Posts Tagged ‘Royalty’

The President who would be King.

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

If U. S. President Donald Trump could just live up to his tweets, he would be more interesting—and maybe deadly. Since winning the American presidency, he has been creating a cottage industry among writers trying to understand him. He makes the understanding more difficult, because he himself has no idea how to handle his job.

The truth seems to be that Trump would rather be king.

His spare time role as an insomniac allows him to use his thumbs to type his royal proclamations. He twits about what he would like to do. When he can type “off with their head” he is happiest. His staff ignore him. When he tells us that he is going to war, the generals have a chuckle.

The twits Trump tweets are more for his followers than the nation. They please the uncouth and uninformed and stun the news media. And nobody seems to take them seriously.

Not that he has not noticed. He has been complaining lately about being ignored. He does not like it. He wants the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party and not waste its time on Russia and the help that country might have given his campaign. He seems to have a disconnect in his mind that his loyal friend Jeff Sessions is Attorney General and the FBI reports to him. We will probably see the “Off with his head” twit first because Trump does have the power to fire Sessions.

The Trump Presidency will be an unusual bump in the history of the United States of America. He moves his royal entourage from castle to castle up and down the U.S. East Coast at whim. He needs a bigger plane for his foreign forays. He wants to take his armies with him. Those foreigners would have to listen to him then.

It is getting a bit dicey for Trump when he interferes in the American judicial system. It is probably alright in the case of the sick man who ran people down in New York as he is unlikely to ever be released from whatever type of institution in which he needs to be incarcerated. It was the judge in an army deserter’s case who cited Trump’s interference for suggesting the soldier be shot. The judge let the guy off with a discharge from the army.

Maybe he might be less bellicose if everyone shouted, “Hail Donald!”?

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Can a prince quit being a prince?

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

Wearing a bowler hat and a trench coat, the Windsor’s Prince Philip walked off into the sunset recently.  You would suppose that scene should be followed by the words “Cut” and “Print” but is that how it happens? He might be 96 and well past his prime but is that how you do it?

Maybe Philip wants to open a seniors’ royal old-age home. If he is not willing to do his duties cutting ribbons at supermarket openings, does he have to move out of the royal’s palaces? Or does his 91-year old wife continue to support him? After all, she has been sitting on the Throne of Westminster for 65 years now and you would think the royal bum would be a bit sore.

And that means that Charles, Prince of Wales, at 68, is already a senior citizen. Is Philip setting an example for him? If Philip can step away from his royal duties, cannot Charles join him? It solves the problem of all those monarchists who want Bill and Kate and their cute kids to take over Buckingham Palace.

If they had a Commonwealth wide vote on it, Bill and Kate would win hands down. It is a pity that the monarchy does not work that way.

But then if a monarchy worked the way their subjects wanted it to, then it would not be a real monarchy, would it?

And frankly, I believe that modern democracy and monarchy are incompatible concepts. In Canada, the monarchy is a silly anachronism, left to fester by politicians afraid for themselves if the citizens ever demanded a proper constitution.

Canada is one of the few countries in the world wherein the citizens have had so little say in how their country is governed. From the time when the United Empire Loyalists fled north from the American Revolution, we have been pandering to the British monarchy.

It is interesting to append that with the thought that the one time we had a say on our constitution was on Conservative Prime Minister Mulroney’s foolish Charlottetown Accord that was supported by the Liberal Opposition. Canadians said “No.”

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Queen advises: “Take a deep breath.”

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

We can all buy into that advice. It was directed mainly to Great Britain in Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message to the Commonwealth. It was obviously related to the surprise Brexit vote by Britain earlier in 2016. It is also excellent advice for the rest of the world judging by the recent antics of the American President Elect.

And please bear in mind that this writer is no monarchist. We consider the fact of Canada having a monarch to be archaic, outmoded, restraining and sending a wrong message about Canada to the rest of the world. And that is just part of the problem. While the Queen is a nice lady and takes her job seriously is no reason for Canadians to continue to go along with such an anachronistic and foolish fable.

And for Justin Trudeau to continue the fiction is an insult to Canadians that goes back to the speeches of Sir Wilfrid Laurier in support of the monarchy.

We can no longer band-aid the problems we have with a Senate that does not work for us. We have to have bipartisan appointments to the Supreme Court, not elitist appointments. Some people want to change how we vote but before that happens, we need to decide what positions we are voting for and how the government needs to be structured in the 21st Century. We do not live in the past and we do not need a system of government that was a best guess of the British Parliament at how we should run our country 150 years ago.

Canada needs to take action to create a democratically elected constitutional assembly that can study these questions with open minds and then come back to the people with a plan to bring our country into the present. And the people can then have their say.

Canada is our country. We build it bigger, stronger and more into the kind of country we want it to be every day with our labor, our intellect, our needs and our wishes. We should always remember that our representatives in Ottawa report to us. We elect them and we can elect those to replace them. Never underestimate the power of the people. And if that thought should amuse you, you should pay closer attention to what happened in Great Britain and the U.S.A. in the past year.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

An appropriate salute to Queen Victoria.

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

The following is a repeat of our 2013 salute to Queen Victoria. Nothing has changed. Enjoy your long weekend.

Happy birthday Your Majesty! As children in Ontario, we used to set off fireworks to celebrate your birthday. It was a joyous occasion. It was wonderful to know that the sun never set on your empire. We were all British subjects. You were the image of our strength. You were a moral compass. We all got passing grades in our loyalty.

But times have changed lady! You have been dead for some 113 years. The children that you spawned to repopulate the palaces of Europe are long gone. Your great-great granddaughter, Elizabeth II is fast coming up on your length of service to your people as one of the few reigning monarchs left in the world. When she joins you in history, there are no bets on where the English royals are headed.

Elizabeth II has certainly done a fine job on shoring up the monarchy but her own son, the Prince of Wales is one of the stumbling blocks. There is just no respect for a man who was provided with a story-book princess. She gave him a couple of nice kids but he was too busy boffing an old flame. The demise of the princess almost turned into a public relations disaster for the Brit royalty.

So how do we honour you Victoria? What is appropriate in Canada to recognize the sovereign who was the midwife of our Confederation? In a few more years, Canada will celebrate 150 years. It is way past time to release us from your apron strings. Canada has proved its loyalty in the blood of wars and support in times of need. We should, in your honour, write a new constitution for this country, this Canada.

Canada has surpassed its origins. We have welcomed the peoples of the world. We are not just English or French anymore. We are all languages, all races, all religions and our perspective is of peace and hope and progress and compassion. Sorry Madam but a country such as this must stand on its own.

And it is also past time when we need to recognize our needs as a country. We tried to import your Parliament of Westminster to this new land and failed. We have the weaknesses in our parliamentary structure that Oliver Cromwell noted hundreds of years ago. We have been unable to patch them with the customs evolved over time as has Westminster. Our version of a House of Lords is a sham. Outdated, misused and misunderstood, the Canadian Senate has failed. It needs modern thinking.

Canadians pride themselves on their democracy. Yet we need checks and balances to the power of our Prime Minister’s Office. We need to distance our court and administrative agency appointments from politics of the day. We have much to rethink. And even if we reason that the time is long past for a royal head of state, in Ontario at least, we will be sure to keep our Victoria Day long weekend holiday.

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Copyright 2013 and 2016 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Impatient for democratic reform?

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

The federal Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef must have the easiest job in Ottawa. Sure, she is new to the job and has lots to learn but so far, she has had it easy. Even her announcement of the Senate of Canada appointment process was made easy. She made it last December along with Liberal House Leader Dominic LeBlanc. It was LeBlanc who did the heavy lifting.

Not that the Senate solution was anything impressive. It was an elitist solution to appointing elites. It was a singularly unimpressive temporary solution. The Senate of Canada is an anachronism that exists only because of Canada’s constitutional constipation. If we had a real and hard-working Minister of Democratic Institutions, reform of the senate would be high on the docket list of important reforms.

Like many first and second generation Canadians, the Minister is probably reluctant to touch the monarchy file. This writer is a sixth generation Canadian and he has been fed up with the claptrap about the monarchy since being indoctrinated in Grade 3 of our Ontario school system. There is nothing more meaningless and embarrassing to Canadians than our foreign monarch and her dysfunctional family.

But even if we continue to have democratic institution ministers who are afraid of Canada’s silly monarchist supporters, we have got to do something about the governor general. This is elitist to the extreme to house and use some supposedly patrician Canadian who can only do as the prime minister tells him or her and carry on as though they are performing some important duty. We could hire an actor to do the job much cheaper.

Of course we are all waiting for the democratic Institutions minister’s big scene when she appoints a committee of the House of Commons to decide how Canadians will vote. Her role here is to make Prime Minister Justin Trudeau look good about keeping his promise. That is the promise that 2015 was the last time Canadians would use First-Past-The-Post voting to choose their Member of Parliament.

The minister’s problem is that the Conservatives will agree to nothing and the New Democrats want proportional voting. If the Liberal majority picks preferential voting (indicating your first, second and third choice to create a mock-majority) and no other party supports them, there would be no credibility to a change without a referendum. And good luck on that!

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

In the doldrums of a Canadian winter.

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Not even Bonhomme Carnaval can cure the January-February blahs this year. Eating and drinking too much in Quebec City might be a popular pastime at this time of year but you also used to have the option of heading south soon afterward. Sure you can. If you can find a warm spot where our 70-cent loonie is appreciated?

Even those of us staying at home are looking at prices in the grocery store and grinding our teeth. And we are still paying a lot more for gasoline than we should be at the current prices of crude oil. We even growled at the nice people down at the tire place when they had to replace a valve in one of our snow tires. Mind you, for $40, you are entitled to growl about it.

Catching up on the current flag debate in New Zealand yesterday shows how desperate we are for new topics to comment on. It is about time the Kiwis got themselves a flag that can be distinguished from the Aussie flag. The only problem is that the most common term used for the debate on a new flag there is “desultory.” Compared to the rousing Canadian debate of half a century ago, the Kiwis are putting people to sleep.

The other problem for New Zealand is that they were fearful of a debate over the monarchy and they have shoved that subject to the back burner. That is just as stupid as us Canucks with our heads in the snow and ignoring the need to rid our country of the British monarchy.

The Brit monarchy is not half bad compared to the spawn of Victoria giving monarchs a bad name on the continent but you do realize do you not that this is the 21st Century? Here we are trying to promote equality between our citizens, our genders and our preferred languages and we continue a silly anachronism such as the monarchy.

We can change our constitution in a civilized way or we can have a revolution. The idea of revolution might appeal to some of us but they would have no clue as to who to shoot.

And we could never have a revolution in winter anyway. Not enough Canadians want to go outside to play at this time of year. And then in summer, we are too busy mowing the lawn at our cottages.

And the other problem is the otherwise healthy readership of Babel-on-the-Bay drops like a rock when we discuss such boring subjects as the monarchy. So what would you like to discuss next?

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me

Justin: On electoral versus constitutional reform.

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

In a sit-down conversation with Justin Trudeau about six years ago, it was immediately obvious that he is an emotional person and as easy to read as an open book. Other than being eager to get him into a poker game, it was interesting to test his reaction to some basic political propositions. While he is fervent on electoral reform, his eyes cloud over when you mention changing the constitution. He does not see dealing with Canada’s constitution as anything other than a lose-lose proposition.

Despite still being a teenager at the time, Justin obviously absorbed more of his late father’s attitudes about the Meech Lake machinations and the failed Charlottetown Accord than he admits. As a Quebec MP, Justin has obviously tried to leave these issues behind while emulating the more modern Québécois. His approach seemed to be working on election day as Quebec contributed handsomely to the Liberal majority.

Trudeau’s stance on electoral reform is also more emotional than considered. His stated preference for the ‘instant run-off” of a preferential vote would have likely provided his party with more than 30 additional seats in parliament in the October election. As he won a majority anyway, he did not need those potential second votes.

And cooler heads in the Liberal Party will warn him against giving in to the smaller parties’ desire for a proportional voting system. Majority governments are rare with proportional voting systems.

But Justin’s basic problem remains that there is too much real change needed that requires constitutional rather than electoral reform. The silly elitist solution he has come up with for Senate reform is going to come back and bite him. If he really does appoint non-political independent elites to the Senate, they will act that way and his government will have just as hard a time passing legislation as he would have without making any appointments to the Senate.

He did not disagree when we delved into a list of problems that Canada’s constitution had built up in the more than 140 years our country had existed at the time.

In our conversation those six years ago, we suggested changing the role of the Governor General. He liked the idea but ruled it out when we suggested turning all Canada’s constitutional problems over to an elected constitutional congress. Mind you, he looked thoughtful when we mentioned dumping the monarchy and looking at a presidential system of government.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me

Can you recant an oath you haven’t given?

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

This does not sound fair. This is concerning a guy who recanted his oath to the queen after becoming a Canadian citizen. What some people might suggest is that he should not take the oath in the first place.

But that does not work. This guy really wants to be a Canadian citizen. He feels loyal to Canada and he wants to stay here. His objection is that he feels no loyalty to the Queen of Canada nor to her heirs and successors.

This gentleman claims he is taking advantage of a loophole suggested by Ontario’s superior court of justice by disavowing that part of the oath after saying it. It seems like a round-about way of people making their feelings known.

And what might be the major problem here is the plight of those of us born in Canada. How would you recant an oath that you have never made? Should we all be required to make the oath so that, if we wish, we can recant it?

Pity the poor American kids. They start in kindergarten pledging allegiance to America. Hand on heart and all they do it every school day and occasionally just for practice.

Mind you, those of us who have served in the armed forces of Canada have also taken an oath to bend a knee to Her Majesty. It has always been assumed that that the oath was valid only for the period of our service in the forces. It is assumed that the oath is void once you have returned to civilian life.

But even if you have included crown appointments and elected persons who have also sworn fealty, there are still millions of Canadians who are obviously neglecting their duty to their Queen. Are these born Canadians to be allowed to continue to run free of any duty to their monarch? Should they not be required to do something to prove their loyalty?

Or should they finally be allowed to express their opinion on whether Canada should be a monarchy in the 21st Century? What part does the monarch really play in modern Canada? We are not just Brits and French anymore. We are people who have come together from all over the world. Canada is an inclusive society. We might not wear our feelings on our sleeves but lots of people really love this country. We need to take a better look at it.

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Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me

“Justin, Justin, Where have you been?”

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

“I’ve been to London to see the Queen.”

And that was it. Our fealty assured, Prime Minister Trudeau went on to Downing Street to meet the guy who really runs things in England. These meetings were scheduled ahead of the Malta meeting of the heads of the British Commonwealth of Nations. There is little time there for anything more than a pro forma ‘Hello’ in Malta. There are more important fish to fry in that venue.

The objective is to restore Canada as a leader in not only the Commonwealth but in world politics. Hobnobbing with the Queen in that meeting would be a waste of valuable face time with key United Nations contacts who are also members of the Commonwealth. It is also a good bounce pad to arrive fresh and relaxed at the Paris climate change conference.

And Trudeau is no royalist in any event. As a Quebecer, he is ambivalent to the Queen. On meeting her (he was a lot younger last time they met) he was probably thinking “Nice old lady—so this is today’s British Empire!”

Mind you, she complained mildly when answering the toast he was asked to make to her at a Commonwealth dinner that he was making her seem old. The time has long gone when the monarch could say “Off with his head.”

The facts are that there really has not been a British Empire since Prime Minister David Lloyd George left Whitehall after the First World War. What Winston Churchill had left for the Second World War was mainly bluster. It was the Americans, Canadians and allies who supplied and fed the Brits during that war and joined them in sacrificing their young on the battlefields.

What Prime Minister David Cameron knew when he met with Trudeau in London was that the Canadian had no interest in supporting more bombing of Iraq and Syria. He knew better than to ask Trudeau to keep Canadian planes there to support Old Blighty.

And Trudeau had a plan ready to impress the gathering of Commonwealth members by offering more money towards the fight against global warming. He could then go on to the Paris climate conference with a broad array of Commonwealth countries already in his corner. Justin Trudeau has done more for Canada’s foreign relations in the past month than Stephen Harper could do in nine years.

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Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me

Harper needs to take lessons from the Royals.

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

It is a good bet that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not thought of this. His friends the Brit Royals also have trouble with the paparazzi. They do hound one so! No matter how much editors might pay for a picture of Harper without his hairpiece, the Royals have it worse.

It is getting so bad over in Old Blighty that Kensington Palace sent a polite note to the news media about it. In typical Brit terms, this letter was supposed to be strongly worded. It took umbrage with the bad habits of photographers in using many different ruses to acquire pictures of the various heirs to the Crown of Westminster. They are particularly concerned about the young and impressionable Prince George.

It is hard to believe that this cute little kid is really only third in line for the throne. His great grandmother Elizabeth is still going strong, thank you. Maybe she is trying to outlive her son with the big ears. Mind you, the old queen would be wise not to accept a cup of tea from the Duchess of Cornwall.

But you will note that Babel-on-the-Bay is the only commentary that bothers to mention the Royals during a Canadian election campaign. Since monarchists are a dying breed in Canada, Mr. Harper has already pandered to that vote. And did he not bring over Charlie and the Duchess recently? They stayed away from main population centres in case nobody noticed them.

But we were talking about the problems the Royals have with paparazzi. Along with the note from Kensington Palace, the Metropolitan Police (the quite inadequate guardians of the Royals whilst at home) also sent a less than friendly note. The Peelers informed the media that their men were armed. And if that did not frighten them off, they also informed the media that their boyos had to make sudden and “split-second” decisions about the use of force. We can of course appreciate their concern but we think that threatening to shoot members of the paparazzi is a bit excessive.

This would never be necessary for them if they bothered to visit Canada more often. The R.C.M. Police will brook no shenanigans with the paparazzi when the Royals are under their care. It is sometimes a puzzler when Royals come to Canada whether people show up at events to see the funny Brits or to see all the Mounties in their red tunics, riding boots and pointy Stetsons.

But when you see how badly Harper is handling his media relations lately, you have to admire the determination of the Royals. God Save the Whatever!

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Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me