A Canadian Queen?

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Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan

Having celebrated “the Queen’s birthday”, a long colonial tradition, doesn’t
the event make us wonder why its Victoria? We don’t celebrate King Alfred’s

Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan

Having celebrated “the Queen’s birthday”, a long colonial tradition, doesn’t
the event make us wonder why its Victoria? We don’t celebrate King Alfred’s
birthday, nor that of the last King of France, nor the dukes of various Duchies. Why, and why not?  And why, right at the bottom of everything, do we celebrate another country’s monarch?
We are preparing to celebrate our nation’s 150th anniversary in a few weeks. Shouldn’t we launch our next 150 years with a new trajectory, a new vision of ourselves, one looking forward to unity, not backwards to the conquest?
We are also about to have another Royal Tour.  A couple of scantily
educated Royals will tour a couple of provinces with their couple of kids – and we will pay their more than a couple of bills. There will be spectators lining the routes, a few weeping at catching sight of an actual Royal. Our media will gag itself (again) with effusive coverage. In the end, they’ll depart, nothing accomplished, no wars averted, no universities launched, but guaranteed we’ll be poorer, by millions.  Does all this make sense? Any of it? We don’t have better purposes for our tax dollars?  Like research? First Nations’ water supplies?
Yes, some go crazy over Royals from another country, but not any other
country; this is the colonizer, the Empire which established . . . some of our nation. We are celebrating so long past the conquest and after the repatriation of our constitution, what are we really celebrating? Aren’t we inadvertently celebrating all of that country’s involvement in our nation? Including the destruction of our country’s indigenous cultures and populations? Are we celebrating the smallpox-filled blankets shipped from London to be distributed to the natives? Celebrating a war crime, that would be, and many of them.
I understand that feelings run high, and that many people feel an attachment to the monarchy in general. They argue that it creates a sense of continuity and stability; that it frees the legislators from ceremonial duties (if we foot the Royals’ bills). It also, in theory, creates one more check in the checks and balances democracy seems to require.  But couldn’t we celebrate a monarchy, just not one from a collapsed European empire?
How do monarchies begin? Usually it’s some brute at the head of a legion of privateers who conquers power and declares himself king.  Canadians can do better. We’re not about to elect King Trump, or anything like that, but we could set up our own Royal House.  Traditions begin somewhere, so we could start our own; someone from a noble people, familiar with Canadian conditions and challenges. Not one from the jet-set.
On a recent business trip, a friend suggested that we seek out the oldest Inuit family in our nation, and invest them as Canadian royalty.  We make the choice on the basis of age – the oldest indigenous genome we can find among Inuit families. 
Canada calls for volunteer Inuit families, each is tested for its genetic make-up, and we pick the family with the oldest identifiable genome. How’s that for tradition, for honouring the past?  I’d opt for a female line, a matriarchy — that’s ancient. The
patriarchies of the world haven’t, and still don’t, seem so successful. An Inuit Queen, with an exotic name, would fire imaginations.
Not only would we be respecting age, time, and our own history, these Royals might be much more economical. That’s a Canadian trait.  Fewer travel bills, less expensive tastes. And, surely, more interesting speakers. They’d have something to say. To us.