Friday, May 15, 2009


. Friday, May 15, 2009

Queen's Park VR Close The Republican Jacobins at work:

Victoria Day is the starkest reminder that we're still linked to the British monarchy. As a first step toward ending all ties to the monarchy, this outdated vestige of our colonial days should be renamed.

When I suggested last year that we get rid of Victoria Day and replace it with something that more accurately reflects Canada, I was swamped with letters and emails.

One columnist accused me and others who want to change the holiday name of "insolence" and of being "ignorant" and "ill-mannered."

Even the Star's editorial board disagreed with me, saying in a Victoria Day editorial, "on too few occasions do we celebrate our history. Today is one of them"

Actually, replacing the name Victoria Day with a name that better reflects Canadian history could result in raising awareness of our history much better than by honouring a foreign queen who died 108 years ago and never visited here.

Huh? Queen Victoria isn't part of Canadian history? Is Sir John A Macdonald part of Canadian history? When the British North America Act was passed, John A was presented to Her Majesty. As Donald Creighton relates in his epic two volume biography, this was our first Prime Minister's statement to Queen Victoria:

"We have desired in this measure to declare in the most solemn and emphatic manner our resolve to be under the Soveriegnty of Your Majesty and your family for ever."

Creighton analyzed the comment thusly:

"It was only a sentence; but if he had been asked to state the political purpose of his life in a single sentence he could hardly have done better."

Had someone suggested to Sir John A that they replace Victoria Day with, say, Sir John A Day, he would have been apalled at the immodesty.

Most Commonwealth countries dropped their ties to the monarchy long ago without creating constitutional or political chaos...

Well yes, but most of those countries are basketcases. The surest sign of stability in a Commonwealth country is having the Queen on the money and the Queen's ministers in charge. The Queen does not rule she reigns. For those who live under nations that recognize her as Head of State, the maintenance of the monarchy is a pact with tradition. Tradition eludes the Jacobin. The author imagines that because something is old, and especially old and British, it is a relic of times past. Nations, no less than people, are not invented overnight. In continuing to maintain the monarchy the 16 nations over which Her Majesty reigns have affirmed their allegiance to what the British Empire represented.

For all its sins, which in the sweep of history were common place enough, it stood for liberty and the rule of law. That psychological continuity is essential. With the coming of independence not everything had changed. The wigs, the black robes, the formal teas and royal visits; links with the past. The objection here, one senses, is not to the monarchy itself but to the British link.

Tradition acts as a check on the pretensions of the modern age. While change and innovation is essential in science, technology and business, in government and politics it is to be regarded warily. The state is a blunt instrument, easily destructive in its efforts. Bound down by history and law, it can become reasonable and almost humane. Most Canadian republicans are statists and collectivists. Since the 1960s they have dreamed, and to a large measure succeed, in reinventing Canada in their own image. The British link and the Crown are a reminder of what came before. When Ezra Levant, the publisher of the Western Standard magazine, was hauled before the falsely labeled Human Rights Commission of Alberta, he instinctively reached back to Magna Carta. His rights, our rights, were not invented in the late afternoon of Canadian history, a gift from Pierre Trudeau. They were the culmination of a thousand years of legal and constitutional evolution. Not something to be shrugged off for today's fashion. Attacking the monarchy is often a back door to attacking our tradition of freedom in Canada. We resist assaults on our memory as we do on our liberty.


Gladstone said...

Hear hear! Well said!

Anonymous said...

Hear hear! It is no coincidence that the world ran more smoothly when it was influenced by the British Isles.

MadMonarchist said...

I shake my head when reading words from the likes of this author. I pity him as I would a hopeless imbecile. They can abolish the monarchy, they can tear down the statues of the monarchs, they can rename Victoria Day but they will never be able to change history, they will never be able to erase the fact that Canada was a colony, that Canada came into being because of French, British and American loyalist colonists and that it was within the British Empire that Canada grew into a great, independent nation. These people want to destroy history, but they cannot and will never be happy or satisfied.

Sir Francis said...

Tradition acts as a check on the pretensions of the modern age.

...well, tradition can so act. Sadly, it now rarely does.

It did not check the pretentious, arbitrary (and cowardly) quasi-constitutional proroguing of Parliament by a feckless and frightened prime minister, just as, long ago, it could not check Mackenzie King's desire to use an unscrupulous exploitation of a fraudulently conceived "constitutional crisis" to destroy the career of a man infinitely finer than he.

The older I get, the more Jacobite I become. I think I would prefer the Crown to reign and rule...

James said...

Hepburn's article was essentially a re-hash of what he submitted at this time last year; same old revisionism and anti-British pap shrouded in Canadiana patriotism. There really is more than a tinge of Bolshevism to it all, not to mention the arrogance of presuming to be oh so much more englightened than the rest of us knuckle dragging boors mired as we all are in the dingy, cobwebby past. He really is to be pittied, along with every individual who bought his steaming laod of tripe.

Sir Francis said...


Calling it "tripe" is too kind. Tripe is, at least, edible. That article is proudly inedible.

And that “tinge of Bolshevism” you sense is actually just a huge dollop of republicanism—unsurprisingly, given who our neighbours are.

Aeneas the Younger said...

Sir Francis is right. As long we ape the Americans the their republicans ways and mores, we preclude ourselves from being the Canadians we were meant to be.

James said...

And yet, anti-Americanism is part of the Liberal dogma. How do they reconcile this with the fact that they're preaching for Canada to become more like the US? They have the common sense, at least, to know we'll never completely imitate the US system. But, really, the head of a People's Multicultural Republic of Canada would just be a weak immitation of the US head of state, wrapped in a maple leaf flag in order to avoid cofusing him with some consular bureaucrat.

James said...

Of course, I assume Mr. Hepburn to be a card carrying member of either the Liberal or New Democratic Parties, going by his parroting of their neo-Canadian tenets.

Sir Francis said...

And yet, anti-Americanism is part of the Liberal dogma. Bah. Only rhetorically, very infrequently, and not nearly as passionately as media spin would have you believe. John Manley, Michael Ignatieff--anti-American? Please. Ignatieff used to think he was an American. He makes Harper look like Robert Borden.

No. In practical, political and cultural terms, Canadian Liberalism has been the most insidious, corrosive and relentless anti-British, anti-BNA, and anti-Commonwealth agent in the country. The immediate post-war King/St. Laurent/Howe/Pearson axis, alone, did more damage to us than an army of fellow travelling Manifest-Destiny jihadis could ever have hoped to do. It's a fine thing that Diefenbaker was able to take them down; it's just so sad that it's been all downhill from there.

Gladstone said...

I don't much care for St. Laurent or Howe, but Lester Pearson was a great man. He introduced universal health care, student loans, the Canada Pension Plan, the Order of Canada, and more or less created the Canadian peacekeeping tradition. He was a great man. Perhaps he did not embrace Canada's British character as wholly as he could have, but he was a great man. And Diefenbaker... Diefenbaker cancelled the Avro Arrow. Coming from an Air Force family, I can never forgive him for that.

In any case, today Canada stands between a rock and a hard place when it comes to honouring the traditions left to us by the Empire and Commonwealth. The Liberals and NDP are no friends of tradition, this true, the Bloc seek to split our in two, and Stephen Harper? He would likely fellate the likes of George Bush or Richard Cheney if given the chance. As I see it, a choice of evils. I'd personally choose the Liberals though, due to my Left-leaning tendencies, but I do wish they had a different leader and a more reverent attitude to our British history and culture.

Sir Francis said...

I'm not sure I would call Pearson "great", though he is easily underestimated. For one thing, I find it hard to forgive him for the Forces' unification, which I think was a disaster.

One thing is clear, though: Pearson's considerable accomplishments--conjured by two minority ministries that faced an extremely hostile Opposition--must be considered when we put Stephen Harper's two hapless ministries (which faced an extremely weak and pliable Opposition) in their proper perspective.

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Prince Edward on Prince Edward Island: Troop's link to monarchy important
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN: Unveils the UK Armed Forces Memorial
Great Britain: "A rotten borough with a banana monarchy" - by Europhile
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Remembering 'Smithy': An obituary tour de force by Andrew Cusack here, here and here.
NOT AMUSED: Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Quebec not invited to Quebec's tercentenary