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A Queen and Her Country February 9, 2014

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The Diefenbaker Canada Centre at the University of Saskatchewan has unveiled a new exhibit (the opening of which they were kind enough to invite me to) entitled a Queen and Her Country. This is a wonderful exhibit of our long reigning sovereign’s role in Canada including many extremely valuable artefacts. I strongly recommend that everyone come and see this new exhibit on loan at the Diefenbaker Centre before it returns to Ontario.



Her Majesty’s Christmas Message December 27, 2013

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Video of the Christmas Message



“”This past year has been one of great celebration for many. The   enthusiasm which greeted the Diamond Jubilee was, of course, especially   memorable for me and my family.

“It was humbling that so many chose to mark the anniversary of a duty   which passed to me 60 years ago. People of all ages took the trouble to take   part in various ways and in many nations. But perhaps most striking of all   was to witness the strength of fellowship and friendship among those who had   gathered together on these occasions.

“Prince Philip and I were joined by our family on the River Thames as we   paid tribute to those who have shaped the United Kingdom’s past and future   as a maritime nation, and welcomed a wonderful array of craft, large and   small, from across the Commonwealth.

“On the barges and the bridges and the banks of the river there were   people who had taken their places to cheer through the mist, undaunted by   the rain. That day there was a tremendous sense of common determination to   celebrate, triumphing over the elements.

“That same spirit was also in evidence from the moment the Olympic flame   arrived on these shores. The flame itself drew hundreds and thousands of   people on its journey around the British Isles, and was carried by every   kind of deserving individual, many nominated for their own extraordinary   service.

As London hosted a splendid summer of sport, all those who saw the   achievement and courage at the Olympic and Paralympic Games were further   inspired by the skill, dedication, training and teamwork of our athletes. In   pursuing their own sporting goals, they gave the rest of us the opportunity   to share something of the excitement and drama.

“We were reminded, too, that the success of these great festivals   depended to an enormous degree upon the dedication and effort of an army of   volunteers. Those public-spirited people came forward in the great tradition   of all those who devote themselves to keeping others safe, supported and   comforted.

“For many, Christmas   is also a time for coming together. But for others, service will come first.   Those serving in our armed forces, in our emergency services and in our   hospitals, whose sense of duty takes them away from family and friends, will   be missing those they love.

“And those who have lost loved ones may find this day especially full of   memories. That’s why it’s important at this time of year to reach out beyond   our familiar relationships to think of those who are on their own.

“At Christmas I am always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies   also at the heart of the Christmas story. A young mother and a dutiful   father with their baby were joined by poor shepherds and visitors from afar.   They came with their gifts to worship the Christ child. From that day on he   has inspired people to commit themselves to the best interests of others.

“This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son ‘to   serve, not to be served’. He restored love and service to the centre of our   lives in the person of Jesus Christ.

“It is my prayer this Christmas Day that his example and teaching will   continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the   service of others.

“The carol, In The Bleak Midwinter, ends by asking a question of all of   us who know the Christmas story, of how God gave himself to us in humble   service: ‘What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would   bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part’. The carol gives the   answer ‘Yet what I can I give him – give my heart’.

“I wish you all a very happy Christmas.”‘

Attempts to render title ‘Head of the Commonwealth’ Hereditary? July 28, 2013

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Her Majesty is apparently launching  a discreet attempt to render the title Head of the Commonwealth hereditary, certainly many already believed it to be so and it is not like there are any other people who would be obvious contenders for the title so it may succeed. The Queen is clearly hoping to avoid a struggle over the title following her death.

According to the article: “The Palace believes Commonwealth joy over the  birth of George provides the ideal opportunity to guarantee the British Monarchy  does not lose its most prominent international platform when the Queen  dies.” Which I don’t really think is true, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain Northern Ireland, Canada, and her other realms and territories carries more weight than head of the Commonwealth of Nations in my view, but certainly it would be better for the Commonwealth if the royal family retained the title.

Only British sovereigns have served as Head of the Commonwealth, with the Queen’s father, George VI, holding the title first. The London Declaration of 1949 ensured that the Queen would inherit the title, but her successor will still be decided by all the Commonwealth members (I have not been able to determine whether it is via majority vote, or unanimous consensus though).
And just for fun here is a list of the official translations for Head of the Commonwealth in the different languages of Her Majesty’s subjects:

Consortionis Populorum Princeps – Latin

Upoko o Nga Herenga ki Ingarangi (lit. ‘Leader of the links with England’) – Maori

英聯邦元首 (lit. ‘Head of the English Federation’) – Hong Kong Chinese, apparently in Singapore her title is “Head of the Republic Federation, which does not make a whole lot sense).


Another Court Challenge to the Oath to the Queen July 12, 2013

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Several republican residents of our fair dominion want to become citizens of Canada without becoming subjects of Canada’s Queen. It certainly seems odd to me that people would want to move to this country grounded in monarchy despite being unwilling to swear an oath of allegiance to our ruler. Certainly the notion that requiring prospective Canadians to swear an oath to our monarch is “discriminatory” is such a patently ridiculous idea that I wonder how it could possibly even enter a courtroom.

I am somewhat inclined to agree with Mr. Gurney here that “If you don’t want to pledge allegiance to the Queen, don’t move to a Commonwealth country” but there is a bit of an issue to my mind with his idea that “If you want Canada to be a republic in the future, take the oath and become a citizen of Canada as it is today, and work from within to achieve the change you want.” I believe that the oath involves swearing to “bear true allegiance” to Her Majesty and her heirs, and I really do not agree with this apparently blasé attitude towards oath-taking, what is the point of oath-taking after all if there is a complete lack of consequences for immediately violating it? Those who do such things should be censured for failing to live up to their word.

A Call to (re)Consider the Monarchy July 7, 2010

Posted by J. Hawkes in Branch Business, News.
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In the wake of Her Majesty’s recent visit to Canada, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix advocates a thoughtful consideration about the future role of the monarchy in Canada.

It’s a welcome debate.

As we approach the Queen’s diamond jubilee (sorry, no similar Canadian link – yet), it makes sense to take stock of how well our current constitutional monarchy has served Canada as a state and Canadians as individuals. Those of us already convinced by the merits of our system will do well to discuss the issue reasonably with our fellow Canadians. Indeed, such a public debate can be a unifying force. It would be a powerful symbol if Canada were able to recommit to our Head-of-State, perhaps through some official gesture in the House of Commons.

Our Head-of-State serves a mainly symbolic role, one that is abstractly applied through the institutionalized concept of the Crown but also personally entwined with the Queen herself and the history of her lineage. With such expansive implications it is hardly surprising that many people object (at least superficially) to one or more manifestations of the symbol of our Head-of-State. Nevertheless, our diverse and historically unique country is capable of broad political agreement in pursuit of peace, order and good government. It is wise to pursue a similar consensus with our Head-of-State, while admitting wholehearted unanimous agreement may be impossible.

Of course, the League’s view is that the monarchy has served us well, playing a crucial role in the development of parliamentary democracy and the founding of Canada. Over time, the monarchy has been tremendously flexible. And there seems little reason to suspect that it cannot continue to play its proper role as we face the unknown pressures and challenges of the 21st century.