Failure to Cut ties to Britain Shows Political Cowardice

The failure of Canada’s political elite to cut formal political ties to Britain is an insult to Canadian independence and should be an embarrassment to all Canadians.

This once again became apparent in the installation of our new Governor-General, David Johnston.

Not that I have anything against David Johnston. He seems like a very nice man, obviously very accomplished in the things that matter for positions like this. His selection should please those who desire a change from the less traditional choices we’ve seen the last couple of times.

Yes, it’s also true that our outgoing G-G, Michaelle Jean, has at times been a breath of fresh air. But in practical terms I don’t think it much matters who occupies the position as it is currently defined.

Many people will say it’s not about “practical” affairs anyway. It’s all about symbolism. The G-G has no real power.

But that is not even remotely true. The office and the role are intimately bound up with our colonial history. Through conquest we became part of the British Empire and through political anachronisms like the office of the G-G we essentially remain captives of that past.

It is precisely the symbolism involved that should bother Canadians the most. It is the antiquated tie to the British crown that should rankle. This is an ongoing testament to our colonial past, our dependent status and our inability to grow up as a nation.

Calling Queen Elizabeth the “Queen of Canada” does not soften the blow one little bit. The British monarch is part of a hereditary class system that has no standing in Canada and that we should want nothing to do with.

Yes, I know many people have a deep emotional tie to the “Royal family” and especially the Queen. But think about it for a minute. Do these “royals” really have any relevance to the day to day lives of the vast majority of Canadians? Do we really want to be known as “the former colony of the British Empire”.

I don’t think so. It is time for our government representatives to complete the repatriation job begun back in the last century. That means, first, redefining the Canadian Senate so it has an important and meaningful role, and second, giving Canadians a head of state that is our own – one that does not belong to a foreign country.


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