Sunday, June 17, 2012
Jubilee barge and cultural gulf
As a Canadian, I've known the Queen since she ascended the throne when I was two. I still have the souvenir biscuit tin my mother bought to celebrate her Coronation.
Seeing the Royal Barge on the Thames a few weeks before the recent Jubilee celebrations made me think about the differing cultural attitudes between Canada and the UK.
Though in practice the application of our democracy has been and remains deeply flawed, Canadians still place great value on the social ideal of egalitarianism.
The whole idea of monarchy, with its ancient practice of male primogeniture and the Royal motto of Dieu et mon droit flies in the face of the notion of equal rights for all.
Technically, Canada is a monarchy, but it doesn't feel like one. A great deal of our loyalty to Elizabeth II stems from historic familiarity. After her era, will Canadians be willing to extend such loyalty to her son Charles? I find it hard to imagine.
Yet even though today the idea of inheriting a throne seems weirdly outdated, the presence of a monarch (even though she does not govern) does lend government a feeling of stability. While elected Members come and go, the Queen remains.