Remember when Mike Pearson said “I hope Canada will become a republic” ..

Apr 14th, 2010 | By | Category: In Brief
Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with Barack Obama April 12 at the US president's nuclear security summit in Washington. This photo, taken by Jason Young at  Reuters, “has sparked a raft of comedic suggested captions.” Our entry: “Are you a real country or not? Canada won’t get anywhere until it has its own elected head of state.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with Barack Obama April 12 at the US president's nuclear security summit in Washington. This photo, taken by Jason Young at Reuters, “has sparked a raft of comedic suggested captions.” Our entry: “Are you a real country or not? Canada won’t get anywhere until it has its own elected head of state.”

As the almost always interesting Chantal  Hébert is reporting today, Ottawa insiders are currently agog over: “the expulsion of ex-minister of state Helena Guergis from the benches of the government;” the unhappy fate of “Rémy Beauregard … late president of Rights and Democracy” who had some kind of trouble with “the government’s preferred pro-Israel line;” and the latest old news from “senior diplomat Richard Colvin … back in the nation’s capital … to testify in front of a military police commission looking into the Afghan detainee issue.”

All this is fascinating, no doubt. But back in the near east of the city with the heart of a loan shark, we are still wondering about the allegedly higher-minded issue of the long-term fate in store for the ancient office of Governor General of Canada. And one of our deepest Canadian political thinkers, Dr. Randall White (BA, MA, PhD) has just sent in his latest 2500-word essay on life at Rideau Hall after the excellent Michaelle Jean.

It is almost certainly too often said in this context, of course, that Canadians — even when they don’t any longer like the British monarchy which still hovers vaguely overhead in the true north, etc, etc — are just not comfortable with the idea of a republic. It is just not in their DNA, etc, etc. Yet right after we received Dr. White’s latest posting, his sometime acquaintance L. Frank Bunting also sent us a short note. He has apparently been reading (at last) the Second World Wartime diary of the late Canadian diplomat Charles Ritchie — bequeathed from the rationalized library of an aging Metis colleague. And Dr. Bunting points out this entry for London, England, 17June 1940 (just in the midst of the fall of France): “Mike Pearson says, ‘If this country [ie the UK, where both Mr. Ritchie and Mr. Pearson were posted at the time] makes peace I hope Canada will become a republic and that would be the end of this business of our duty to the Empire.” (The same Mike Pearson, in case you’ve forgotten, was also the later prime minister, who finally gave Canada its own independent maple leaf flag, on February 15, 1965.)

Members of Parliament celebrate inauguration of independent Canadian flag, at last, February 15, 1965.

In any case, if you are remotely interested in the fate of the office of Governor General of Canada, you are bound to be intrigued by Dr. White’s report, “Electing governor general is only option that finally makes sense.” CLICK HERE for the full document, or see the Canadian Republic category to the right of this page. It is also part of Dr. White’s current thesis, btw, that Prime Minister Harper has made a potentially quite constructive contribution to the question of the GG’s fate — even if he is not at all likely to recognize this himself (or share it with President Obama in the United States).

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  1. “It is just not in their DNA, etc, etc. Yet right after we received Dr. White’s latest posting, his sometime acquaintance L. Frank Bunting also sent us a short note. He has apparently been reading (at last) the Second World Wartime diary of the late Canadian diplomat Charles Ritchie — bequeathed from the rationalized library of an aging Metis colleague. And Dr. Bunting points out this entry for London, England, 17June 1940 (just in the midst of the fall of France): “Mike Pearson says, ‘If this country [ie the UK, where both Mr. Ritchie and Mr. Pearson were posted at the time] makes peace I hope Canada will become a republic and that would be the end of this business of our duty to the Empire.” (The same Mike Pearson, in case you’ve forgotten, was also the later prime minister, who finally gave Canada its own independent maple leaf flag, on February 15, 1965.”
    Are you sure that this is true?

  2. Absolutely rossubsli. Check out Charles Ritchie, The Siren Years, Laurentian Library edition, Macmillan of Canada: Toronto, 1977, p. 57. We don’t say anything on this website that we’re not sure is true — at least not without saying that we’re not sure! And Canada, as best we can make out, has considerably more of a “republican” tradition than many present-day monarchists think, or at least like to pretend.

  3. I feel that is definitely one of many much important information for me. Using this program .. Republic Day Essay happy examining your current article. Nevertheless ought to discourse about a few common difficulties, Your website style is great, the particular content articles is due to certainty excellent : N. Excellent activity, many thanks

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