Monday, 15 March 2010

Monarchy a major issue? Says who?

As a casual fan of CBC's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon, I was a bit surprised when I came across a new segment on their programme called Your Poll.  The idea is kind of cool and very 21st century.  Basically, you the viewer submits a question via Email and it may be selected to be a part of an actual survey conducted by EKOS Research exclusively for CBC.

It was the tagline to help promote the segment that caught me off guard: From the monarchy to prorogation, from climate change to the economy, Canadians have many opinions about the major issues of the day. We want to hear yours.

My immediate reaction was since when did the monarchy become a major issue for Canadians?  Sure, climate change and the economy are always high on Canadians' minds.  And, yes it does feel like prorogation has joined hockey as a new Canadian winter tradition.  But seriously, are Canadians that concerned with the monarchy to make it an apparent "major" issue?

I suspect it is just some republican - otherwise a nice guy or gal, I'm sure - working at the CBC - drawing a salary paid by you and me, remember - who simply wants to push their anti-monarchy agenda.  I mean, really, I can think of a dozen or more other topics that would be considered "major" issues before the monarchy and I bet you can, too.

The bottom line is that despite what the CBC says, Canadians are NOT interested in debating the monarchy.  The monarchy doesn't even register on the electorate's mind during election campaigns.  Canadians are much more interested in debating issues that affect their daily lives like healthcare and education or issues like terrorism and foreign policy. 

That the monarchy is a non-issue in Canada is evidenced by the mere fact that none of the major political parties in Canada has a pro-republican policy.  They know that any monarchy-republic debate is not going to win them an election.  If anything, it would only cost them votes.  Why?  Because the majority of Canadians are monarchists and the rest of us have more important matters to consider.

To quote former Governor General Ed Shreyer:  "On a list of 100 things that need fixing, the monarchy ranks 101st."

Until next time,
The D.C.

Monday, 8 March 2010

The Queen, a role model for women everywhere

Today marks both Commonwealth Day and International Women's Day. That got me thinking about what I could possibly blog about to somehow tie together these two symbolically important dates. Then, I recalled something Sheila Copps said when she addressed our Accession Day luncheon last month.

The former Minister of Canadian Heritage, who gave an enthusiastic and passionate speech about the monarchy, told of her deep admiration and respect for the Royal Family and for The Queen in particular. Alluding to Her Majesty's hard work and tireless dedication to service, Sheila called The Queen "a role model" for women - and men - everywhere...and someone who all women should aspire to be like.

On this day, when the peoples of the world celebrate International Women's Day and when almost a billion of the world's citizens celebrate Commonwealth Day, I would like to especially pay homage to one of world's greatest women, the Head of the Commonwealth Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Her Majesty has served her peoples with grace and dignity for almost 60 years. The world is a better place - kinder, gentler, more peaceful, and less divided - because of our Queen. And for that I say thank-you, Ma'am.

Until next time,

Monday, 1 March 2010

Canada's Next Governor General - an excellent opportunity.

It's hard to believe that it's been almost five years since MichaĆ«lle Jean was appointed the 27th Governor General of Canada.  And, while there have certainly been some bumps along the road I think most Canadians will look back at Mme Jean's "term" as vice-regal with mostly positive memories.  But, as they say all good things must come to an end.  And, so the search is on to find Mme Jean's successor.

To get in the mood, the League has launched a new Facebook page called Canada's Next Governor General to encourage Canadians to offer their own input as to who they believe should be The Queen's next representative.  If you haven't done so already, please consider becoming a "fan" of this new FB page and also invite your friends to do the same.  You can also vote in an online FB poll - just for fun, of course - with over 50 imaginative choices for GG.

The idea behind Canada's Next Governor General is not only to allow you to make your own opinions known, but to challenge Canadians to learn more about the role of the Governor General.  And, I think that's where the real opportunity lies.

In the aftermath of two controversial prorogation requests by the Prime Minister - where the Governor General's constitutional powers were nicely illustrated - the time is right to step up our education efforts and explain to Canadians how our constitutional monarchy functions.

Queen to personally appoint the next Governor General?

There have been suggestions recently that The Queen herself may preside over the swearing in of her next Governor General while she is here in Canada this summer.  While, this is highly unlikely there is a possibility that The Queen could appoint the next the Governor General in person - like she did in August 1959 for Georges Vanier.  Coincidently, Vanier was appointed at Government House in Halifax.  Vanier was sworn in the following month.  The Queen will be in Halifax for centennial celebrations of the Canadian navy.  Perhaps, history is ready to repeat itself?

I believe having The Queen personally appoint her representative effectively accomplishes two key things.  First, it drives home the fact that is The Queen (not the Prime Minister) who appoints the Governor General.  Second, it illustrates that The Queen is the head of state and that she is appointing her representative.  Both of these, in my opinion, help strengthen the Crown and the office of the Governor General.

Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.