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.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Pat Mestern Review

Fergus,Ontario based author, Pat Mestern, has reviewed: Stars Appearing: The Galts Vision of Canada. The review appears in two publications: The Guelph Mercury and The Record

Quotes From Pat Mestern's Review:
"I've always been a fan of John Galt's novels and poetry, written more than 180 years ago. I'm referring to the same John Galt who founded Guelph and gave his name to Galt, now part of Cambridge.

"Alberta author Jane Harris focuses not only on John, but on his sons John Jr., Thomas and Alexander. Their contribution to Canada's early history, especially the development of southwestern Alberta and Lethbridge was extensive. In particular, the dedication to Canada by John Galt's youngest son, Sir Alexander Galt, a father of Confederation, was brought to life in an easy-to-read, well researched format."

Saturday, 16 May 2009

CBC Tars and Feathers Loyalists

A few minutes ago, Brent Bambury, host of CBC Radio's Go, made the dumbest statement I've heard in a long time. In a dubious attempt at humour, he smeared the United Empire Loyalists by claiming they arrived in Canada with all their goods and slaves in tow. Has he never heard of Black Loyalists?

Does he realize that most United Empire Loyalists were actually tradesmen and farmers, many of whom lost everything they owned? Does he realise Loyalists were branded as traitors, tarred and feathered, jailed, and hounded before they fled? Some never escaped the hangman.

Very few Loyalists were wealthy. And in 1793, Lord Simcoe, Governor of Upper Canada passed the Act Against Slavery,, making the colony the first place in the British Empire to pass legislation designed to end slavery. The act has been critiqued as too timid, but in 1793, Simcoe's measure was an heroic attempt at social reform that went against the advice of wealthy business types.

If Mr. Bambury was an American radio shock jock or pseudo-news comedy host, I'd wouldn't be surprised by his error. But I expect much much more from my taxpayer funded Public Broadcaster. Agree? Disagree?