Three cheers for creeping republicanism in Canada .. one day it will turn us into a real country!

Jul 8th, 2011 | By | Category: Canadian Republic

Australian citizen Nicole Kidman is said to be one of those who have received invitations to meet Will and Catherine at the BAFTA “Brits to Watch” event “at the Belasco in downtown LA” this Saturday night.

FRIDAY, JULY 8, 2011, 11 AM PT. As reported by the Los Angeles Times: “Prince William and his wife, Catherine … will arrive at Los Angeles International Airport in the late afternoon, where they will be greeted by California Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife, Anne Gust Brown; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; and the British ambassador to the United States, Sir Nigel Sheinwald .”

The Los Angeles Times goes on: “Friday marks the first day of the first official visit to the United States by the duke and duchess … Also on their agenda for the weekend is a charity polo match in Santa Barbara, a black-tie dinner with Hollywood executives and upcoming British talent, a trip to a skid row Inner-city arts school, and a meet-and-greet with military families at a veterans job fair … The trip, palace officials have said, is to ‘support the interests of the United Kingdom through the prism of the royal couple’s interests.’”

Meanwhile, back in what some of us still choose to regard as merely the former first self-governing dominion of the British empire,  Dan Gardner at the Ottawa Citizen has opined on “Fighting the dangerous creep of republicanism.” The just completed far northern North American visit of the “young royals” has encouraged more than a few surviving Canadian monarchists like Mr. Gardner to celebrate Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new political dispensation against the lamentable kind of  “creeping republicanism” that “promotes ignorance of our history, heritage, and constitution.”

The lovely Jennifer Lopez is another Hollywood celebrity who will apparently be meeting the young royals on Saturday night at the Belasco.

Yet you don’t have to wade too far into Mr. Gardner’s diatribe to discover that, like so many of his fellow advocates of the British monarchy’s revived role in Mr. Harper’s new “conservative ethos for Canada,” he does not really understand “our history, heritage, and constitution” at all!

To start with, there is the longstanding inability of the inevitably anglocentric Canadian monarchist ethos to grasp the depths of the modern history of Canada that begins with the first Canadian multicultural age of the “French and Indians” in the 16th, 17th, and earlier 18th centuries.

This early modern Canada was last defended through resort to arms by Pontiac, War Chief of the Ottawa, in his “Conspiracy” of 1763. But it is a measure of its enduring tenacity that the descendants of the first people who called themselves Canadians survive so vigorously among the French-speaking majority in Quebec today – and that Part II of our present-day Constitution Act 1982 declares: “The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.”

Current and past professionals on “Dancing with the Stars,” Derek Hough and his sister Julianne. He is apparently another invited guest at Saturday night for Will and Catherine. One connection here may be that when Derek was 12 years old, his dancer parents “sent him to London to live and study with dance coaches, Corky and Shirley Ballas.”

Surprisingly enough, it is also all too true that, like so many of his Canadian monarchist colleagues, Dan Gardner does not really understand the subtle depths – and even the fundamental nature – of the 18th, 19th, and earlier 20th century British “history, heritage, and constitution” in Canada.

With a certain feigned exasperation he lectures:  “It is simply a fact that this nation is a constitutional monarchy whose head of state is Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada. Those who wish to change that should not deny it, distort it, paper it over, or cover it up.”

Yet like so many other surviving Canadian monarchists again, in words like this Mr. Gardner is himself just trying to deny, distort, paper over, and cover up a particular feature of the British-style or “Westminster” constitution that Canada undoubtedly does retain.

It seems harder to figure why Ginnifer Goodwin should be invited to Saturday night at the Belasco. She is “best known for her role as Margene Heffman on the HBO series Big Love” – about Mormon plural marriage. But she is certainly young, hot, and dresses well.

In fact, it is part of the genius of what is sometimes called the “unwritten” British constitution that it evolves informally, and without specific constitutional amendment, to take account of fresh developments in the society it serves.

What so many of the Canadian monarchists freshly inspired by Prime Minister Harper’s new dispensation seem to want to do in the summer of 2011 is just forget that the ongoing informal or unwritten Canadian constitutional evolution of the past half century or so ever actually happened. (And some even seem to want to pretend that the quite  “written” Constitution Act 1982 – with what has been called its essentially “republican” Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – has somehow also vanished into the new conservative ethos!)

As others among us see things, “creeping republicanism” is no more and no less than the underlying theme of Canadian history since the end of the First World War. The Conservative prime minister John Diefenbaker also tried to derail it in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It didn’t work then. And in the end it won’t work now either – no matter how many times Will and Catherine (whose ultimate duty, after all and reasonably enough, is to “support the interests of the United Kingdom through the prism” of their own interests) come to visit.

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