Victoria Day

2007-05-21

in Canada, Daily updates, Politics

Natives of the United Kingdom may be surprised to learn that today is a royal holiday – in Canada, at least. Celebrated on the Monday before May 25th, Victoria Day is a celebration of both Queen Victoria‘s birthday and that of whoever the current monarch happens to be. It replaces the rather less politically correct ‘Empire Day,’ which was renamed ‘Commonwealth Day’ in 1958.

While it is pleasant enough to have the Queen’s well-composed visage on the back of currency and Regina v. whomever as the standard form for criminal cases, Canadians might be forgiven for thinking the monarchy is a archaic throwback to an earlier era. Most Canadians probably don’t know that Elizabeth II is the Commander-in-Chief of Canadian Forces, as well as Colonel-in-Chief for nine different military units, including the Military Engineers and three groups of Highlanders. While Canadians do appreciate opportunities to differentiate themselves from their southern neighbours (especially as they grow even more unpopular internationally), at least some people have been watching Austalia’s flirtations with republicanism with marked curiosity.

Given her smooth but bland rein, perhaps Elizabeth II would be a fitting final monarch for Canada.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Pragmatic Canuck May 21, 2007 at 1:58 pm

The monarchy is a harmless old tradition.

Also, it would cost a lot of money and government time to change. Is it worth distracting the legislature and upsetting a lot of grandmothers to get ride of something that has no importance anyhow?

Finally, the tradition has some value as a tie between Canada and good people like the Australians and New Zealanders.

Pragmatic Canuck May 21, 2007 at 2:10 pm

The 1982 Constitution requires unanimous consent of the federal government and all ten provincial governments before any change could be implemented to the status of the monarchy. As a result it is constitutionally more difficult to remove the monarchy in Canada than it is in any other Commonwealth realm including the United Kingdom.

41. An amendment to the Constitution of Canada in relation to the following matters may be made by proclamation issued by the Governor General under the Great Seal of Canada only where authorized by resolutions of the Senate and House of Commons and of the legislative assemblies of each province:

(a) the office of the Queen, the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governor of a province;

(b) the right of a province to a number of members in the House of Commons not less than the number of Senators by which the province is entitled to be represented at the time this Part comes into force;

(c) subject to section 43, the use of the English or the French language;

(d) the composition of the Supreme Court of Canada; and

(e) an amendment to this Part.

That would make it even more of a waste of governmental time.

Milan May 21, 2007 at 2:16 pm

That is all true enough, though I don’t think our connection to Australia and New Zealand is so superficial that the monarchy is an important component. If Australia had become a republic, I doubt our relations with them would have changed at all.

On a more lighthearted note, I ran across the following:

The Republic of Cascadia. “The former American states of Oregon and Washington and the former Canadian province of British Columbia must join together as a sovereign nation. Only then can we have self-determination and take our rightful place in the Global Community.”

I think California should be part of the new state, as well. You have to approve of their campaign to Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.

Milan May 21, 2007 at 2:25 pm

It seems there was already a Republic of Canada, but that it didn’t go so well. The flag is quite atrocious.

I really need to stop reading about this stuff and get some work done…

Anon May 21, 2007 at 5:55 pm

All I know about ‘Empire Day’ comes from Monty Python’s ‘The Meaning of Life:’

“Now two boys have been found rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant. Now some of you may feel that the cormorant does not play an important part in the life of the school, but I would remind you that it was presented to us by the corporation of the Town of Sudbury to commemorate Empire Day, when we try to remember the names of all those from the Sudbury area who so gallantly gave their lives to keep China British. So from now on, the cormorant is strictly OUT OF BOUNDS.”

Milan May 21, 2007 at 6:39 pm

On an unrelated note, this Friday is towel day.

I mentioned it last year, as well.

Milan May 21, 2007 at 9:42 pm
. May 20, 2008 at 12:22 pm

After all she has done for Canada, we owe the Queen our oath

ARTHUR MILNES
Special to Globe and Mail Update
May 19, 2008 at 7:19 PM EDT
Notwithstanding all the chipping away at the monarchy we Canadians have done in recent years, one suspects the Queen would now admit that at least one Canadian politician is no fair-weather friend.

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