12.29.2005

queen

I forgot to watch the Queen's Message to Canada on Christmas Day. It occurred to me that I've never heard the Queen speak, and my mental image of her is Scott Thompson!

So I just downloaded the Queen's Message from the CBC News website (Real Player only).

Well, very nice, Queen.

Very strange, this whole Queen thing. A figurehead monarch is a nice idea, I suppose. But a bit outdated, eh? I understand it in theory, but I'll never really understand it in my bones. Some part of me will always be American.

Speaking of royalty, has anyone seen the TV movie Wallis & Edward that CBC is running? Did you like it? I might try to catch a re-broadcast.

21 comments:

MattInTO said...

But don't you see we already have the same thing back home? ;) Arguably worse, since this king has actual power. Let's see, George the VII he is, isn't he? G-d I can't wait to get outta here.

Matt

SusanE said...

I view the Queen as a kind of "Yoda" figure. She has spent her whole life in politics, so did her ancestors. Who better to offer advice and council. Seems strange to me that you can take a guy who has bankrupt every company he has ever owned/run and make him the leader of the worlds superpower. (I'm a reader on "Keeponsledding")

M@ said...

It's funny -- I think most Canadians agree that the monarch is a kind of pointless thing. I seem to remember some surveys a few years ago that showed that a majority of Canadians didn't think there was much point to a royal head of state. However, a majority of Canadians also opposed getting rid of the monarchy.

Of course, a lot of it has to do with Canadians not wanting to be impolite and actually kick the queen out. As a nation, we seem to feel that if we just wait long enough, they'll leave of their own accord, and hopefully not eat all the scones before they go.

Ironically, whereas governments are supposed to govern at the pleasure of the monarch, in our case if the Queen actually tried to interfere in our affairs, that would be the swiftest way to end the monarchial connection.

Lone Primate said...

I think M@'s comments are astute. I like the monarchy; I like our traditions. I think it lands lightly enough on Canada that even newcomers with little or no British connection don't mind it. It denies them nothing and injects just a little touch of pomp, ceremony, and something faintly storybook-uplifting into what would otherwise be a rather bland North American republic.

The idea that the real power is vested in the Crown, and politicians have to appeal to it, is subtle, but it's there. I really do think it makes Canada a somewhat more civilized nation. Maybe it is just a fiction, but it's a useful fiction. The idea that Bush is it, some guy who was elected, always felt a little naked to me. The Queen, a little remote, reserved, someone as M@ says we don't want to be impolite to... I think that makes a difference in who we are and how we do things.

The irony is, it would be nearly impossible for us to abandon the monarchy on our own. To do so requires the unanimous consent of the federal government and all ten provinces. The British, on the other hand, could accomplish it by a single vote in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. I suppose the Queen might be required to sign it... :)

L-girl said...

Seems strange to me that you can take a guy who has bankrupt every company he has ever owned/run and make him the leader of the worlds superpower.

Well, someone made him the resident of the White House. But it wasn't the majority of people in the United States. It's not so strange in context of political coups.

Welcome to wtmc, Susan. :)

L-girl said...

I think it lands lightly enough on Canada that even newcomers with little or no British connection don't mind it.

Absolutely. I may not fully understand it, but I'm not bothered by it a tall.

It denies them nothing and injects just a little touch of pomp, ceremony, and something faintly storybook-uplifting into what would otherwise be a rather bland North American republic.

Nicely said.

James said...

Having watched the US struggle with various questionable Presidents, I'm very fond of the idea of keeping our Head of State not only politically weak, but tucked away in a completely different country, to be trotted out for ceremonial events now and then.

There is little that she says that has any relevance to anything -- and it's vital that Prince "You'll All be Slitty-Eyed" Philip be kept from saying anything at all. But I'll take her over President "Is Our Children Learning" any day.

redsock said...

*

L-girl said...

Having watched the US struggle with various questionable Presidents, I'm very fond of the idea of keeping our Head of State not only politically weak, but tucked away in a completely different country, to be trotted out for ceremonial events now and then.

But it's a completely different concept. The US president, as the chief executive and the head of the executive branch of govt, is not a head of state in the sense you're talking. Even though there are many differences, the US president is much more analogous to the prime minister than to the ceremonial head of state.

The US doesn't have a head of state, for better or worse. Canada's G-G is more analogous to the US vice president than anything else (again, with obvious differences).

Masnick96 said...

I have to say that I kinda like the idea of the Queen as a head of state. She's fancy and impartial and has a crown - kind of glamorous while at the same time like a grandmother watching out for you and telling you to keep your elbows off the table.

L-girl said...

while at the same time like a grandmother watching out for you and telling you to keep your elbows off the table.

Funny you should say that! I didn't include it in my post, but the Queen reminds me of my own grandmother. It's true!

My Nana (mother's mother) looked somewhat like Elizabeth II, and she certainly thought she was imperial. In attitude she was more like Queen Victoria, unfortunately!

Wrye said...

My understanding of the term is that the President is indeed the US head of state. It's a completely different division of powers, but not a completely different concept.

As for the fondness shown the Queen, I think the corresponding American tradition would be the reverence still paid to the Founding Fathers. They are, somehow, still a touchstone in US political thought and theory, in a way that is pretty inconcievable here.

L-girl said...

My understanding of the term is that the President is indeed the US head of state. It's a completely different division of powers, but not a completely different concept.

Yes, you're right. I phrased that wrong, because the President is the head of state. But the office of the President is more similar to Prime Minister than anything else.

My point was really that it doesn't make sense to compare the Queen's relationship to Canada to the President's relationship to the US.

M@ said...

Maybe it is just a fiction, but it's a useful fiction.

I think this is at the heart of it, L-P. It's useful to remember that nationalism is no more than a shared myth. Politics is a system that works because we all buy into it, as a society.

I guess the question is, in a parliamentary democracy, what continuous governmental institution could replace the monarchy? An active, useful, (possibly elected) senate, perhaps?

Interesting topic to have brought up, Laura. The reason I started reading this blog was because it was an interesting "outsider" view of this country. (Then you put up some pics of your dogs and I was hooked.)

Echo Mouse said...

We missed the Queen's message this year for the first time ever, that I can remember anyway. The whole Princess Di debacle turned off a lot of us to the Royal Family. But she's our history so, speaking for myself only, I don't want to ditch our traditions. The British are our relatives. We're still a Commonwealth nation. I find her very out of date but I'm hoping that soon William takes over and we get to witness a grand revolution LOL

L-girl said...

(Then you put up some pics of your dogs and I was hooked.)

Thank you! That's why I go here.

Matt, I can't wait to hear about your trip to NYC!

L-girl said...

The British are our relatives.

Maybe this is why I haven't adopted the concept yet. I can't feel this at all.

Perhaps in five years I'll feel differently.

Lone Primate said...

The British are our relatives. We're still a Commonwealth nation.

We never had the psychological break with the British the US had. It's typical for Canadians, even ones not of British stock, too look upon the Commonwealth as a bunch of cousins you see at certain times of the year; and these people need not be of British origin. The nature of the Commonwealth as the successor of the Empire has been muddled a bit of late due to the recent admission of Cameroon and Mozambique, which were never part of the British Empire, but parts of the French and Portuguese empires respectively.

I find her very out of date but I'm hoping that soon William takes over and we get to witness a grand revolution

Over the holidays I saw a show on Newsworld that said that for the first time, the majority of the British population favoured William succeeding the Queen, rather than his father, Charles. An interesting idea, but not a simple notion to be done by fiat. Changes to the monarchy, including the succession to it, require the unanimous consent of all sixteen existing Commonwealth realms, including Canada. All those countries would have to agree to skip Charles for this to happen. That's unlikely.

James said...

I guess the question is, in a parliamentary democracy, what continuous governmental institution could replace the monarchy? An active, useful, (possibly elected) senate, perhaps?

Generally, monarchs get replaced by presidents. The republican movement in Australia, for example, would have the Throne replaced with a presidency along the lines of France, Israel, or Italy.

It's typical for Canadians, even ones not of British stock, too look upon the Commonwealth as a bunch of cousins you see at certain times of the year; and these people need not be of British origin.

We're a little unusual, though, in that we're one of the few Commonwealth countries without a major interest in cricket. I have a few Australian aquaintances who view this as the major failing of the Canadian national character.

L-girl said...

We're a little unusual, though, in that we're one of the few Commonwealth countries without a major interest in cricket. I have a few Australian aquaintances who view this as the major failing of the Canadian national character.

LOL

I thank goddess for it, personally. If I had to live in a country with a cricket obsession, I'd go nuts.

Lone Primate said...

We're a little unusual, though, in that we're one of the few Commonwealth countries without a major interest in cricket. I have a few Australian aquaintances who view this as the major failing of the Canadian national character.

Yeah, cripes, I always thought it was one of the few undisputed things we had going for us. Move to Canada! Keep the Queen, dump the sh!tty sports! :)