Bob Hepburn at the Toronto Star is one of the good guys. A veteran reporter, an astute observer of the political scene and a solid thinker, Bob had an opinion column in the Star today about the end of the monarchy in Canada. It is an excellent opportunity to carry on the dialogue.
It was surprising last week that readers of this blog peaked at the highest point in several years. What was really surprising was that a large number of the new readers were accessing a column we wrote two years ago about Queen Victoria. You can find it through Google by searching for ‘Babel, the queen’s birthday.’ The conclusion of that entry was that fairy story time of kings and queens, princes and princesses is over. Canada needs to strike out boldly to create a new future. It is good to know that Bob agrees with this.
But it is not just the agreement that is needed. There is no point in one writer having a dialogue with himself. We need the rationale, the thoughts, the ideas, the hopes, the suggestions that each of us brings to the discussion. We need friendly commentaries, learned polemics, passionate concern and open discussion. The more who get involved, the better will be our conclusions. Let us have at it:
Bob’s column makes some good points about how out of date and out of touch the monarchy is in the 21st Century. He sees the royals as little more than a soap opera, ‘a Royal Coronation Street, if you like.’ He quibbles a bit too much though when he complains about Canadian women having to comply with the ridiculous custom of the curtsy, when being introduced to the Queen. There are many Canadian women who have met the Queen who would have stood on their heads and showed off their knickers to be introduced to her.
It is only after you have met some of the royals that you wonder what was so important about it.
Bob agrees with retired University of Toronto history professor, Michael Bliss, that we should be laying the groundwork for a dignified phasing out of the monarchy, the last relic of our colonialism. The only possible error in his recommendations might be that he could have the steps backwards.
Bob wants to start with a referendum. That is a wrong move. That is setting us up for failure and heartache. It is too easy to say ‘no’ when you do not know the alternatives.
And if you are unaware of some of the other glaring problems in how our country is governed, you have not been paying attention. This country is going to be 150 years old in five years and it is bloody well about time, Canadians had a say about how they are governed. We need to have a constitutional conference of people elected to that purpose.
The findings of a constitutional assembly can be the subject of a referendum.
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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