Jerry Amernic: Enough of the royals
I finish work at the end of another day and join my wife in the living room, where she watches The young and the restless. I ask how much more there is to endure. I have no idea why anyone is looking at this gibberish. I just don’t understand it, but I don’t buy lottery tickets either and that’s the way it has to be with the British monarchy.
I say British because it sure isn’t mine. I am a second generation Canadian with grandparents from Poland, Belarus and Romania. My wife is Macedonian and born in Greece. It all means that none of us have a drop of English blood – let alone French or Indigenous blood – in our veins. Notice Ottawa, because an ever-increasing proportion of Canada’s mosaic fits this mold. You’re ahead of the curve and as relevant as Jurassic Park.
The British monarchy is an archaic institution that should be relegated to a museum so visitors can see how things were but are no longer. I think it has supporters for the same reason people are watching The young and the restless– a cure for boredom – but what’s as boring as the royal family? They are reminiscent of a play by Shakespeare. A lot of noise about nothing.
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As early as 1931 none other than Bertrand Russell said: “The greatest field for snobbery in my own country is the British monarchy, which succeeds in doing more damage than most Englishmen realize.” the practice of showing deference to a man for reasons that do not imply superior ability on his part. This practice is therefore unfortunate, and the United States is fortunate to be officially free of it.”
Our American friends have their own problems too numerous to mention, but keeping their head of state in a foreign country is not one of them. I see the British monarchy as an obstacle to us growing up and leaving home to go our own way. It may not be the biggest obstacle because a large majority of Canadians don’t care, but suffer just as much because it does there. It’s like a cold.
That’s not to say we don’t owe the Brits much. We do it. For all its evils, there are far worse forms of government than the parliamentary system. So why not just say thank you, but it’s time to move on? That’s what we did with that British North America Act in 1867. We did that with the flag in 1965 and with the roll back of the Constitution in 1982 and lest we forget when the Dominion Bureau of Statistics became Statistics Canada.
Look at the demographics. In 1871 all but 13.4 percent of Canadians were of English or French descent. In 1921 the majority of Canadians were still of British descent – 55.4 percent. Go another fifty years to 1971 and that was down to 44.6 percent. What it is today I have no idea because the 2021 census doesn’t seem to be tracking such things, but only a fool would think the number is increasing. The truth is it’s going the other way, along with Canadians of French descent.
I have heard the arguments for retaining the monarchy, none of which hold water. A leading contender is that republicanism leads to extremism and fascism. For real? What was the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution about? Or the American Revolutionary War, which was determined to get rid of everything related to Empire. History is full of people who were not enthusiastic about the monarchy. At least in Sweden and Norway, their royal families are Swedes and Norwegians, but not here. Unfortunately there is no royal family more embarrassing than that in London.
Exempting ourselves from the institution does not relegate us to a life of immorality and debauchery, and as we speak, there are members of this royal family who have emerged as poster boys for that option. Is there a solution? Yes. Stay in the British Commonwealth but leave the monarchy behind. Other nations have done it. Why can’t we?
Many years ago I did a magazine article on the status of the monarchy in Canada. I listened to a speech by Sir John Biggs-Davison, the British MP for Epping Forest – the same constituency that Winston Churchill once represented – and he said: “The monarchy limits the claims of politicians with their ever-present tendency to corruption.”
No argument about politicians’ corruption, but since when are royals exempt? How about Elizabeth’s uncle Edward VIII, who relinquished the crown after a year as king, sympathized with the Nazis and even met Hitler after leaving Buckingham Palace? Forget the long litany of royal humiliations of late. Young Harry was seen partying wearing a swastika armband. Prince Andrew’s ties to the late Jeffrey Epstein with pedophile fame. And not long ago, Oprah’s insights into how the royals are far from thrilled with a Duchess of Sussex being a woman of color. Indeed, there is much less than exemplary in the royal family.
I have no ill feelings towards Elizabeth II, who was Queen before I was born. But did this woman do it on her own? Does she lead a family that could be construed as the world’s leading welfare case? Has she seen her best days?
Not wanting to be cruel, but the coverage of their platinum anniversary celebrations earlier this month — not just on CBC, but all networks – I found disgusting. Are Canadians really excited about this? Do we owe a debt of gratitude to the Queen and her 70 years on the throne? I’m not. My friends aren’t. No one I speak to is. no soul
So where are the crowds going ga-ga with the Queen and all her merriment? They have to exist because the federal agencies think they’re everywhere, and so does the television network, and we all know the media can’t be wrong. Wait a minute. Could it be the same people watching? The young and the restless? Now there is a thought. Is it true? Well then, God help – uh, help us.