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.