Monarchists criticize ‘dull’ and ’embarrassing’ plans for Canada’s Platinum Jubilee


Monarchists in Canada say they are disappointed with what they call the federal government’s ‘lackluster’ plans to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, an event that honors the sovereign’s remarkable seven-decade reign.

Monarchists say the federal government’s ‘indifference’ to the historic event – which they see in the lack of official events, the absence of a Jubilee Medal to celebrate community service and a limited three-day royal tour by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall – amounts to an insult to the Queen’s heritage.

“It’s actually embarrassing. I won’t say shameful but it’s embarrassing. I think we’re a better country than this and I don’t think it represents who we are,” said John Fraser, the founder of the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada, told CBC News.

“We are the number one dominion, so it would have been nice if the federal government had shown some interest,” Fraser said, citing Canada’s senior status within the Commonwealth of Nations and its close historical ties to the Crown.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visit Canada House in London on May 12, 2022 ahead of their royal tour. (Hannah McKay/Pool via AP Photo)

Canadian Heritage, the federal department responsible for all things royal, has a webpage detailing what Ottawa has planned for the occasion.

Canada Post has published a stamp. The Royal Canadian Mint has issued a set of $250 commemorative coins — the limited series is already sold out. And there will be some sort of exhibit at the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottawa this summer.

Canadian Heritage will unfurl banners in the National Capital Region. Provincial Lieutenant Governors and Territorial Commissioners will dedicate gardens to the Queen.

In the UK there will be a four-day extended long weekend in early June with 1,800 public events and 2,000 street parties planned to celebrate the Queen who, after more than 25,000 days on the throne, is the third longest reigning monarch in the world. the story.

The United Kingdom extensive program also includes official events such as the Trooping of the Color parade, church services, a concert at Buckingham Palace and a special Derby race for the horse-loving Queen.

Rower Natalie Mastracci, left, takes a photo of herself with soccer player Diana Matheson as they display their Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals at a ceremony in Toronto on Friday, Dec. 21 2012. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Australia, another Commonwealth country where the Queen is head of state, has designated June 2-5 as the period to celebrate the reign of Her Majesty. There will be concerts, special events, “thanksgiving services,” the lighting of significant buildings in royal purple, and exhibits across the country.

There is also an online directory of community events to mark what the Australian Government calls “this truly immense achievement” and to “recognize the Queen’s 70 years of dedication and service to Australia”.

In Canada, the federal government announced on Monday – just weeks before other Commonwealth countries are to celebrate the Queen – a $2 million grant to help communities plan their own events in the coming months.

“For more than 70 years, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been a model of dedication and a privileged witness to the growth and achievements of Canadians, as well as the values ​​that unite us,” said Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriquez. , when the funds were announced.

He said the funds “will allow Canadians across the country to learn more about our sovereign, celebrate this historic anniversary and reflect on the meaning of public service in today’s society.”

No jubilee medals

The federal government will not be awarding Jubilee Medals to Canadians this year, as it did for the Money, Gold and diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1977, 2002 and 2012. These medals are traditionally awarded to a select few to recognize significant contributions and achievements.

Workers prepare for Platinum Jubilee celebrations at Buckingham Palace in London on May 6, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne on the death of her father King George VI on February 6, 1952, and the celebrations of the Platinum Jubilee Holiday Weekend will take place June 2-5. (Kristy Wigglesworth/AP Photo)

Instead, Ottawa has contracted out the distribution of “jubilee pins” to the Monarchist League of Canada, a private organization, which has been inundated with requests. As Jubilee Medal recipients are selected, anyone can submit a pin.

Robert Finch, the national president of the Monarchist League, said the group had already sent out “tens of thousands” of pins. Canadian Heritage did not order enough pins to meet demand, Finch said, and there is now a growing backlog of some 20,000 requests.

Finch said it’s a sign that while the government may have planned relatively little, Canadians are eager to celebrate their monarch on this momentous occasion.

“The demand has been absolutely overwhelming. Never in my wildest dreams did I think there would be so much demand,” Finch said in an interview with CBC News.

“We just don’t have any to hand out. That’s a big deal to have. I’d rather be in that scenario than have a bunch of pins that nobody wants.”

Finch said the Monarchist League “has never received a good answer or reasoning as to why Canada shouldn’t have Jubilee Medals” – a program he says has proven to be “a great way to ‘to honor and recognize ordinary Canadians’.

After more than two years of a grueling pandemic, Finch said, awarding medals to overworked healthcare workers and frontline staff would have been a small but meaningful gesture of appreciation from a grateful country.

“It’s unfortunate. There’s no good reason why we couldn’t have done them,” he said.

Three-day royal visit a ‘missed opportunity’: monarchist

Charles and Camilla will arrive in Canada today for a three-day royal tour, with stops in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ottawa and the Northwest Territories – one of many trips made by members of the Royal Family to mark the Platinum Jubilee in the Queen’s Realms.

But the short duration of the visit and the limited itinerary are a disappointment for royal watchers. By comparison, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge took an eight-day tour of the Caribbean earlier this year.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge wave from their plane during the departure ceremony at Lynden Pindling International Airport on March 26, 2022 in Nassau, Bahamas, at the end of their eight-day tour of the Caribbean. (Toby Melville/Getty Images)

Finch said the Canadian tour – which was planned by Canadian Heritage officials with limited input from Clarence House, Prince Charles’ office – skips the country’s largest population centers and entirely snubs Western Canada in favor. “very small and very remote communities”.

“For the monarch to maintain a clientele and a presence in Canada, you have to bring members of the royal family to Canada – and they can’t just come for two or three days,” he said. “It’s a missed opportunity.”

Fraser agreed, calling it “a very small, sad tour”.

Fraser said Canada’s Jubilee program is confusing, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is known to have a warm relationship with the reigning monarch and has met her several times at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle and during Commonwealth summits abroad. He has known her for decades, having first met her when her father, Pierre Trudeau, was prime minister.

On his 94th birthday in 2020, Trudeau said Canada was “grateful for his leadership and unwavering commitment to our country and to the Commonwealth” and praised his “extraordinary service, strength and enduring grace” .

Trudeau also called the Queen a “keeper of many traditions in our country” and, on her 93rd birthday in 2019, said “many Canadians feel a deep appreciation for the Queen.”

Queen Elizabeth II attends the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Windsor, England on Friday May 13, 2022. (Steve Parsons/PA via AP Photo)

Although she is sticking to a much more limited schedule these days due to her advanced age, the Queen personally received Trudeau at Windsor Castle earlier this year after recovering from COVID-19.

After that meeting, Trudeau praised her as “sharp and insightful as ever” and said she was “very interested in what’s happening in Canada.”

Fraser said a combination of the pandemic and politics are likely to blame for the muted Jubilee celebration. Former Governor General Julie Payette’s outrageous tenure as viceregal may also have soured the government on royal traditions, he said.

“Liberal governments of the last 30 or 40 years — and I often vote Liberal — have essentially downplayed the role of the Crown and the monarchy in Canada. It’s in their nature,” he said.

“Liberals underplay and conservatives exaggerate and that’s bad. It should transcend that kind of politics.”