Archives for December 18, 2019
Will the House of Windsor… fade to black?
As a life-long anti-monarchist, I must admit some delight in the recent discomfiture visited on Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, by his alleged trysts with a teenaged sex slave provided by billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
One of my earliest memories is standing on a suburban Vancouver street corner with my mother, an ardent monarchist, waving a tiny Red Ensign as a police-escorted caravan of limos sped past. The windows were darkened, but apparently it was the Queen’s more interesting sister, Margaret, in town to help BC celebrate its centennial in 1958.
I didn’t understand the excitement. And a few years later I began grappling with the contradiction between democratic ideals and the fact that I couldn’t grow up to be king because I wasn’t born into the right family.
This confusion led fairly quickly to a bedrock conviction that being subject to a gang of hereditarily entitled toffs from another country just wasn’t on.
More recently, however, it’s becoming clear that the monarchy really doesn’t matter very much and that within my children’s lifetimes it will probably be lost to the slagheap of history.
But back to Randy Andy.
Given that the Queen/King of England remains nominally the sovereign of our country, two questions arise: “Where does this reprobate fall in the line of Royal succession? Could he ever become King of Canada?”
Fortunately, it would take a Royal tragedy beyond Shakespearian proportions for Andrew to ascend to the throne.
When he was born, he was second in line, behind the Queen’s first born, Prince Charles. But through time and the arcane rules of succession, Andrew has dropped to eighth in the pecking order behind the progeny and grandchildren of Charles.
Next comes Prince William, the prematurely balding first-born son of Charles and the tragic Princess Diana, and husband of the vivacious Kate Middleton.
(There is a school of thought that Queen Elizabeth might abdicate in the next few years and appoint the popular William to replace her, bypassing the fusty and wildly unpopular Charles. The palace, of course, denies any such plot is in the works.)
Then come William and Kate’s three kids, George, 6, Charlotte, 4, and Louis, 1.
Coming it at number six is Elizabeth’s other grandson, Harry, the ginger-haired husband of toothsome American TV star Meagan Markle. Their son, Archie, is seventh in line.
Only then, way down at number eight, do we find Andrew. So, it seems a safe bet that he can continue to pursue his hobbies without fear of having to don the crown. And Canadians can breathe a sigh.
And it’s likely that a sigh or a yawn is all we’ll muster. Anti-monarchy ardour is at a low ebb these days. Even though most of us would just as soon see the monarchy stay in England and leave us alone, we really don’t care very much.
An Ispos poll at the end of 2016 found that more than half of Canadians think that when Elizabeth dies, the country should cut ties with the monarchy. About 61 per cent believe that the Queen and Royal Family should not have any formal role in Canadian society, as “the Royals are simply celebrities and nothing more.”
But, University of Waterloo poli-sci professor Emmett Macfarlane told Global News that even though Canadians aren’t crazy about the Royals, “I think if you ask people where this lines up on their list of priorities, or how important this is relative to things like our own domestic politics or issues such as health care or education, I suspect it’s really low on the list.”
The gradual waning of a Royal presence has been going on for decades.
One could argue it officially started with the replacement of the Red Ensign with Canada’s own Maple Leaf flag in 1965.
About a decade later then-PM Pierre Trudeau performed his purposefully disrespectful pirouette behind the back of the Queen, who was busily shaking hands in a receiving line.
Even the Royal face on our currency is slowly going away. She remains on our coins, but has been replaced by former prime ministers on all the folding money except the twenty.
There seems little reason to believe that the gradual erosion of Royal presence in Canada won’t continue, particularly after Elizabeth dies and passes the orb and sceptre to Charles or William or whomever.
(That could take a while, of course. The female Windsor’s are a hardy breed. The Queen Mother lived to 101 and, according to The Independent, Elizabeth, 94, follows the same daily regimen that begins with a stiff Dubonnet and gin in the late morning, wine with lunch, a martini before dinner and champagne with the evening meal.)
Once the succession occurs, let’s hope that governments at all levels simply take down the ubiquitous portraits of the Queen and not replace them. Or perhaps put up pictures of the Canadian Governor General.
Maybe her image on our coins can be replaced by profiles of Canadian artists or scientists or humanitarians.
And over a few decades perhaps a national consensus will emerge to allow a constitutional amendment to remove English royals completely from the fabric of the country.
Oliver-Osyoos Search and Rescue was awarded a grant of $100,000 to build a truck and trailer station in support of search and rescue efforts.
The funds are part of $5 million released province-wide through community gaming grants.
“We are excited to see these investments take shape as they will have a profoundly beneficial effect on people and communities throughout British Columbia,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson in a news release Friday.
May 13th on ODN
Oliver and Osoyoos Search and Rescue seeking support for a grant to erect a new building to store equipment. The group is seeking provincial grant monies. OOSR also seeking more land adjacent to the present location. Town staff are not recommending an expansion of land of 20 more metres in length.
The building would contain three drive through bays and be 48 by 60 feet in size.
Monday – council meeting as a committee agreed with the proposal over ruling a recommendation of staff.
Council will grant a 20 metre lot expansion to the north – contingent on a successful grant application for a new and large vehicle storage building.
I cuddle my blanket whenever she goes.
It’s lonely alone, as every dog knows.
I wait in the silence for her to come home,
for when she is here, I’m not alone.
I don’t drink very much so I won’t have to pee.
Peeing inside would humiliate me.
But holding it hours can be just the worst.
My bladder – it feels like it’s going to burst.
Sometimes I just lay there. Sometimes I sleep.
Occasionally, while waiting, I start to weep.
The hours are long as I stay home and I wait …
that’s part of being a dog that I hate.
I listen for footsteps or the sound of the car,
because when I hear them I know she’s not far.
And oh, when I hear them, I get so excited!
I know she is home and I am delighted.
I get to my feet and my blood starts to pump.
I rush to the door and get ready to jump.
I bark and I jump and I kiss my hello.
I love her so much, and I want her to know.
Now that she’s home, the long hours fade.
We rest by the fire after we’ve played.
I sleep on her bed right next to her,
and bask in the way she pets my fur.
All I know now is this moment of bliss.
When she’s ready to sleep she gives me a kiss.
My world now is good, everything right.
I burrow down in the blankets and sigh my goodnight.
Artwork by Lillian Sim
Tucked away in the pages of memory I recall how merchants went out of their way to decorate the stores for the Christmas Season. In recent years the tradition withdrew into a bit of a visual absence. At first many chalked it up to the cost of doing it. I spent the last several days in Calgary and it is nice to see the decorating spirit is returning to shop window, and the critical eye of shoppers is not focused on being critical these days but rather enjoyed.
Unfortunately for a long time it has become the brunt of undue criticism in many areas. In fact it became a no win for anyone as merchants were in some cases criticized if they did and chastised if they didn’t decorate.
A short term solution? The Happy Holiday debate that in some cases became worse. So how did we get here? Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday, who is right, and is anyone wrong?
We have to go to the well of history for an answer. To start with for those arguing you are all right. For those in the strictest tradition, Merry Christmas is fully acceptable. For those who are using Happy Holiday, believe it or not you are being just as respectful.
See the term Happy Holiday is not the creation of Walmart, or Coca-Cola or any other commercial enterprise. Oh for sure in the late eighteen hundreds advertising in major centers used the term to create more secular involvement, but that was not the origin of Happy Holiday. The craze did not start in the nineteen thirties either as scores of other believe. No it goes back much further than that.
When those who argue with their heart in the spiritual tradition
that Merry Christmas is the only response and the secular folks argue for Happy Holiday or Holidays, both sides miss the point.
The word Holiday actually comes from the Old English words Holy Day or Holy Days. And the terms origins begin around nine fifty AD,
I just thought it would be nice to know we’ve all been arguing for nothing and saying the same thing.
So Merry Christmas or if you like or Happy Holidays if you prefer.
Editor’s Note: some people ask me – who is this Fred Steele. Follow him on Facebook. A former broadcaster in the Okanagan, raised on a farm and when the microphone failed one day he returned to the land near Kelowna and was elected a number of times as the leader who could speak to government – President of the BC Fruit Growers. Merry Christmas Fred….
The Crime and Safety Committee decided to recommend – hiring a Traffic Engineering consultant that would look at various traffic calming & safety measures between the four way stop at McKinney/Park Dr, over the bridge, along Fairview Road up to Okanagan Avenue.
Public Works will set up the speed reader to collect data along Fairview Rd in various locations and remind people it is 50km/h for the next several weeks.
– Shawn Goodsell, Operations Manager
“The committee agreed with Michael Guthrie that there are several areas of concern related to pedestrian safety on Fairview Rd. between Okanagan Street and McKinney Rd. The areas of concern included the road section in front of the Post Office, the intersection at Station Street and the pedestrian crossing located on the West end of the bridge…..
The committee also felt that re-design of these road sections, intersections and pedestrian crossing would better serve to improve safety in these areas. As a result the committee recommendation to Council, is to engage a traffic consultant to review the section of Fairview Road from Okanagan St. to McKinney Rd., specifically from a pedestrian safety perspective. The expectation is to receive recommendations on re-design options that, once implemented, will provide long lasting and improved pedestrian safety. In addition, before starting, the consultant will meet with the committee in a workshop format to review all concerns related to this road section.”