Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Seal Meat and the Crown

I can't resist a quick comment on the controversy over the Governor General's participation in an Inuit Seal Feast (given in her honour.) The controversy has overshadowed the good work Mdme. Jean is doing this week -- meeting with the Inuit, advocating for a Northern University, and building understanding. Why Canada's viceroy hasn't gotten much international media attention for this is sad comment on the International Media's understanding of Canadian issues. It is sad that the American media has insulted the Governor General's Constitutional Role and the British media appears more concerned with what the EU thinks than the rights of an indigenous people within the Commonwealth.

Most Brits, Europeans, and Americans do not understand that those Inuit hunters are the Queen's subjects. Nor do they understand that the role of the Canadian Crown is quite different than the British Crown. And they are completely blind to the fact thatit does not matter what the Queen's former British Press Secretary thinks of the issue. He is neither Canadian, nor a spokesman for the Canadian Crown. If they want an authority on protocol of Canada's Crown, they should be contacting a Canadian source.

The Canadian Crown is not purely Ceremonial. It has full power to dismiss a government not acting in the interests of the Canadian people. It has full rights to dissallow legislation which violates rights of Canadians or violates the Constitution. The Governor General can also dismiss (fire) the Prime Minister.

The Canadian Crown is not only separate from The British Crown, it works quite differently. The British Crown buttresses a State Church and a class system. The Canadian Crown has evolved to protect religous and ethnic minorities from political interests and to protect the weak from the powerful. Among its most sacred trusts is ensuring that Indigenous peoples are protected from political interests. The Crown controls the Armed Forces.

As the Queen's stand-in, the Governor General protects the rights of all people from the excesses of political and economic power. (No matter what language, religion, ethnicity, economic state, or class they are in.) It is also her job to increase understanding between these groups.

The Crown is pledged to look out for the interests of the Queen's subjects -- not the sensibilities of European Politicians and Animal Welfare groups. Madame Jean's only obligation at the feast was to honour the people honouring her. She did so. And nearly 80% of Canadians support her actions.

The opinions of non-Canadians (even the Queen's British subjects) have no bearing on what is appropriate for the Canadian Crown.

But it may be a good idea for British politicians who claim loyalty to the Queen to get to know the issues and people of Canada. After all, by siding with Europeans against the Queen's Canadian subjects, they may be putting Her Majesty in an awkward position.

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