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.
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!