Protecting the Queen Mother from Hotdog Eaters

London, Ontario - Wednesday, April 3, 2002 - by: Chris Blackman


Since I have been a young lad I have been loyally listening to Peter Gzowski on the radio, watching intently as Barbara Frum delivered the nightly news, greedily reading Mordecai Richler novels, and eagerly turning to the pages that were filled with the columns of Dalton Camp, and Jeff Simpson.




Of that list, Peter Mansbridge has admirably taken the reigns of the important job as a unifying host of Canada's nightly news journal, and Margaret Atwood novels now take up much of the space on my bookcase - but many of the other hero size shoes have sadly yet to be filled.




In short, I have a great deal of respect for the opinions expressed by Mr. Simpson, and the words he so eloquently writes.




So imagine my sincere disappointment at reading Mr. Simpson's recent column from the Globe and Mail, "Will Canada Ever Grow Up?" In the piece, Mr. Simpson calls into question the role of the Monarchy in Canada. It is quite disheartening; especially at a time when I am mourning the Queen Mother's passing, as are many Canadians.




The reality is the Queen Mother absolutely loved Canada. The world is becoming a harsh and unfriendly environment to diverse nations like Canada, and losing such a wonderful ally is not going to be easy to overcome.




I just donít have the time or patience to even enter into the debate at this point, except to warn that I think it is a fight that is coming, and will almost certainly play a major role in a national election in the near future.
Republicans. Its tough to even say without feeling sick.




But they are among us, and mark my words ó a fight over the place of the Monarchy in Canada is coming to Canadian politics, and most likely sooner rather than later. They will try and take our Queen away.




The Reform-Alliance is a party of Republicans, and Stephen Harper is most certainly a Republican. I assure you, it would only be a matter of time before they would try and take our Queen from us.




After careful consideration, I can see no important differences from the consequences of a Bloc government, or a Reform-Alliance government - by connecting the dots, the politics of both groups will result in the dismantling of the Canadian Federation.




Pierre Trudeau once quipped when asked about the politics of Rene Levesque, "that guy eats hotdogs". From my understanding it was an expression of frustration at how a person that was clearly as intelligent as Mr. Levesque could be so terribly wrong in his views on Canada. Well to borrow his phrase, I think Stephen Harper is a modern Rene Levesque (although admittedly he and his supporters may not realize it), and I think he too eats hotdogs.
Reformers, and Republicans in general eat hotdogs, actually.




That's not to say Stephen Harper is not a brilliant man, and a good person. That's not to say he wonít lower your taxes, and potentially manage smaller, and weak national governments featuring powerless federal institutions, and champion the cause of provincial rights' (as if that were a noble cause). If you want a Prime Minster to simply criss-cross the country and be a powerless ribbon cutter at opening ceremonies in this community, or that province - then I think he might be your guy.



we need

But I humbly suggest Canada is about more than that. Itís about more than lower taxes, and small ineffective government institutions. Itís about more than being a member of this community, or hailing from that region, or representing this province. And it certainly is about more than the politics of division.
As such, as we have a collective responsibility to expect - check that - to demand more of our leaders, and far more of our future Prime Ministers.




First it will be the Queen ó because the Monarchy is a relatively easy target right now for those wishing to practice the politics of division. Step two will be an end to official bilingualism, and that will be followed by a change in Canadaís official policy regarding multi-culturalism. Again all easy divisive policy directions. Itís usually pretty easy to stay a few steps ahead of the hotdog eaters. They bring a checkers mentality to politics, when itís more accurately a game of chess.



served us

We need to remember that the institution of the Monarchy has served this dominion exceptionally well for the last several hundred years. Canadians have the wonderful opportunity of being an extension of the greatest Empire in the history of mankind, and we have played a vital role in the expansion, and preservation of its greatness. Each of us must recognize the sacrifice on the part of past generations of Canadians in loyal, and selfless, and often heroic defense of the Monarchy, and the greatness for which it stands.




I remain, as always a loyal subject to the Crown. May God save and protect our Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. When one considers all the Herculean struggles throughout our history in which we have managed to protect our Monarchy, surely we can protect her from the hotdog eaters among us?
If, after carefully considering all that, you feel the Monarchy - The Queen of Canada when she is in this country - should be replaced, then you will do what you have to do. Letís just make sure we donít make the mistake of changing our loyalty to an institution that has served Canada so well out of apathy, indifference, or ignorance. We should resist the urge to call for an end to Canadaís special relationship with the Monarchy based on having watched an unfairly biased Mel Gibson movie, or based on religious, national or cultural feuds that date back several hundred years. At some point we need to stop making one another pay for the sins of our fathers ó and now would be as good a time as any to put that theory into practice.




Weíd all be better off if Mel Gibson would stick to making mindless dribble movies filled with gratuitous violence, and foul language ó and steer clear of his ill advised attempts at historical time pieces like Braveheart and The Patriot. These movies can be accurately characterized as at worst sheer malicious dishonesty, or at best as intellectual treason. And weíd all be better off if Stephen Harper and his reformers would stick to eating hotdogs and playing checkers.




Loyalty to the Crown, and loyalty to Canada are not mutually exclusive concepts, but equally important responsibilities shared by all Canadians. Our unique form of government featuring a Constitutional Monarchy partnered with a Westminster style parliamentary democracy is the most Canadian characteristic one can name. It makes us special.
Would you really let hotdog eaters take that away?

Chris Blackman

(Chris Blackman is a regular editorial writer for the St. Mary's Independent, this editorial appears in today's edition)