It’s a good guess that even the most fanatical monarchists would have found last Tuesday to be a new day and a welcome relief from the minute to minute, wall to wall coverage of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral. It was 12 days of red-coated, fur – hatted soldiers, bag pipes, besotted crowds, and tender, loving clichés to describe what must have been the purest soul second only to Mother Teresa.
Some Canadian media staff, CBC et al, must have thought they had gone to heaven when the Queen took over and filled all the hours they would have normally been working on programming. For Canada, that was not surprising because Canadians were front and centre in what must have been the world’s longest funeral. There were RCMP riders leading a segment of the funeral procession while Prime Minister Trudeau was granted a privileged spot around the coffin and a brief meeting with the freshly minted King Charles III.
It’s a reasonable assumption that not too many countries received the royal embrace as Canada did. It was often repeated that of all the countries in her domain, Canada was the monarch’s go to spot, visiting it more often than any other state in the realm.
And why shouldn’t she? After all, Canada has (virtually) permanently attached itself to the monarchy. That is because in the 1970s during constitutional talks, Canada, at the insistence of monarchists provincial premiers, made it practically impossible to abolish the monarchy. For that to happen, the House of Commons, the Senate, and all 10 provincial legislatures must agree. Some experts say that the Indigenous people would also need to be consulted. Hell freezing over is a more likely event than Canada abolishing the monarchy.
So, how does a country that prides itself on being the most multicultural and tolerant than most others explain to the large multicoloured segment of citizens, whose ancestors were enslaved and robbed of their resources on a grand scale to enrich this monarchy, throwing in their faces images and notions of this institution for 12 days on a stretch, accompanied by words of undying fealty, love and respect to a dead queen? And then for those citizens to understand that it’s virtually impossible to rid themselves of the doleful monarchical presence, even if a majority of Canadians want it. It tells them that the true north is a compromised democracy.
It we must accept the “permanent” presence of the monarchy in our country, is it too much to ask that we tone down the coverage of all things royal? We don’t need to know about the shenanigans of the royal family. If they visit Canada, let it be on their own initiative and their own dime. Try not to encourage King Charles to drop by too often; and when he does, limit it to dinner with the Governor General and the Prime Minister. A walk around the grounds of Rideau Hall would be a nice touch.
And if the sovereign chooses to meet the people, let him know that he should be prepared to discuss reparations with a certain segment of the common folk, and he should walk with his cheque book.