LETTER: Break free from Royalty

Like a toothache or a bad case of gas, a visit to Canada by the British Royals can really spoil the day.

Like a toothache or a bad case of gas, a visit to Canada by the British Royals can really spoil the day.

It’s quite enough having these aliens in our midst; worse is the clucking and fawning from monarchists and the media about the wonder of all things Royal.

What must be remembered here is that the Royals sit at the pinnacle of the British aristocracy, a pampered universe whose inhabitants, by accident of birth, might inherit a title or a fortune or, if they belong to the House of Windsor, become King or Queen of the United Kingdom and distant realms, Canada among them.

There is no requirement here for accomplishment or achievement. There is no recognition of merit. This is a genetic crap shoot, a fluke lottery that requires nothing more of the winners than that they be born. And it’s open only to the progeny of the Windsors. There are no seats at the lucky lottery table for those with last names like O’Callaghan, Cohen, Khan, Wong or Mohamed (good Canadian names all).

It is long past time for Canada to break with this spavined institution. It is long past time for Canadians to stop bowing and scraping in front of foreigners. We need to devise and implement a system that allows us to choose our own head of state — someone who symbolizes Canadian ideals of hard work, merit, diversity and equality of opportunity. Someone who lives on Canadian soil. Someone who is free of archaic ties to class, entitlement, ethnic privilege and official religion.

Happily there is no shortage of worthy Canadians to fill the office. Our country abounds with women and men of dignity, compassion, intelligence and accomplishment who would make a fine head of state. We just have to get on with it.

Realistically, this cannot be accomplished by next July when we celebrate our 150th birthday. But it is certainly possible to have a procedure in place by the time Queen Elizabeth passes on. She is now 90. The Queen Mother lived to 101, and Elizabeth appears likely to hit the century mark as well. That gives us a decade or perhaps more to select a Canadian head of state and, at long last, fully secure our independence, something we will not do until we break with the British Throne. To paraphrase Charles de Gaulle, Vive le Canada libre.

Peter Maser

Penticton