16 August 2011

Peter MacKay, "royal" privilege, and the unelected Senate

Canadians can hardly escape the "royal" connection. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Royal Canadian Mint, the Royal Ontario Museum ... the list is endless. To say nothing of the royal visage staring out at us from our currency. All appropriate I suppose as the royal family provides our head of state.

I am bemused, nonetheless, at Defence Minister Peter MacKay's enthusiasm for returning to the "royal" air force and navy. After all, aren't the Conservatives the strongest critics of our unelected Senate? And yet here is a Conservative government applauding our allegiance to not only an unelected head of state but a foreign one at that. At least the Senate is appointed by our elected representatives thus achieving a modicum of democratic respectability. The Queen, imposed on us by an accident of birth, doesn't even have that to her credit. Indeed, democracy is triply insulted—a foreign, unelected head of state chosen by aristocratic privilege.

I suppose I should not be surprised that conservatives support this arrangement. They are, after all, firm believers in privilege. And as to this country cleaving to an archaic institution ... well, that's very conservative, too. So, I am left wondering, why are they fussing about the Senate?

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