Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl,
But she hasn’t got a lot to say.
– The Beatles
That little ditty nails, in a nutshell, Her Majesty Elizabeth R. II, unless you count her annual Christmas cliché dump, in which she expresses the view that “Phillip and I” are not amused by the suffering of the peasants somewhere in the world and someone should do something about it.
End of message.
So why does she continue to be featured prominently on our currency as the Queen of Canada? And why do we go through the ritual every five years of finding her a governor general, who we dutifully install as our head of state?
The whole nonsense should have been abolished in 1867 when we allegedly became a real country, or in 1982, when Pierre Trudeau smuggled the constitution past the corgis and brought it safely home to Ottawa.
The last two governors general have qualified for the job by first apprenticing as CBC journalists. By that standard, I qualify as the next governor general of Canada, and as it’s time to pick another one, I dutifully submit my name for consideration.
I can stuff a vice-regal uniform as splendidly as any former CBC journalist, which isn’t saying much.
Seriously, I have nothing against Michaëlle Jean or the individual touted as her replacement, Canada’s Man in Motion, Rick Hansen. True, Hansen doesn’t come with as much baggage as Jean, who had to deny that she was a separatist and renounce her French citizenship. True, Hansen does live in British Columbia, which is almost as far from Ottawa as France, but the “British” part works in his favour.
Now, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is trying to stir the pot by recommending Jean’s term be extended, contending that she’s a more meaningful, meaningless figurehead than any replacement meaningless figurehead.
Attaboy Iggy, you sure know how to pick an issue. It’s not as if we don’t have any real problems.
Every five years, I hope — in vain, it turns out — we will seriously look at retiring the vestigial servitude that goes with a constitutional monarchy and emerge as the True North Strong and Free To Be Us. And every five years, it turns out we still don’t have the jam to take our place among the real nations of the world.
Still, it’s not too late. We’ve just had a shot of real national pride by staging the greatest Olympic Games the world has ever seen. It’s time to build on that and give the Queen, her ridiculous family and her ceremonial hand-puppets their walking papers.
God Save Us from the Queen.
Paul Sullivan is a Vancouver-based journalist and owner of Sullivan Media Consulting;