Originally published 5 June 2008.
Okay, I'll step out of the closet. I admit it; it's true. I am Canadian. I was born in Canada, I live in Canada, and I was here for much of the stuff in between. I point that out because, while my harangues so far to date have tended to focus on events happening with regards to our lovely neighbours down south, not all that I have to gripe about involves our beloved brethren south of the border, down New Mexico way.
After all, they booted out the British Royal Family centuries ago.
Have you ever seen the flag of Virginia? Now that is one bad-ass flag. It features some dude, decked in a liberty blue toga, carrying a spear and standing on top of a slain king wearing regal purple, his crown fallen off his head and abandoned on the floor nearby. As a stern warning, it says in Latin, "Thus Always to Tyrants".
Love 'em or hate 'em, Americans have got their republican furore going on. They may aw-shucks Lizzie and her brood of inbreds today, but that's because they ain't got to live with them anymore.
Well, in a sense, neither do we. Lizzie only makes her way round these parts once or twice a decade, and when she's in Buckingham Palace, I don't imagine concern about affairs in Canada crosses her mind appreciably more often than, say, affairs in Antigua and Barbuda or affairs in Belize (and I wonder if she could even find Tuvalu, one of her realms, on a map). Poll after poll shows middling support for republicanism in Canada mostly because nobody even notices she's here.
But she is. Not just on the back of our coins. Canada's status as a monarchy is an embarrassment. For a country that leads the world in equality and civil liberties, the unelected, hereditary and foreign head of state we continue to cling to is an anachronism and a source of shame. The fact that she doesn't do anything doesn't excuse her - if anything, it supports the need to get rid of her.
I have no personal beef with the Windsor family themselves. I'm sure they're lovely people and I'd love to have a beer with them. I don't want to lop off their heads, just the metal hats on top of them. Without excessive jingoism, I do think this is a fine country we live in - at least a pretty good one. The desire to give Lizzie the boot is nothing more than a desire to make this country even better. To say, "as proud as we are of our historical ties to the UK, they are historical, and what Canada now is is something more than merely that. What Canada now is is something that flies in the face of hereditary monarchy."
If nothing else, it might help a certain disgruntled province come to terms with its equal status, as opposed to foreign subjugation, within Canada. As ugly as Queen Elizabeth II's English language style is, her being styled as "Elizabeth Deux, par la grâce de Dieu Reine du Royaume-Uni, du Canada et de ses autres royaumes et territoires, Chef du Commonwealth, Défenseur de la Foi" is all that much more ridiculous (Which 'foi' is that again? Ah yes, Anglicanism: the religion of precisely no francophone Canadians...)
We are not some ridiculous country with its head in the sand, blind to the changing times. We are a country that embraces progress and freedoms. Canada remaining a monarchy makes no sense at all.