Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Dominion (Canada) Day!

A happy Dominion Day (Canada Day for those who love change) to all of Her Majesty’s subjects in the Great White North. Canada is fortunate this year to have the presence of Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, probably the most prominent young royals in the world at the moment, on hand to join in the celebrations marking Canada’s birthday. It was on this day in 1867 that Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada came together to form their own “kingdom”, the independent Dominion of Canada within the British Empire. In fact, the original desire had been to call the new united country the “Kingdom of Canada” but, remember, it was 1867. Only a couple of years before the United States had been engaged in the bloodiest war ever fought in the western world up to that time championing the idea of republican nationalism and had also just ensured the destruction of the short-lived Second Empire of Mexico. So, being the ever polite and proper people Canadians are known for, they decided that the name “Kingdom of Canada” would upset the Americans and so the term “Dominion of Canada” was adopted instead. Of course, as we know, that later came to be seen as “too colonial” sounding for modern ears and hence the country now has the grand, official name of “Canada”. Period.


Yes, if you could not tell, I’m still just a little bit bothered by the change away from the “Dominion of Canada” but bear with me, I still have not gotten over the loss of the Canadian Red Ensign either (but I’m doing my best). Of course, the current Canadian national flag is an attractive and effective one, but what I am most pleased about is that, in honor of the royal visit this Canada Day, the government has designed new Canadian Royal Standards for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH the Prince of Wales. Previously, the only royal to have their own Canadian standard was HM the Queen. It is quite a good looking flag and the new standards of the other royals are based on that very striking design. I think they look good and I congratulate whoever came up with them and who approved the measure. It displays a very loyal and very proper attitude toward the Canadian monarchy. Incidentally, the Duke and Duchess looked impeccable when they arrived in Ottawa, like two old professionals, friendly and comfortable.


This is significant because the Crown, the Canadian monarchy is the fundamental, foundational institution of the government and, really, of Canada as a whole. I know there are those who get tired of me (and others) saying that without the monarchy Canadians would just be Americans. However, that is not just some cute slogan I pass on to play on the Canadian rivalry with their southern neighbor. It is a fact. The foundations of modern Canada, as we know it today, really came with the influx of new settlers, the loyalists, from the new United States after the Revolutionary War. Remember, the American Revolutionaries had intended for their new country to include all thirteen colonies, Canada and the Caribbean Islands as well. The fortunes of war prevented this and the result was not the independence of a pre-existing political entity (there was no such thing) but the partition of British North America. What we call today Canada and America were, originally, part of the same political entity, populated by roughly the same sort of people. The only difference between them was that one side became an independent republic and the other remained within the British Empire, eventually becoming (through peaceful and legal means) an independent constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth.


Aside from the French population, which was always distinct, the original populations of Canada and the United States were the same people, most with the same ancestry, many with the same birthplaces even, who spoke the same language and had the same religion. Their only difference was that one side was a constitutional republic and the other a constitutional monarchy. Once upon a time, Canada was quite proud of this and could quickly point out everything that came out of the fact that they willingly chose a very different path from that of their neighbors to the south, even while borrowing a few ideas from them along the way. That was back before a number of people started getting the urge to bolt from anything even remotely “British”, back when Canada was proud of being a part of the British Empire, as many used to say, the greatest empire since ancient Rome. Canadian volunteers served in the Sudan in 1884 (the “Nile Voyageurs”) and in the Second Boer War because of the duty they felt to the British Empire. The sacrifices of the Canadian forces in World War I and World War II are also, of course, well known.


General Drummond
In fact, when World War I began the serving Governor-General of Canada was a member of the Royal Family, HRH Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, who was the son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Some have talked about having royal Governors-General again for Commonwealth Realms and I think that would be a great idea. Most do not believe it will ever happen though because so much has been made about the “first” Canadian, Australian, etc Governor-General being appointed in history. That, of course, is complete nonsense. For instance, most think that the Rt. Hon. Charles Vincent Massey was the first Canadian-born Governor-General of Canada. That is not really true though as Sir Gordon Drummond effectively occupied the same post during the War of 1812 and was born in Canada. And, as we know, both of the previous Governors-General of Canada were born far from the Canadian shores, one coming from the Crown Colony of Hong Kong and the other from the Republic of Haiti. So, being born on Canadian soil would hardly seem to be an absolute prerequisite for obtaining the position unless those opposed are willing to admit to a little prejudice against the British alone. For those people, it should be enough to remember, whether it was 1775, 1812 or 1866 the critical victories were always won when Britain and Canada stood together.


However, whether or not attitudes change or a royal becomes Governor-General, there is no denying the central role the monarchy has played in Canadian history. From the very beginning it has been the Crown that has been the basis for all law and government. Whole provinces were named after royal figures and for a time during the darkest days of World War II it was even thought that the Royal Family would relocate to the safety of Canada as the threat of a Nazi invasion of Great Britain loomed close. Dominion Day (er, um, I mean “Canada Day” of course) is a day to celebrate Canada and everything it means to be Canadian. That includes the entire history and culture of the nation and you cannot celebrate that without including the Canadian monarchy. Canadians should be proud of their history, proud of their monarchy, their monarch and their Royal Family. They have a great deal to be proud of and I hope their holiday is a happy one.

The Maple Leaf Forever!
God Save the Queen of Canada!

8 comments:

  1. What does HRH and HM stand for? I have seen it a couple of times and cannot figure it out.

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  2. HRH = His/Her Royal Highness
    HM = His/Her Majesty

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  3. This does not have anything to do with Canada, but I have been watching some videos of the Greek riots and in some videos you can see Communist flags being waved by protesters, I just wish they would instead wave the banner of Constantine II of the Hellenes

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  4. I have been searching for the videos all night and could not find them but I have found pictures showing what I saw in the videos. If you want to see the pictures you can search Google images for them.

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  5. Heir of Wallachia, I agree. If they flew the Banners of the King it’d be wonderful. But not likely as hey are upset over the Government not being able to pay them in someone else’s money.

    That said…


    HAPPY DOMINION DAY CANADA!

    May this day find blessings in Everlasting God for our Canadian Friends, and may they find a great pleasure in the commemoration of their Great Realm, Canada, and its Royal and Godly Heritage.

    GOD SAVE THE QUEEN OF CANADA! GOD BLESS CANADA.

    On an aside, My own Birthday is Monday.

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  6. Looking at the reception they got, with fully 1% of the whole country's population crowding onto Parliament Hill to welcome the couple, with many of those interviewed traveling for hours just to get a glimpse of the royals, one can't help but think that there are a lot of very angry leftists in Canada right now.

    All across the country, republicans are stewing in their own bitterness at the realization that they are the ones clinging to a minority view.

    This all goes to show that the way to handle the Commonwealth realms is for the Royal family to make more, and higher profile, overseas visits. The more they do things like this, the more marginalized the republican left becomes.

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  7. Which is probably why most politicians so rarely invite them.

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