sovereigns from marrying a Catholic are still in effect. A leftover that is controversial at best and discriminatory at worst from a bygone era.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is leading a charge to update the Act of Settlement. The Sovereign and heirs to the throne would no longer be forbidden to marry a Catholic or convert to Catholicism themselves. Also, the rule of primogeniture where men take precedence over women would also be scrapped.

The League supports these changes for a number of reasons.

First, we recognise the discriminatory nature of the provisions that exclude Catholics from becoming King or Queen of Canada. And, we recognise the discriminatory nature of favouring men over women.

Second, removing the provisions that exclude Catholics and favour men effectively eliminate two arguments republicans consistently make against the Crown.

Third, perhaps the most important from a Canadian monarchist perspective, amending the Act of Settlement provides solid proof that the Canadian Crown is completely separate and independent vis-à-vis the British Crown (and the Crowns of the other Realms where the Queen is head of state). After all, without Canada's approval, these changes can't happen. Another republican argument eliminated!

Of course, there are plenty of details that would need to be addressed. But, I believe that making these changes can only increase support for the Crown here in Canada and abroad.

Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Cost of Royal Visit is a Bargain, Pat!

The recent Royal Visit by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall cost us about $2.6 million. That breaks down to a whopping 7 cents per Canadian.

NDP MP Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre) thinks that's too much. In fact, according to Mr. Martin, "This is as good an argument as I have ever heard for a republic of Canada." Well, sir, the arguments you have heard thus far must be pretty bad.

The reality is that $2.6 million is barely a drop in the bucket for a federal government budget of $260 billion. Frankly, it's a heck of a bargain considering the thousands of lives that were touched by the Royal Couple's presence, the exposure communities (such as Cupids, NL) received (no amount of advertising can buy the publicity a Royal Visit can get you), and the economic activity the visit helped generate (how many people bought a coffee or hot chocolate to stay warm or grabbed a bite to eat after the royal event?).

Plus, surely Mr. Martin doesn't need to be reminded that we monarchists are taxpayers, too? Psst. We don't mind our share of taxes going towards the Royal Visit.

It amazes me that opponents of the Canadian Crown continue to argue cost as a reason to abolish the monarchy. They conveniently never take issue with the cost of hosting the President of the United States or other heads of state, or for that matter even hosting foreign Royals such as the Emperor and Empress of Japan. Nope, they only open their mouths when it comes to hosting members of our own Royal Family.

Thankfully, Canadians are far too intelligent to be suckered into manipulative games played by republicans such as Pat Martin. Yes, there may be some good arguments against the monarchy. But, cost is certainly not one of them.

Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Queen now 3-0

3 wins, 0 losses. That is The Queen's new record when it comes to elections. Back-to-back-to-back solid majorities. I imagine many a politician is envious of that feat. And, no doubt republican politicians continue to scratch their heads, wondering why their fellow countrymen just aren't jumping on board the republican bandwagon.

Yesterday, voters in the Caribbean Realm of St. Vincent and the Grenadines overwhelmingly rejected a republican constitution that would have replaced The Queen and Governor-General with a President as head of state.

SVG joins Australia and Tuvalu in having handed republicans a resounding defeat. Australia rejected a republic in 1999 and Tuvalu in 2008.

Of course, republicans in all three Realms aren't the most gracious losers. They will surely come up with all kinds of excuses as to why and how they didn't win. The question was rigged. The people do want a republic just not "this" republic. Blah, blah.

Call them predictable...but there are three things that republicans can be counted on:

1. They won't take No for an answer.

2. They will blame everyone and everything for their defeat.

3. They can't agree on what type of republic they want.

My question to republicans is this...Did it ever dawn on you that the people reject a republic because - maybe just maybe - they actually want to remain a monarchy? Sheesh, what a novel thought!

Until next time,
Robert.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Selecting the Governor General

The Globe and Mail's sudden change of heart when it comes to the monarchy is most welcome. As you may already know, the Globe now endorses Canada's constitutional monarchy. In an editorial last week, the paper presented a proposal that attempts to remove political patronage from the selection process for the Governor General.

I've always had mixed feelings on how The Queen's representative should be selected. Removing any perception of political patronage is certainly welcome. But, careful attention must be paid to ensure that changing the selection process doesn't politicalize the office or affect The Queen's right to appoint HER representative.

While I am happy that the Globe is now in the monarchist camp, I admit that I am not a fan of the their proposal to establish some sort of advisory board to determine who will represent the Crown. For me, it puts the selection process in the hands of the elite and weakens both the Prime Minister's prerogative and The Queen's authority - two vital features of our constitutional monarchy.

Also, I don't know if patronage is as much a problem with vice-regal appointments as some may make it out to be. Whether or not you approve of Adrienne Clarkson or Michaëlle Jean, I think you'd be hard pressed to label either of the last two vice-regals patronage appointments.

But, winds of change do appear to be in the air. And, even monarchists are clamouring for change.

So, here's an open invitation for all monarchists. Let's brainstorm together. How should the Governor General be selected?

I welcome your input. Please Email your suggestions and ideas to me at chairman@monarchist.ca.

Until next time,
Robert.

Friday, 13 November 2009

À bientôt, Your Royal Highnesses

As The Prince of Wales reminded us as he ended his speech at an official dinner at Rideau Hall, it's "À bientôt" not "Au revoir." Not good-bye, but see you soon. The Royal Homecoming of Canada's future King - the first with the Duchess of Cornwall - has now ended. The general feeling is that this visit has been a tremendous success. I, for one, look forward to their return to Canada. And, I strongly suspect that it won't be another 8 long years before Charles is back on Canadian soil.

* * *

Hats off to Jason Kenney. The Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism yesterday launched a new study guide for new Canadians. Called "Discover Canada", the book prominently explains the role of the Crown.

It is reassuring to know that new Canadians will learn that The Queen is our head of state, that the Governor General and Lieutenant Governors are her representatives, and that the monarchy is such an important element of government and everyday life in modern day Canada.


* * *

Republicans have a real gift for attracting...monarchists! Every time they talk or write, the League is sure to recruit another member to its fold. Case in point is this article in today's Montreal Gazette. A good example of a republican spewing out misinformation and ignorance. Ironically, by trying to belittle the Monarchist League the writer gives us free publicity and drives people to our cause.

It reminds me of how I first became a member of the League. One evening in the late 90s, I read a piece about John Manley's boorish desire to abolish the monarchy. The former cabinet minister never missed an opportunity to push his republican agenda. Anyway, the article I read that evening had also mentioned the League. Even though I was a staunch monarchist, admittedly I hadn't heard of the Monarchist League of Canada.

That night I visited the League's Website and - ta-da - joined the cause. I often get a good chuckle knowing that John Manley, one of the loudest anti-monarchist voices at the time, was almost single-handedly responsible for recruiting the future Dominion Chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada.

So, let me thank the John Manleys, Jeffrey Simpsons, Allan Fotheringhams, Tom Fredas, Brian Tobins, Margaret Wentes, and Barbara Yaffes of the world now. These last couple of weeks, you have sent our League many new members and maybe - just maybe - you may have just recruited another future Dominion Chairman.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Christina Blizzard puts the boots to republican

Today's Toronto Sun features a great "royal rumble" between Sun Media columnist Christina Blizzard and republican Tom Freda. Note to Freda. Nobody cares about Mitchell Sharp. Quit trying to associate the Monarchy with the Nazis and the slave trade. The strategy is absurd, offensive, and doesn't work.

* * *

Anyone else growing tired of CBC's less-than-stellar coverage of the Royal Homecoming? Really, I'd expect better from our national public broadcaster. Constantly focusing on pointless polls (of which can be easily countered by contradicting polls, I might add) suggesting Canadians are not interested (did they not see the crowds yesterday at Dundurn Castle in Hamilton or at Varsity Stadium in Toronto?), constantly bringing out so-called "experts" predicting the end of the monarchy. My favourite was a British photographer..how on Earth is he an expert? I guess, they are setting the mood for this doozie.

* * *

As our Australian friends are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the defeat of the republic referendum, a visit to that Realm by Prince William has been announced. His presence will surely be a big boost to monarchist forces Down Under. The visit to Australia was added to Prince William's first official visit to New Zealand.

* * *

In closing, I leave you with my favourite moment of the royal visit thus far. Yesterday, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited Dundurn Castle in Hamilton. An energetic crowd of 3000+ gathered to welcome them. The crowd erupted when the Royal Couple stepped onto the balcony to greet and wave to the crowd below.




Until next time,
Robert



Thursday, 5 November 2009

Australia: 10 Years After the Referendum

Just a quick post to mark a special occasion for all monarchists - the 10th anniversary of the Defeat of the Republic Referendum in Australia. On November 6, 1999, Australians voted overwhelmingly in favour of retaining the Australian monarchy. The referendum was defeated nationally by a margin of 55% to 45%. Further, all of Australia's states and over 70% of constituencies gave a resounding vote of confidence in the Australian Crown.

In 2001, when I was in Sydney I visited the offices of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, one of two large Australian monarchist organisations (the other being the Australian Monarchist League). It was amazing to see the remnants of their "campaign" headquarters and to share stories with some of their volunteers.

Admittedly, I have a soft spot for Australia and really fell in love with the country. As a monarchist, I would be deeply saddened if Australians abolished their monarchy. I suspect many Canadians would. Thankfully though, ten years after they served republicans a resounding NO! Australians by and large remain a loyal realm of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

As we continue to celebrate in this country the Royal Homecoming of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, I encourage you to raise a glass to Australia's monarchists for a job well done.

Advance Australia Fair.

Until next time,
Robert.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Quit the whining, Join the party.


As the Royal Couple continue their Royal Homecoming in Ontario ("Loyal She Began, Loyal She Remains" on Day 3 of the royal visit, I extend an invite to the party-poopers out there to quit the whining and join in the fun.

So far, we've managed just fine to get through a series of pointless polls, some nasty weather, the ever predictable Jeffrey Simpson and Allan Fotheringham columns (snooze!), and the "hilarious" reporting by Rosie DiManno, the Big Smoke's new found comedienne (she also likes to knock us Hamiltonians!). Oh, and of course we can't forget Gilles Duceppe who wants us to know that he has no time for the Royals.

But, there are a few things I really do need to get of my chest, so here goes.

First, what's with the obsession of analysing attendance figures? Funny how some media reported "large" crowds in St John's, others reported "small". What gives? And, my favourite was when those pointed out that there were fewer than a hundred people in Cupids, Newfoundland and Labrador yesterday. Ah, Cupids has all of 700 people altogether. That's 10% of the population. Last year's Super Bowl, by comparison, drew 71,000 or less about 2% of the population of metropolitan Tampa, Florida. Was the Super Bowl a flop?

Second, why do some people constantly complain about the cost? My God, the world must think we're a bunch of cheapskates. I don't know exactly how much this royal visit is costing, but I'm guessing less than $3 million. Hardly a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things. One republican jumped on the H1N1 hysteria machine and suggested that that money could be spent on buying more H1N1 vaccine. Good grief.

Before anti-monarchists complain about spending a few million dollars they need to consider three things: 1. Monarchists (the majority of Canadians) are taxpayers, too. We don't mind our portion paying for this. 2. The cost is worth it when you consider how many thousands of lives are touched by those royal well wishers who get out to see the Royal Couple. 3. There is an economic return on investment. Think about it. People lining up to see the Royal Couple will buy a coffee, catch a bite to eat, maybe even go shopping before or after the royal event. A royal visit is an excellent way to stimulate our recession-hurt economy.

Third, why are anti-monarchists so rude, nasty, and even hateful? The world of the Internet has given people the ability to express themselves. But, reading through some of the comments left by people is often a real chore. Sometimes, the odd republican will post a well thought out point of view. But, most in their camp are posting such insightful posts as "Stupid Royal Family," "Who cares about Chuck?," and "I hate Britain and the Queen." I have to say that republicans are the most bitter, depressing lot around. They need to lighten up.

Instead of whining, how about everyone welcome the Prince and Duchess with open arms? Learn about some of the exciting places (like Cupids) they are visiting. Consider the excitement they're bringing to many (like the young man in St. John's who gave the Prince his business card). Enjoy the cultural shows and displays they are experiencing.

So, to Jeffrey Simpson, Allan Fotheringham, Rosie DiManno, Gilles Duceppe, Tom Freda, and the other anti-monarchists out there: Join the party. It's a lot more fun on this side of the fence :)

Until next time,
Robert.

Friday, 30 October 2009

The First Twittered Royal Visit

When King George VI and Queen Elizabeth came to Canada in 1939, Canadians followed the first tour of a reigning Sovereign either in person, on radio, or in the newspapers. Flash forward to the 2009 visit of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. This Royal Homecoming, which starts Monday, will take place in a new information age with 24-hour news channels, online news sites, and emerging social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

The Monarchist League of Canada is pleased to announce that this will be the first "twittered" royal visit. Yes, members and friends - as well as the general public, no doubt - will use Twitter to post news items, provide first hand accounts, and offer interesting commentary on the Royal Homecoming.

All you need to participate is a Twitter account. You can follow the MLC at twitter.com/monarchist. If you want to post something simply include the #royalvisit09 hashmark tag in your post. For those of you who aren't on Twitter, you can still follow the action on our Website. A live Twitter feed will run on our homepage.

Happy Tweeting,
Robert.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Time to revisit the monarchy?

This column appeared in Wednesday's Ottawa Citizen. It is written by Andrew Cohen, who is President of the Historica-Dominion Institute whose mandate is supposedly "to build active and informed citizens through a greater knowledge and appreciation of the history, heritage and stories of Canada."

Our own Nathan Tidridge, the League's Education Coordinator and himself a teacher in Canadian Civics, offers the following rebuke:

It was Adrienne Clarkson who wrote that, concerning Canada’s democratic traditions, “there is an abysmal lack of knowledge about the system.” These words echoed in my mind as I read the letter written by the president of The Historica-Dominion Institute, Andrew Cohen.

As a teacher of Canadian Civics I find myself in complete agreement with our former Governor General: we do not understand how we are governed in this country. Mr. Cohen’s suggestion to simply declare the governor general as Head of State once The Queen of Canada dies displays a lack of knowledge of our parliamentary democracy. If we are going to have the “adult conversation” Mr. Cohen suggests about the Crown in Canada we need to educate ourselves about what eminent political scientist David E. Smith describes in his book, The Invisible Crown: The First Principal of Canadian Government, as the “. . .organizing force behind the executive, legislative, administration, and judiciary on both the federal and provincial spheres of government.”

The fact that only 24 percent of the population know that The Queen is the source of our political and legal authority is deplorable – it speaks to the poor treatment our political institutions have received over the years. Mr. Cohen contends that the end of the Canadian monarchy is simply “a manifestation of maturity.” Cohan forgets that such events as the patriation of the Constitution in 1982 entrenched the Crown in Canada, strengthening its position at the centre of our democracy. A superficial survey of history denies Canadians the depth and richness that centuries of political evolution have given us.

True, Australia did explore the possibility of becoming a republic in 1999. However, this plan was sidelined over the issue of legitimacy and authority of an Australian president. Put simply, the governor general receives their authority from The Queen, and when the monarch is removed there is nothing left to legitimize the existence of the Queen’s Representative. Simply renaming the “governor general” as “president” creates a host of new problems: Who elects the president? If the president is given a mandate by an electorate what is their relationship with the prime minister (the Head of Government)? How do we ensure that a politicized office represents all Canadians? What institution will protect Canadians against an abuse of power?

There are other realities to contend with as well: First Nations’ treaties are with The Crown, not the government of the day; the Crown provides the foundation for Confederation and inter-provincial /federal relations; the Crown provides a unifying force in a country that can be easily divided.

I welcome a national debate. However, Canadians need to educate themselves about what they could potentially loose. The Crown has roots that run deep in this country – it is a defining institution in our political and cultural make-up. By simply labeling Elizabeth II as the “Queen of England” (a title that has not existed since 1603 with the death of Elizabeth I) and a relic is an immature argument. Such a statement denies centuries of cultivation by Canadians of their constitutional monarchy. Let’s get educated about the subject and have a serious debate.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A Linc In Time

Yesterday evening I had the privilege of attending a screening of A Linc In Time, a documentary on the life of Lincoln Alexander, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

The special evening was hosted by Ontario's current Lieutenant Governor, David Onley, at his Queen's Park suite.

My first memory of Linc (as he is commonly known) is from my childhood when I was in Cub Scouts. Every year, there was a Scout parade in downtown Hamilton. We took this parade very seriously, and I can still recall how nervous we got when we marched past the Honourable Lincoln Alexander, who'd always offer us a vice-regal wave upon passing.

A Linc In Time is a "surprising, funny, often heartbreaking but always inspiring account of his childhood, loves of his life, successes and tragedies are all shared by the Honourable Alexander himself, in his own words." If you get a chance to watch this documentary, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Linc holds a special place in the hearts of Hamiltonians. He is our hero and our success story. For me, Lincoln Alexander, like The Queen he so proudly represented, is the epitome of service, honour, and dedication.

Until next time,
Robert.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Diminishing monarchist forces? Think again!

Today's Toronto Star features an opinion piece by Randall White. Mr. White is a known anti-monarchist and is a member of Citizens for a Canadian Republic, a small Toronto-based republican group. He regularly writes articles disparaging the monarchy such as this one.

In his latest attack on the Crown, Mr. White makes two references to "diminishing monarchist forces." Diminishing monarchist forces, eh, Mr. White? Are these the same diminishing forces that appeared in headlines across the country? The same ones that played a key role in highlighting the head-of-stateism-by-stealth campaign at Rideau Hall, that ultimately lead to a statement by the Prime Minister of Canada and Rideau Hall's correcting their Website?

Are these the same diminishing forces that will be called on to provide insight and opinion on the upcoming Royal Homecoming of The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall? The same ones who forced BC Ferries last year to restore The Queen's portraits to its fleet? The same ones who have cemented a monarchist mentality at Canada Post and the Royal Canadian Mint?

Are these the same diminishing forces that every day add new members (especially young Canadians) to its fold? The same ones with a rapidly growing Facebook and Twitter presence?

One interesting aspect I noticed in the wake of the head of state fiasco was the absence of any real discussion about whether Canada should keep or abolish the monarchy. None of the major newspapers called for a republic. Even those less sympathetic to the Crown defended Her Majesty. Indeed, nobody was interested in a republic. The silence was deafening.

Sorry, Mr. White. But, it doesn't look like it's the monarchist forces who are diminishing...

Until next time,
Robert
Proud Monarchist Parasite!

Friday, 16 October 2009

An immigrant's response to the head of state fiasco

I received the following Email from Kwan Ho Leung in Ontario. It is a copy of an Email he sent to Rideau Hall expressing his disappointment with Mme Jean's referring to herself as "head of state."

I became a Canadian citizen almost 10 years ago and nothing in the long process of citizenship made me prouder than swearing allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II as our Head of State.

This is why when I read that the Governor General called herself the Head of State, I was deeply dismayed and offended. When one of your staffers said she was the "de facto" head, it made me even angrier.

As most new and old Canadians know, the Governor General is the Queen's representative and a representative can never be the actual person being represented. Please make sure that this silly mistake is not going to happen again.

We swear allegiance to the Queen, not the Governor General.

Sincerely,
Kwan Ho Leung


My experience is that the vast majority of new Canadians have a solid understanding of and appreciation for Canada's monarchy. Surely, if newcomers to Canada are expected to learn about our constitutional realities, that same expectation must apply to those at Rideau Hall.

Thank-you, Kwan Ho, for sharing with me your letter.

Until next time,
Robert.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Proud to be a Parasite, Senator

Whenever the Monarchist League is in the news there are two things that I know are bound to come: 1) Emails, letters, and phone calls of praise, and 2) Emails, letters, and phone calls of condemnation. The latter - often outrageous sometimes downright nasty - I jokingly refer to as my "fan mail."

Out of the woodwork will come the same tired anti-monarchists: the false nationalists who insist the Crown is not Canadian; the anti-British crowd who blame the UK for all of the world's ills including the Toronto Maple Leafs' 42-year-old Stanley Cup drought; the ideologues who cannot reconcile monarchism with democracy (y'know because Canada, UK, Sweden, Japan, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, etc. aren't democratic), and, of course, the disenchanted Quebec nationalist who detests anything even remotely English.


In the wake of last week's so-called head of state debate, I received a message on my voicemail from retired Sentator Laurier LaPierre. "I'm Senator LaPierre" the message started (yeah, Hello to you to, sir). Mr. LaPierre then went on to say that although "it may not be in the law, or in paper, or in the stupid constitution...the Governor General is the head of state." Huh?

"As soon as we get rid of the monarchical system and become who we are supposed to be we will be much better of." I'm still trying to figure out who we are actually supposed to be.

The good senator wraps up by saying, "only parasiittttttteessss want to be subjeecctttttt to the foreign queen. Good bye!"

I was left shaking my head, left wondering how interesting the conversation might have been had I managed to actually pick up his call. I would have told him, quite frankly, that I am proud to be a parasite then!




Until next time,
Robert.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Last Week was a Turning Point

Dear friends,

Last week was a turning point. After years of ignorance and outright mischief on part of some staff at Rideau Hall, people finally awoke and took notice. As you probably know by now, the Governor General twice referred to herself as Canada's "head of state" at a UNESCO speech in Paris.
Immediately after learning of this major faux pas, I contacted the Governor General's Secretary to express our outrage. We all know that the Governor General is not Canada's head of state but rather the representative of the head of state, Her Majesty The Queen. So, how and why in the world did this happen, I asked.

Soon after, the League was asked to comment by the media. Admittedly, I felt a bit uncomfortable publicly criticising the Governor General and her staff. After all, aren't we supposed to be on the same team? But, when things go so wrong, when the train falls off the track, we do need to act. If the Monarchist League of Canada turns a blind eye to such an obvious attack on the Crown then why are we here, right?

As the story unfolded throughout the week, most major news outlets across the country were talking about what has become known as the "Head of State Debate." Recognizing that this story was not going away (and was, quite frankly, morphing into a major controversy), the Prime Minister issued a statement to help clarify matters. Yes, The Queen is head of state. No, the GG is not.

Constitutional experts, law professors, the PMO, MPs, bloggers, editorial boards, and the Monarchist League of Canada all came to The Queen's defence. It seemed like everyone - everyone except those at Rideau Hall - agreed that Canada's one and only head of state is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada.

The significance of last week, though, is not the the fact that our Governor General referred to herself as head of state. Nor is it the fact that Rideau Hall so foolishly tried to justify using the term (more on that in another post!). And, nor is it the fact that the Prime Minister issued a rare public rebuke.

Rather, the importance of last week is that years of constitutional vandalism was suddenly exposed. Last week, the general public learned what many of us reluctantly suspected was on the agenda: a carefully calculated plan to elevate the office of the Governor General, to purposely downplay the role of The Queen herself, to "Canadianize" the Crown into a monarchy without a monarch .

Finally, the story was being told. The head-of-stateism-by-stealth campaign was blown wide open for all to see. Yes, that's what is important. (Kudos to the national media for bringing this whole head of state issue to the forefront, by the way!)

I believe that years from now we will look back and realise that last week was indeed a turning point. The hidden agenda to turn the Governor General into the head of state now public and causing tremendous backlash, the steps are now being taken to reverse the trend and to restore the vice-regal office to what it truly should be: a representative of our Queen, a woman who has dutifully and selflessly served us for almost 60 years.

Serving as The Queen's representative and the honour and prestige that goes with that opportunity should be reason enough to want to be a governor general. You surely don't need to strive to be something more than that to earn Canadians' respect.

Until next time,
Robert.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Charles and Camilla Homecoming an Opportunity for Monarchists

Good day friends,

Saturday, the Prime Minister announced the dates for next month's visit of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. The Royal Couple will be visiting 12 cities and communities in 4 provinces, including a stop in my hometown of Hamilton where a no doubt a tour of Dundurn Castle will be on the itinerary. The Duchess is the great-great-great granddaughter of Sir Allan Macnab, the man who built Dundurn - and who, in 1860, hosted Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) at the castle.

Needless to say, there will be an incredible amount of interest in this event. There already is, judging by what I have seen and heard over the weekend. Thus, there is a wonderful opportunity for us monarchists to tell our story. More specifically, to promote the Prince of Wales as Canada's future king.

In a way, Prince Charles is a product of "extreme makeover." A team of public relations experts have transformed the way the public and the media see him - at least in Britain. Let's face it, folks, not many would've bet that the public would accept his marrying Camilla Parker-Bowes even 2-3 years before he actually did in 2005, right? The fact that the marriage happened and was accepted - even celebrated - shows how far the future king has come since the gloomy days of the 1990s.

But, I get a sense that here in Canada we can do more to enhance Charles' image. No doubt, the unfortunate fact that it has been some 8 years since he was last in Canada, has not helped. But, there is no point in dwelling on the past or on the negative.

Instead, let us take this opportunity to focus our energies on the positive. The reality is that Charles is an untold story, really. So, let's tell that story.

Let's tell the story of how Charles has raised millions of dollars through the Prince's Charities; of how he has been an environmental leader long before it was chic to be "green"; of how he strives to reconcile the world's religions; and of how he has successfully drawn attention to Canada's First Nations, the disabled, and the elderly.

The reality is that Charles' interests very much resonate with Canadians. I believe this Royal Homecoming provides us with the opportunity to make Canadians aware of that fact.

In the coming days and weeks, the League will undertake a number of initiatives to help tell the story - the untold story - of the Prince of Wales, Canada's Future King!

Robert.

P.S. As always, I welcome any ideas and suggestions you may have.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Marketing the Monarchy

It's been awhile since I've last posted. I hope you all had a wonderful Summer. Today, I am launching a new series on this blog called Marketing the Monarchy.

So, what is Marketing the Monarchy, you ask? Basically, it will be a collection of ideas, suggestions, and thoughts about how you and I can promote the Canadian Crown. For those of you who don't know me personally, my background is in marketing. Marketing is what I studied at university, marketing is what I do for a living, and marketing is something that fascinates me.

Marketing itself can be defined as the activity and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers (that's you, me, and other individuals) and society at large. (If you are really bored and want a more detailed description, type the word "marketing" in your search engine and you will be bombarded with information on the subject.)

Therefore, why not put to use the principles of marketing to help further the cause of the League and the monarchy? Thankfully, you don't have to be a professional marketer to market the monarchy. Marketing is everywhere around us. Even if you aren't aware of the name of some concept or haven't studied the process behind some theory, no doubt you will still be able to relate to these ideas and be able to execute them and make a real difference.


Let's begin with a relatively simply concept called viral marketing. Just like its name implies, viral marketing works much like a virus. Let's consider the nasty H1N1 flu virus for a moment, since it's been in the news for the last several weeks and months now. Basically, someone in the community contracts this bug and passes it on to others. The next thing you know, his family members, friends, and colleagues - people he's been in contact with - contract the same bug. These new infected individuals, in turn, pass the same bug onto others, yet. This continues, and eventually, a large section of the population has the H1N1 flu virus.

Well, this is pretty much how viral marketing works, too. Someone introduces an idea and passes that message onto other people he knows. He could even be brave and pass along the message to complete strangers, too, but that takes a little more guts! He then asks these people he knows to pass the same message onto people they know. And, so on it goes...until a large section of the population is made aware of an idea that one single person initiated.

Viral marketing uses the so-called word-of-mouth idea, one of the most powerful marketing tools available. And, it's cheap, too! Think of the time when you went to a restaurant based on the rave reviews offered by your peers. This is viral marketing. (As an aside, viral marketing can work the other way, too. Think of that time your friend told you about the dreadful service he experienced at a certain auto repair garage. Guess where you're not taking your car?)

Technology has made viral marketing and word-of-mouth advertising that much more effective, still. We can utilise Email, Social Networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, etc. to introduce and spread our viruses - err - ideas!

So, let's put this theory to practice, shall we. Here's a simple viral marketing campaign you can do on your own to help promote the monarchy. Send out an Email to everyone of your contacts in your address book telling them about the 6-month Trial Membership we offer here at the Monarchist League of Canada. Shameless self-promotion is allowed in viral marketing.

Ask them to consider joining the League at no cost. And, ask them to send the same message onto their address book contacts, too. If you do this tonight or tomorrow I guarantee you that we will see a spike in the number of Free Trial Membership requests this week.

Go ahead, try it! It works!

Until next time,
Robert.


Friday, 17 July 2009

Jean Chrétien’s appointment to the Order of Merit highlights the understated role of our monarchy

The following piece was written by Nathan Tidridge, the League's Education Coordinator and himself a high school teacher in Hamilton:

A few months ago it was announced by the Dominion Institute that only 23% of Canadians knew that their Head of State was Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada. As a history teacher, as well as of Canadian government, I was not surprised.

Canada enjoys one of the most stable forms of government that exists on the planet, but its citizens barely understand it beyond a “Wikipedia” standard lacking the depth and respect it deserves. A classic example of this understanding was highlighted during the political events of last December when the Governor General (as representative of our Head of State) prorogued parliament on the recommendation of her prime minister. Newspapers and other media plastered the country with headlines reading “crisis” and “coup” – a complete misunderstanding of how our system operates. In fact, our constitutional monarchy was doing exactly what it was designed to do.

The Prince of Wales will be visiting Canada this fall, followed by The Queen herself in 2010. I can already see the headlines. The recent poll published by the Globe and Mail citing that only 35% of Canadians want to retain the Monarchy will undoubtedly come up. Without proper education and understanding it makes sense that whenever Canadians encounter the Monarchy they do so with confusion.

In Ontario, Civics is a government-mandated course taught to all Grade 10 students. Often times this course will focus on the ideas of global citizenship and community participation (which are very important), while ignoring the mechanics of our government. As a teacher, this makes some sense because Grade 10 students have a difficult time fleshing out our political structure (which can be too abstract for them).

As far as teaching about the role of the Canadian Monarchy, since most (if not all) of our textbooks are produced by private companies, the information presented is blatantly wrong. The Governor General is often referred to as the Canadian Head of State, while the Queen is almost uniformly identified as the British Monarch (even though she has been Queen of Canada – a separate entity politically – since 1953). The Monarchy is always presented as something on the way out to our youth – tied to such things as the old Canadian Red Ensign (a relationship that makes no sense since it was the Queen of Canada who proclaimed our new flag in 1965).

The fact that a former prime minister has been appointed by the Queen of Canada to the highly prestigious Order of Merit brings to light that this institution is still working for us. It must be remembered that the Crown is not designed to promote itself, rather its role is to highlight and honour our country.

Instead of the Prince of Wales’ visit being framed as part of our past, we should be looking at it as an affirmation of our history and political institution as it continues to evolve. As a person, it is interesting to note that The Prince’s views on the environment, rural support and global citizenship are in step with a majority of Canadians.

The Prince of Wales has not visited Canada very often – as heir to the throne he must be invited by the Canadian Government. His visit in the fall represents the future of our country’s political system – a system that is chronically misunderstood by its citizens. Before entertaining the perennial debate on retaining the Canadian Monarchy, we must learn how it works.

This must be a grassroots campaign to understand an institution that is not designed to advocate for itself. In an age of celebrity politicians, The Queen has stood quietly in the background as a source of stability and subtle affirmation of our political institutions and cultural personalities, even in the face of superficial and uneducated attacks. In the end, when looked at in depth, the Crown presents itself as quietly familiar and ultimately Canadian.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Bye, bye federation, if republicans had their way

This week's edition of Maclean's features a piece on the cost of the Canadian Crown. As you know, the League has just published its triennial survey that shows the cost of Canada's monarchy to be about $1.53 per Canadian per year. That's a heck of a bargain if you ask me when you consider the many benefits we receive...a sound system of government with a non-partisan Queen and Governor General providing stability and unity.

The one thing that jumped out at me, though, was the republican gentleman's suggestion that the Lieutenant Governors are more or less "redundant and obsolete." Wow! This revelation should sound alarm bells to anyone who believes in the Canadian federation.

What republicans are, in effect, saying is that provincial sovereignty means nothing. In Canada, where ultimate authority is vested in The Queen, we have eleven sovereign governments: one federal and ten provincial. Each has its very own representative of the Crown: the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governors.

Abolishing the offices of the Lieutenant Governors would leave the provinces with no counterpart to the Governor General. The provincial governments would become mere subordinates of the federal government. Probably not what Canadians would want for the governments which are so close to them and handle important things like health end education, eh?

The mere thought of abolishing the provincial vice-regals reeks of constitutional vandalism. Of course, no province is ever going to voluntarily give up its sovereignty to Ottawa. But, if the republicans had their way, we would have a President (with no provincial counterpart) and a federal government that could run roughshod over the provinces. Bye, bye federation!

Until next time,
RF.


BTW, please vote in the poll on the right hand side of the Maclean's article.

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Queen is Coming; Former PM Chrétien Appointed to Order of Merit

In recent weeks, it certainly seems like there's been more than usual news related to the Crown. Yesterday, the Governor General made it official...that Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh will return to Canada in 2010.

Royal Visits - or Homecomings, as we Monarchists like to call them - are always a reason for celebration. They are a chance for Canadians to again reacquaint themselves with their Sovereign and the monarchy. So, while the Crown is often left to function in the background away from the public eye much of the time, during the days when The Queen is here Canadians' focus is on HER and this wonderful system of government we call constitutional monarchy.

Of course, The Queen's visit will follow on the tails of the visit of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. That's two Royal Homecomings in less than a year apart. Great time to be a Canadian monarchist!

* * *
Monday, The Queen announced the appointment of former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to the Order of Merit. Mr. Chrétien served as Minister of Justice in the early 80s and, as such, was a key player in the negotiations leading to Canada's new, repatriated constitution. Eventually, Mr. Chrétien served three "terms" as prime minister - and was Canada's head of government during The Queen's hugely successful Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002.
Love him or hate him, one thing that I always admired about Mr. Chrétien was his insistence that the monarchy was not an issue in Canada and his refusal to open a debate on the subject.
Congratulations, Mr. Chrétien.
Until next time,
RF.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

State Dinner for Emperor and Empress of Japan

This past Monday, I had the honour of attending a State Dinner at Rideau Hall in honour of the Emperor and Empress of Japan. Their Majesties are visiting Canada to mark the 80th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

Emperor Akihito's only other visit to Canada was in 1953, en route to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II - something the Governor General alluded to in her speech.

Walking into Rideau Hall always gives me butterflies in the stomach. This building is steeped in history and character. It was refreshing to see the large portrait of Queen Victoria in the Tent Room and, of course, the Lemieux painting of The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in the ballroom. (There's no need to dwell on the past movings and removings of royal portraits; we'll leave that for another day!)

I had the fortune of speaking with many people - new contacts and old acquaintances - including Claire Boudreau (Chief Herald of Canada), Peter Milliken (Speaker of the House of Commons), and Sheila-Marie Cook (Secretary to the Governor General). After meeting briefly the Emperor and Empress, who are lovely people, I enjoyed a good conversation with Her Excellency the Governor General.

If you ever have an opportunity to attend a state dinner, I would strongly encourage you to go. The people you meet, the conversations you share, and the memories you create - not to mention the wonderful food (and wine!) you consume - will leave you in awe. Monday was truly a magical evening that I will cherish forever.

Until next time,
Robert.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Reply to Republican Columnist's Tirade Against Charles

The Globe and Mail helped Canadians celebrate Canada Day with an opinion piece by known republican columnist Jeffrey Simpson that heaped praise (rightfully so) on our Governor General but went on to vilify Canada's future king.

My letter to the editor was published on the Globe's Website. The condensed response appears here.

Here is the text of my full letter:

Jeffrey Simpson's praise for Her Excellency the Governor General is welcome. True, Michaëlle Jean deserves such praise. She personifies modern-day Canada: bilingual, multicultural, global, hardworking, tolerant, and friendly. And, as he rightly points out she clearly demonstrated her constitutional acumen when it came to the whole issue of Prorogation last Fall.

But, as much as he is spot on when it comes to his assessment of Mme Jean, Mr Simpson loses all credibility with his attack on Prince Charles. Mr Simpson's republican leanings are well known, but to paint such a rosy picture of our Governor General at the expense of the heir to the throne is shameful. His portrayal of Charles as being a "stodgy British prince" is simply a byproduct of his hate-on for all things Royal.

The same characteristics he uses to pump up Mme Jean can just as easily be attributed to Charles, as well: bilingual, multicultural, worldly, modern, etc. The Prince of Wales is (and has been for some time) ahead of the world when it comes to the environment, organic farming, architecture, etc. He has raised millions of dollars for worthwhile charities, many of which he has personally founded, and has been a true leader in helping to reconcile a world of different religions and cultures. As far as I am concerned, Charles very much reflects the ideals of today's Canada...perhaps more than anyone else.

Mr Simpson's peculiar fascination and praise for Canada's Governors General past and present boggles the mind. He says we're lucky to have had them. However, he surely must realise that as representatives of The Queen they are all creatures of the monarchical system of government we have. With no monarchy we would have no Michaëlle Jean. Instead, we would be stuck with a politician as president. How un-Canadian!



Until next time,
RF.

Promoting the Prince of Wales

Canada Day is always a day I look forward to. I enjoy the pomp and circumstance, the fireworks, and the performances on Parliament Hill. It is a day to reflect on our history as a nation, what it means to be Canadian, and how fortunate we are to live in such a country.

But, this year something soured the occasion for me. And, no I'm not talking about my beloved Tiger-Cats' dreadful performance...although that didn't help. Rather, I am referring to a poll published by the Globe and Mail that indicated only 35% of Canadians want to retain the monarchy after The Queen's reign ends.

Of course, we all know that polls are not definite. They're simply the opinions of a particular cross-section of the population on a particular subject at a particular point in time. So, while there is no need for us monarchists to hit the panic button we do have some work to do.

We need to do a better job at promoting the Prince of Wales. Period. Charles' ideals are ones that resonate with Canadians: the environment, organic farming, architecture, charity, bridging the gap between the world's diverse religions and culture, etc. I am confident that if Canadians knew more about their future king they would be much, much more supportive of him.

Of course, it hasn't helped that Canadians have not seen Charles on Canadian soil since 2001. Fortunately, we will host Their Royal Highnesses this Fall on a cross-country tour. But, eight years is simply too long between royal homecomings. Is it any wonder that Canadians have lost interest?

Between now and November the League will launch a series of initiatives promoting Canada's future king. In the meantime, I encourage you to spread the word on the many wonderful accomplishments of Charles, Prince of Wales.

RF.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Our Union Jack bloomers in a twist...

I couldn't help but laugh when I read this insightful commentary by Rafe Mair. Mr. Mair definitely has his hate-on for the Monarchist League of Canada. That must mean we are making a real difference out there, my friends!

Now, Mr. Mair, believe it or not was actually British Columbia's minister responsible for constitutional affairs leading up to the repatriation of the Constitution back in the 80s. How scary is that?

Mr. Rafe's rant about the MLC is full of the typical stereo-types. But, his suggestion that we simply make the Governor General the head of state is jaw-dropping. (And, this guy represented BC in constitutional negotiations? Yikes)

Yes, it is true that the Governor General performs most (not all) of the constitutional duties of the Crown, but it is important to remember that the GG draws her authority from The Queen. She represents The Queen. The Queen appoints her. See the problem, Mr. Rafe? If you get rid of The Queen, from where does the GG draw her authority? Who does she represent? And, how does she become GG? Hmm, back to the drawing board, sir.

In the meantime, I am honoured that we amuse you.

RF.

Royal Visit, GG to Open Olympics, GG Presents New Queen's Colour

Happy Monday, Monarchists.

It sure has been a busy weekend in the world of monarchy. It was with great enthusiasm that the League welcomed the news that the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will embark on an extensive tour in Canada this November. As you may know, this visit has been a long time in the works. As the heir to the Canadian throne, it is imperative that Canadians get more acquanited with Charles and Camilla. I believe this tour is crucial to the long-term health of the Crown in this country; I also believe this tour will be a resounding success!

This weekend also brought the announcement that the Governor General will open the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I know that many of you wanted to see Her Majesty The Queen - our head of state - open the Games. Believe me, in an ideal world this would have occurred. But, we don't live in an ideal world, and to be perfectly honest, I would much rather have Her Majesty visit various parts of the country when she does come (later in 2010) when better weather will make the visit that much more enjoyable - for Canadians and for Her Majesty!

The third bit of royal news had the Governor General present a new Queen's Colour to the Canadian Navy. It is always refreshing to see how seriously Her Excellency takes her role as Commander-in-Chief.

Until next time,
Robert.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Roméo LeBlanc, 1927-2009

The Right Honourable Roméo-Adrien LeBlanc, former Governor General of Canada, has passed away at the age of 81. Mr. LeBlanc served as Her Majesty The Queen's representative from 1995 to 1999.

The first Acadian to serve as vice-regal, Mr. LeBlanc's raised Canadians' awareness of Acadian culture and history - and was seen by many as a symbol for reconciliation between Acadians and the Crown.

Mr. LeBlanc was a very modest man. He often found it difficult to accept some of the ceremonial aspects that came with the vice-regal post. For example, he would ask women to go through the door ahead of him, even though as Governor General the courtesy of "going first" belonged to him. This was the down-to-earth character of Roméo-LeBlanc.

During his time as Governor General, Mr. LeBlanc championed volunteerism, culminating in the creation of the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award. He also took a keen interest in the teaching of Canadian history (he was a former educator himself), and Canada's Aboriginal peoples. In 1996, he issued a Royal Proclamation making National Aboriginal Day an annual observation.

Roméo LeBlanc died at his home in New Brunswick after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's disease. Mr. LeBlanc is survived by his wife Diana Fowler LeBlanc and their four children.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The Queen and Canada


"One could say the monarchy is a package deal for Canadians - representing our past, reflecting our present and joining in our future."

I came across this column in this week's edition of The Georgian, a weekly community newspaper in Newfoundland. It's a well written piece that effectively addresses the "concern" republicans have when it comes to democracy under the Crown and speaks to the unifying factor The Queen plays in a country as diverse as Canada.

In short, it answers the question of how we Canadians would be better off without the monarchy. The answer? We wouldn't be!

The paper is marking the 50th anniversary of The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh's 45-day tour of Canada and the United States by compiling memories of locals who were there the day the Royal Couple visited.

Until next time
RF.

Monday, 1 June 2009

In The Queen We Trust

Canadians, it appears, trust The Queen. According to a Reader's Digest survey, The Queen is the second most trusted Canadian. Social critic Robert Fulford states that "We admire those who stick to the same job forever and ever. What we feel for them is a deeper-than-politics conservative instinct. In this sense, Wayne Gretzky is the perfect Canadian athlete. The Queen qualifies in the same way.”

That The Queen ranks so high is not surprising. For almost 60 years, Her Majesty has served Canadians dutifully and selflessly. The Queen has always put the interests of Canada ahead of herself. That is what a constitutional monarch does.

Trust is definitely a characteristic we should look for in a head of state. After all, this is the person who appoints our Governor General (who herself appears on the list), the person who holds ultimate executive authority in our government, the person in whose name laws are passed and enforced, and the person who raises above day-to-day divisive politics to represent all of us.

The survey also asked Canadians whom they would trust in particular situations. The Queen came in a resounding first when asked whom they trusted to keep an embarassing secret. Again, this should not be a surprise. If there is one person in the world prime ministers and others can consult and console in, it's Her Majesty.

The lesson I take from this survey is that Her Majesty The Queen, with age, experience, care, and compassion, continues to garner the respect - and trust! - of Canadians.

Now, how many republican politician presidents could match that? Not very many, I imagine. Not very many.

Until next time,
RF.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Happy Victoria Day!

While there are still a few hours left in the 2009 edition of the Victoria Day weekend, I thought I'd take some time to reflect on a very successful weekend from a Monarchist perspective.

Yes, while the usual suspects predictably called for an end to the monarchy, today most Canadians spent time celebrating the day in a variety of ways. No doubt, thousands of us will enjoy fireworks displays tonight - a Victoria Day tradition.

Yours truly wrote an op-ed piece for one of the community newspapers in my hometown of Hamilton. You can check it out here. I also had the opportunity to promote our cause on CityTV's CityOnline. Over 90% of the callers and messages to the live show were supportive of the monrchy. And, their phone poll netted a 4-to-1 result in favour the Monarchy. Not even close!


Kudos to everyone in the League who handled media calls this weekend. The exposure our cause has received is fantastic. The Toronto Star featured an article on the League's new University of Toronto Branch and the Calgary Herald interviewed one of our young members about his thoughts on the Crown.

But, perhaps the most exciting statement came from Her Majesty's representative in Canada, the Governor General. Her Excellency's touching media release talked about the importance of the Crown and paid homage to The Queen.

I am pleased to relaunch this blog and to share with you information about the Crown and the League. We are now on Facebook and Twitter. This blog, I hope, will complement these tools as yet another way to communicate with you.

Happy Victoria Day!

Robert.