Friday, July 8, 2011

Canada at 150! Feel the Shame!

. Friday, July 8, 2011

From the Mandarins:

Canada's 150th-birthday bash in 2017 could highlight the fun and symbolic - such as a nationwide hockey tournament and a cross-country canoe pageant - but could also involve serious policy changes, such as lowering the voting age to 16 or instituting mandatory voting, newly obtained public documents show.

Ideas being floated to cele-brate the sesquicentennial by the federal government, provinces and territories also include a heavy emphasis on aboriginal culture, a trainload of artists criss-crossing the country, and even a "special edition" census, the documents from the Department of Canadian Heritage indicate.

From the Montreal Expo to canoe "pageants" in just fifty years. Somewhere the Fathers of Confederation are appalled. What small men we must appear to them, those tamers of a continent. From linking the country with railroads, telegraphs and microwave transmitters we have sunk to playing at portage. When the Mandarins are not being trivial, however, they revert to outright condescension.

Mandatory voting? Let us celebrate one of the freest nations in the world by curbing the freedom of the citizen! Extending the vote to 16 year-olds? Who are these guys cribbing their ideas from? The local high school speech night? The special edition census is a nice touch. Keeping with the mandatory theme of Canada at 150, perhaps we can have extra-long prison sentences for non-filers. Freedom is someone else's nationality.

The lack of any real ideas on how to celebrate this country can be traced to cultural relativism. Note the "heavy" emphasis on celebrating aboriginal culture. Whatever the intrinsic merits of aboriginal culture, or the injustices committed against the aboriginal tribes, it is at best a laughably fiction to think Canada's success as a modern country has anything to do with aboriginal culture.

No one, at least outside of a university lecture hall, believes that Canada is Canada because of the cultures of semi-nomadic tribes, many of whose descendants still live upon the public fisc. To pretend otherwise requires a systematic evasion of Canada's actual history. Not the long guilt inducing propaganda currently taught. Canada is Canada because of a certain set of values. Those values came overwhelming from one part of one continent.

One of the reasons for the spectacular success of Expo 67, a broken clock moment for government if there ever was one, was its focus on technological and scientific progress. The future seemed limitless to the people of 1967, especially to the people of this country who emerged from depression and war to take their place as a leading power. Not a great power, but a nation of substance and opportunity. Their world was open to men with the knowledge, the skill and the vision to exploit it. The Canada of 1967 was filled with such men.

None of these values are fashionable now. Science is either deprecated or twisted into a tool to undermine industrial civilization. The value of human life is downgraded; we are just one species among many. Progress is an illusion devised by Madison Avenue. What sense of life emerges from the Canada of today? From men who doubt the power of their minds to conquer the world? From a nation whose people have been taught from childhood to feel ashamed of being human.

The bold confidence of Expo 67 came from a uniquely western view of the world. Until we recover the heroism of that world we will continue with such insipid attempts at "celebrating" Canada. There is something too eloquent about the idea of canoe "pageants." For centuries the pre-European inhabitants of this continent crossed this continent with these primitive craft. Then in the historical equivalent of a blink of an eye railroads, highways and airliners spread across the continent. The wonder is perhaps not that these amazing things were done. It is that there are minds still so primitive as to fail grasp what made them possible. Or perhaps spirits so meek, or wicked, as to see them as an evil to be apologized for.


Stephen Clay McGehee said...

It is sad to see yet another Western country stepping off the cliff by turning their back on the culture and heritage that made it great. The primary goal of any monarchy should be to preserve the culture and the character of the nation - not to be "inclusive" and welcoming of others who would dilute and destroy the culture. If not that, then for what purpose do they exist other than to provide fodder for the gossip magazines and interesting photos for tourists?

The idea of lowering the voting age or making voting mandatory is laughably absurd. America's decline closely matches the expansion of suffrage from those who truly had a stake in the outcome, to include those whose sole voting criteria was "what's in it for me?". The problem is not a lack of voter participation - it is a problem of too many people voting.

Stephen Clay McGehee

Anonymous said...

It's funny you should bring up the voting age and the concept of mandatory voting now; it will serve as a perfect illustration of the de-elitification of the electorate that I will be lamenting in Royalist Ramblings #8.

Krystina said...

Hear, hear! Excellent post, the best one I've read yet on the particular subjects broached above.

I wonder if perhaps the Opening Ceremonies at the 2010 Winter Games was a glance into how our 150th birthday shall be celebrated. If so, I shudder to think of it. Perish the thought, indeed!

Anonymous said...

Afraid I disagree with your views on mandatory voting. Frankly, we need. The Australians have it and it works fine. As for the voting age, we young people need the extra help. Already all the money goes into health care for old people instead of education.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

On mandatory voting:

Your argument that "the Australians have it and it works fine" is spurious. One example of a country that uses a system and has not yet entirely collapsed is hardly proof or even much evidence that the system is good. And truly, think about it for a moment. What possible good can come of forcing people who are otherwise too apathetic to vote to do so? Certainly they will not be well-informed and will not make good decisions, so why force them to influence policy?

On voting age:

Your comment is the perfect illustration of why unchecked democracy is a bad idea. You plan to vote, not based on some idealistic notions of what's best for the nation, but based on ideas of class warfare, with the goal of getting the government to coerce others into subsidizing you. Meanwhile, you complain that those in a different class have essentially done the same thing.

But I digress. You are part of a demographic that generally does not show excellent judgment(and in fairness, I'm part of it too), and so even if you are an exception, granting the vote to that demographic is a bad idea. The ballot is not a natural right, and it should be granted only to those who are likely to use it well.


Sam Starrett
The Rambling Royalist

Kevin McCrea said...

Mandatory voting is a terrible idea. People who can't be bothered to vote aren't suddenly going to take an interest in doing so because the law says they must. Consequently, we'll end up with our leaders being chosen by people who don't know who stands for what and really don't care to find out. Go to the polling station, write any name on the ballot, and get it over with. If we're dumb enough to accept that, then we'll deserve the governments we'll get.

Lowering the voting age to 16 is also a bad idea. It's a proven fact that the vast majority of humans don't fully develop psychologically until they're in their early 20s. The ability to reconcile actions and consequences comes when you've been forced to take that responsibility, which for the most part means when you've been independently managing your own life, with no lifeguard there anymore, and today, the average for that happening is 25, not 16.

Anonymous, I hope you remember that myopic comment when you're an old person who needs healthcare. Will you be willing to suck it up and take one for the team? Buy your own medication with your old age pension pennies so that a young student can get an education? The old people you're wantonly dismissing are the ones who pulled this country through the Great Depression, who stormed Juno Beach, and who rebuilt Canada after the war. They've paid their dues, we owe it to them to see to their care and comfort, knowing that every single one of us will be in that same spot some day.

Kevin McCrea said...

Sir, you bring up a very valid point. There is a real lack of ideas on how to celebrate Canada's sesquicentennial anniversary. Arguably, we've never really had our own cultural identity - it's always been tied to somewhere else. And despite the attempts of Canadian nationalists like Trudeau, we've never been able to form our own cultural identity. For most of our history, most of us saw ourselves as British. Some of us still do. If there were a such thing as a distinctly 'Canadian' cultural identity, I might be inclined to accept it, but there really isn't, so I consider myself British of the Anglo-Irish category. Most Canadians would probably do the same if it weren't for the fact that we've been spoon fed the Pablum of colonialism is bad and multiculturalism is good since we were schoolchildren.

Having removed the vestiges of our previous identity without replacing them with anything else that we can call our own, it shouldn't be a surprise that Canadian Heritage is flipping aimlessly through a heap of perfectly meaningless ideas to celebrate our 150th anniversary. Thus, the people who designed and built the Avro Arrow are now reduced to hockey and canoes, both of which could be done be the average Scout troop.

Graeme said...

I do think that mandatory voting or lowering the voting age are not particularly great ideas. Either way, we do need to have an open discussion on the matter before anything happens.

Now, I can see the point that Anonymous is trying to make about getting young people to vote. Currently, youth do not vote in large numbers (for a variety of reasons). The elderly do, however. As a result, politicians tends to favour policies that will garner them votes (i.e. from the elderly).

This has meant that areas that tend to affect younger people (education, universities, summer employment) are often ignored by the government. This will hurt the future of our country. We already complain about how the education system has failed younger generations regarding the monarchy. A poorly educated youth (which, from my experience is the way we are going) is going to hurt everyone in the long run.

So yes, while we must have health care and support services for the elderly, we must also prepare the youth of this country to be able to pick up the tab. Health care costs are going through the roof and in order to pay for it, we need to provide the youth with an opportunity to build prosperous careers (if only to tax us later, haha)

Perhaps Anonymous is a zealous youth, but I think he/she has a point when bringing up the issue of encouraging youth involvement. I don't know if lowering the voting age will solve the problem, but something needs to be done.

Anonymous said...

How come a monarchist blog does not notice the irony that "the great northern realm of Queen Elisabeth, defender of the faith" is a de facto protectorate of a republic with a tradition of secularism and liberty?

How many tanks does Canada have, by the way? A "great" Western power it is, indeed :) Perhaps, the Queen of Canada should not depend on a republic to foot the bill for the security of her realm and its people.

Npinkpanther said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Npinkpanther said...

Stephen, remember what Edward I proclaimed in the writ of summons for the Model Parliament, "what touches all, should be approved of by all, and it is also clear that common dangers should be met by measures agreed upon in common."

But really, the down-to-earth common sense of the common people is the only thing saving us from a bourgeois oligarchy (which, at least at this point in time, is a bad thing). Had we in Australia not had universal suffrage in 1999, the republic referendum would very likely have succeeded, as it was demonstrated that inner-city middle class types mostly voted in favour of the republic, while the poorest areas and the outback Aboriginal communities almost uniformly voted against the republic. Most of the apathetic voters who would have stayed away on voting day if they had the choice to actually voted against changing the status quo – they usually do.

In Britain a gradual backlash against the Labour Party by its working class core and its heartlands is showing how removed the wealthy party elites are from their core voters. The Labour Party are enthusiastic about multiculturalism and mass immigration from Muslim and third world countries, while their working class voters are becoming extremely frustrated that their homes are being changed beyond recognition by the "diversity" and "cultural enrichment" Labour is so keen on.

The situation is really getting to such a ridiculous point that I’d actually say Parliament is no longer adequate as the sole means of making laws and deciding policies (it really hasn’t been for a long time). The Swiss have the right idea, Citizen Initiated Referenda that could challenge existing laws or propose to introduce new ones – they’ve already used it to ban minarets and approve deportation of criminal foreigners.

Leacock said...

I do not really think that political apathy amongst teenagers is necessarily a negative thing. Personally I do not think that raising the voting age back to 21 would hurt, youths tend to have different priorities and so often do not take much of an interest in politics (there are of course many exceptions, myself having been one of them). If people in their 20's are apathetic and not voting then there definitley is a problem that should be rectified but at least in my experience many teenagers do not even know that Canada has a prime minister rather than a president so does one really want them to be deciding who is leading the nation?

LAW Wells said...

Certainly, there are arguments in favour of both. Npinkpanther rightly points out that, but for universal suffrage, Australia would be a Commonwealth Republic rather than a Commonwealth Realm. However, voting in a referendum is something that could be universal (coming with citizenship) and compulsory, regardless of what options one chose for parliamentary elections.

Kevin McCrea said...

Canada relied on the US to foot the defence bill when the Liberals - the Canadian Nationalist Party in Everything But Name - were in power. Once the Tories came into power, they began taking responsibility for our defence, and our neighbours to the South noticed. Believe me, I've worked with them. More than a few times. Including a rendition of God Save the Queen while training in Virginia.

No matter how you argue it, I can't see anything good coming from compulsory voting. In the best case scenario, if they're apathetic, they vote to retain the status quo, which has been disastrous for Quebec. For the past 40 years, we've had two different versions of the same party because nobody cares enough to vote any other way. By making suffrage compulsory, the problem would only be amplified. The majority of people who don't vote are under 25, and that's the demographic niche where separatism, socialism and liberalism are the strongest. So by forcing them to vote, we would likely just be amplifying the problems that have made this province an economic and social disaster in the first place. If we'd made suffrage mandatory in 1995, there's a good chance I'd be living in a socialist republic where English was outlawed right now.

The fact is that most young people aren't interested in politics because they're not at a point in life where it really affects them yet. Some have the foresight to realize that one day, it will, but most don't. They don't, generally speaking, have a lot of responsibility resting on their shoulders, so their main pre-occupations are what affects them or touches their values the most. Pay for my education. Build roads in Africa.

It can be and has been argued that education is an investment in the future, but in practice, it's an investment in someone else's future. Where the government pays universally for higher education, the job market for those with diplomas is more competitive, because everybody has one. So typically, graduates migrate to where they'll have a better chance of getting work in their field, which is to say, where they'll work and pay taxes to another government. We invest, they collect. That's why, generally speaking, governments don't aim for that particular segment of society. Giving them what they want now creates a situation that generally induces them to leave later holding a degree for which the rest of the voters will have paid. Like it or not, the political future of this country is majoritarily charted by those who foot the bill. Which is fine by me.

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HMY Britannia: Let's lay the keel for a new royal yacht
For Queen, Country and Low Pay: PM pledges to do better
Maple Leaf republic? Roger Kimball's sleight of hand (since corrected!)
Queen's Birthday: New Zealand unveils new Vice-Regal Standard
Prince Charming: Quebec author calls Canadian G-G a "negro queen"
The Senior Service: Sub-Lieutenant Wales to take on Pirates of the Caribbean
Crown of Disenchantment: What does it require to withhold royal assent?
Colonial Mentality: Key republican thinks Victoria Cross is a colonial relic
The Red Baron: Billy Bishop, not Mannock, was the British Empire's top ace
Which Scots conservatism: Unionist or Nationalist?
Loyal Subject: After all she has done, we owe the Queen our oath
Victoria Day – Fête de la Reine: Official B'day of the Queen of Canada
Renaming the Victoria Day Weekend: Let's get rid of Heritage Day Bob
Pro Valore: Canada mints its own Victoria Cross in time for Victoria Day
State Visit to Turkey: Mustafa Akyol says God Save the Queen, Indeed
Norn Iron Unites: What issue is uniting all parties of Northern Ireland?
Extreme Loyalist: Michael Stone attempted to slit the throats of Adams and McGuinness because he just "can't handle" republicans being in government.
Canada's Vice-Regal dubbed an elegant mix between Lady Di and Nelson Mandela
Queen of Australia: Support for Australian republic hits new low
A Heroes Welcome: The Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo, 8-10 May 2008
Fat, Vile and Impudent: Alan Fotheringham is back on the bottle
The Devine Right of Bling: Our Royals have become hereditary celebrities
Battle of the Atlantic: Canadians remember the longest battle of WW2
Old Etonian Toff: Boris Johnson installed as Tory Mayor of London
Britain needs a Patron Saint: Cry God for Harry, Britain and St. Aiden?
Anglos in Mont-Royal: Rooting for the Montreal Canadiens
Daniel Hannan: Borders of the Anglosphere and the British Empire was a mistake
Australia 2020: One Big Fat Republican Con Job
Bye bye Tommy: O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy go away"
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Carpetbaggers Down Under: Kevin 'Mugabe' Rudd wins 98.5% support for republic
Kipling: The Jeremiah of Empire and the Poet Laureate of Civilisation
Duke of Edinburgh: Behind the gaffes is a man of real sincerity
Lord Rutherford: The Father of the Atom lives on in great great grandson
Queen of Australia: Royalty Protects us from Tyranny, David Barnett
Long Live the Broadsheet! Norumbega, more traditionalist than the Pope.
A Tale of Two Countries: Soldiers of Britain and Canada serve the same Queen but...
Loyal Subject: Polishing the Royal Crown, Matt Bondy & Brendon Bedford
Devoted to the End: Obituary of Sir Phillip Bridges
The Monarchist does not recognize the Republic of Kosova
Loyal Subject: MPs Ruse Defeated; God Save the Queen!
St. Paddy's Day: Edmund Burke, the greatest Irishman who ever lived
Not Amused: The Bunkum of Timothy Garton Ash
Hero Harry: Rave Reviews across the Commonwealth
Patriot Prince: Prince Harry fought for us all, Charles Moore
William F. Buckley, RIP: He had a Tory gratitude for the pleasures of life
Their Lordships' Duty: The House of Lords can influence the Lisbon Treaty debate
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Our Greatest Monarch: Paul Johnson says Henry V was our greatest monarch
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Duke of York: The Royals are not "stuffed dummies". They should have their say
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty
Honouring Sir Edmund Hillary
The Queen versus an E.U. President
Going Solo: Prince William earns his Wings
James C. Bennett: The Third Anglosphere Century
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Future Peer: The life and times of Lady Victoria Beckham
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty


New York Times: Ever Backwards into the Royal Future
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Christopher Hitchens: An Anglosphere Future
Andrew Cusack: Republicanism is a traitor's game
Courageous Patrician: Rt Hon Ian Douglas Smith (1919-2007)
The Last Rhodesian: What began with Rhodes and ended with Ian?
Gentleman Journalist: The Lord Baron W.F. Deedes, 1913-2007
Not Amused: Blair's sinister campaign to undermine the Queen
Loyal Subject: Queen Elizabeth: A stranger in her own country
Reverence Deference: Bowing and Scraping Back in Tradition
Rex Murphy: Kennedy, Churchill, Lincoln - The rousing bon mot is no more
Gerald Warner: Don't shed a tear for Diana cult in its death throes
The End of Grandeur: Rich, chincy Canada puts Strathmore on the blocks
Confessions of a Republican Leftie: "The Queen charmed the pants off me"
The King's Own Calgary Regiment: Cpl. Nathan Hornburg is laid to rest
The Royal Gurkha Rifles: Prince William grieves the death of Major Roberts
Queensland Mounted Rifles: Trooper David Pearce, 41, killed in Afghanistan
The Order of Canada: 100 investitures later, Canada's highest honour turns 40
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