Last week new Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson continued a Harper government tradition of lauding deceased Saudi royalty. In a release the MP from Niagara Falls said he was "deeply saddened to learn of the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal" and "impressed by his distinguished career serving the people of Saudi Arabia." Of course, Nicholson omitted any mention of the former Saudi foreign minister's efforts to undermine the Arab Spring democracy movement or arm the fundamentalist opposition to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, which has led to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
We still have a foreign person, a queen living in a castle on another continent -- Victoria's great, great, granddaughter, in fact -- as Canada's head of state. And it's a pretty safe bet that Canada isn't on her mind a whole lot either, if at all. So why do we put up with it? Without question, Canada deserves to have its own head of state, chosen by us and from among our citizens. How have we made it this far without taking the final step to full nationhood? The reason lies with misinformation.
Not all oral confirmations are created equal. Take Canada's oath of citizenship. A bunch of people are challenging it before an Ontario judge at the moment on the basis that it's neither a meaningful symbol nor a useful tradition, just an absurd and oppressive indignity. It's not a welcome. It's a hazing.
This noxious obsession with one-upping America at every turn, even (especially?) when it requires rewriting history to reimagine America's good ideas as bad ones, and Canada's bad ones as heroic, is the complete antithesis of modesty, or even decency. It's obnoxious, ugly, and dishonest, and certainly not the stuff from which great patriotism is made.
Sixty years ago, Coronation Day was celebrated around the world. In Canada, it was declared a national holiday, marked with parades, concerts, and fireworks. Even in wartime Korea, Canadian soldiers marked the day by firing red, white, and blue-coloured smoke shells at a thoroughly confused enemy, followed by toasts to the Queen with rations of rum!
What makes this sideshow all the more embarrassing is that there's been a complete breakdown in the Chief's relationship with the one independent agency whose power actually does matter -- the press. The indifferent contempt in which she has so consistently held the press is beginning to return in kind. You can almost hear her 15 minutes ticking away. To put it bluntly, you can't just do this.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making a trip to New York this week, but it isn't to attend a United Nations meeting to which Canada was extended an invitation. The Prime Minister will instead be in the glitzy hotel, where he is due to receive an award from the little-known Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith partnership of corporate and religious leaders. Between the successive fossil awards for environmental savagery and the unfortunate de-funding of reproductive health in foreign aid, the Harper government continues to slide Canada's international influence down to the gutter.
Minister Baird and British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced plans on Monday to merge British and Canadian embassies. To be precise, Minister Baird framed the suspicious measure as sharing. Reminiscent of the Napster file-sharing tool online, the open exchange of diplomatic duties across international jurisdictions does not inspire confidence. The idea, packaged and sold to Canadians as a cost-saving measure, flies in the face of common sense and gives off a hint of hypocrisy to a government saddled with billion dollar boondoggles in the form of G20 Summit and the never-ending money pit labeled the F-35 jets.
It was disgusting, disgraceful and despicable to say the least to see the photoes of the naked prince which went viral online and around the world. If that is how members of the royal family behave, then Canadians would be far better to operate the vehicle themselves without anyone else telling them what to do.