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Thread: Why Does Canada Cling to British Colonial Roots?

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    Why Does Canada Cling to British Colonial Roots?

    Back in 1982 when I was the Star's bureau chief in Ottawa, I met Lord Moran, who then was the British high commissioner to Canada.

    Our meeting was cordial, but I got the distinct impression that Lord Moran, whose real name is John Wilson, was completely bored with our session, as well as with Ottawa, Canada and Canadians as a whole.

    From his pompous attitude, which stuffy Brits like Lord Moran carry off so well, it was clear he saw most Canadians as inferior colonials with limited talents and even less curiosity.

    Turns out my first impression was right, as evidenced by a 1984 dispatch that Lord Moran, who was high commissioner from 1981 to 1984, sent to London on his departure from Ottawa.

    The letter, obtained by the BBC from the British Foreign Office under Freedom of Information legislation and made public earlier this week, trashes Canadians in general, our politicians, especially the late Pierre Trudeau, our writers, actors and even our skiers.

    Reading the six-page letter, titled "Final Impressions of Canada," reminded me of that meeting with Lord Moran.

    It also made me wonder why, if top British diplomats like him hold us in such low esteem, Canada continues to cling to its British colonial roots, complete with having us acknowledge Queen Elizabeth as "the Queen of Canada."

    It's a question Canadians should be asking during the coming 11-day visit to Canada by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, which starts Nov. 2.

    When his 83-year-old mother eventually dies, Charles will become "the King of Canada."

    Now, Charles may be a decent guy on some level, but I doubt many Canadians want him as our "king."

    Those who do are likely part of the tiny pro-monarchist set who see everything British, especially culture and royalty, as superior.

    For them, Wilson, now 85, could be a poster boy.

    Born into an aristocratic family, he is still a member of the House of Lords. But this is a lord with an attitude of superiority all too pervasive among British upper classes.

    In his final letter, Lord Moran wrote dismissively of Canadians, all the while boasting of how much better life was in the homeland.

    "One does not encounter here the ferocious competition of talent that takes place in the United Kingdom ... Anyone who is even moderately good at what they do – in literature, the theatre, skiing or whatever – tends to become a national figure, and anyone who stands out at all from the crowd tends to be praised to the skies and given the Order of Canada at once."

    Did his lordship never read a book by Margaret Atwood? Or see a play with Christopher Plummer?

    To the delight of today's right-wing bloggers, he hated Trudeau.

    "He has never entirely shaken off his past as a well-to-do hippie and draft dodger," Wilson wrote. "He is an odd fish and his own worst enemy, and on the whole I think his influence on Canada in the past 16 years has been detrimental."

    He said the level of debate in the Commons was terrible and added that "the majority of Canadian ministers are unimpressive and a few we have found frankly bizarre."

    And he tut-tutted that the Canadian public "tends to shrug its shoulders when the press or television report yet another scandal."

    I hope Lord Moran was properly outraged by the scandals that rocked Britain this year when dozens of MPs were found to have used public money for their personal expenses, such as cleaning their moats.

    Lord Moran was partly correct, though, when he said Canadians are sensitive to "any expressed or implied British sneers about Canada as `boring,' and perhaps somewhat lacking in self-confidence."

    That's because many Canadians are indeed offended when snobbish, class-ridden British nobility tell us folks in "the colonies" that we aren't up to their standards.

    We don't need to take any lessons from silly British diplomats.

    What we do need is mutual respect from Britain and its official representatives. That's the minimum we should expect from London in return for having Canadians pledge allegiance to their Queen.

    If we can't get even that, then we should tell the Queen and Prince Charles that we are cutting all our outdated colonial ties to the monarchy and Britain, and that we will start acting like a fully independent country in the 21st century.

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    Why Does Canada Cling to British Colonial Roots?
    I would say it's because of much of the Canadian people's pride in their British Roots. I think that the above statement also holds true for the citizens of "Grand Cayman Island", as well. From what remember, this was especially apparent in Ontario, when I went there with my parents, as a kid. This was especially evident in "Grand Cayman", which I visited in 2006.

    The birth of a nation, the Canadian Corps captures Vimy Ridge

    The "Trench Line" of World War I was surely hell on Earth. Stagnant, many failed charges across "no man's land," artillery fire, sniper fire, smoke, gas, rain, sleet, snow, cold, wind, malnourishment, disease, no end in sight to the agony and death from November 1914 until April 1917. What had the Germans inflicted on mankind by splitting Europe in two and committing millions of fine young men to terror and death deserved by no man? On April 9, 1917, after many months of planning, training, and digging, a Canadian Corps, the Canadian Corps of four Canadian Infantry Divisions, supported by intensive British and Canadian artillery, lurched out of their holes and tunnels and captured the previously impregnable Vimy Ridge in France, in just one day. The Huns were defeated, the Canadians held the Ridge, the Allies saw they could win. Perpetual hellish stalemate was not inevitable. The Canadians? Well, they among many endured an enormous sacrifice, but they also saw the birth of their nation, a prize every Canadian and American should cherish forever.

    May 30, 2004

    Editor's note: Since publishing this article, we have received an input from Mr. Geoff Harestad, which amplifies this article. It has been placed in the right column. Once you finish with this article, we urge you to read his comments, entitled, "Vimy Ridge was all Canada!" His comments are a good read and, I might say, invigorating and uplifting. February 5, 2005

    At 5:30 AM, April 9, 1917, the Canadian Corps, consisting of four Canadian infantry divisions, stormed up Vimy Ridge, France, and by the end of the day, had captured the Ridge, claiming the first major Allied victory over Germany of World War I (WWI).

    This victory was important for many reasons. It was one of many battles that occurred during this time period that attempted to break through the German lines. The Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge was the only important gain made among all these battles. It provided a firm anchor for the British drive against the Germans that would occur in 1918.

    Long term, as you will see, the victory marked the birth of Canada as an independent nation.
    Full Article:
    The Cayman Islands highest official is the Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Stuart Jack, CVO, who is the appointed representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He presides over Cabinet, the ruling body of the country. Mr. Jack succeeded Mr. Bruce Dinwiddy, CMG. The Governor's term is four years.

    The existing constitution of the Cayman Islands, introduced on August 22, 1972, provides for the government of the Cayman Islands as a British Overseas Territory. It established a governing body called the Cabinet, which consists of three officials and five elected members, the latter being selected from the 15 elected representatives of the Legislative Assembly.

    The three Official Members of Cabinet are civil servants appointed by the Governor to the positions of Chief Secretary, Financial Secretary and Attorney General, and they have seats in the Legislative Assembly.

    In February 1994 a constitutional amendment introduced a new ministerial form of government. Our five elected Members of Cabinet are now called Ministers, with portfolio responsibilities assigned by the Governor. In addition, a District Commissioner, Mr. Kenny Ryan, MBE, represents the Governor in the Sister Islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

    For additional information on the Cayman Islands Government visit: or
    Retrieved From:
    A British/Canadian Perspective

    Sea power was Britain's pride and glory, and it was imperative to its defense. In the early 1800s, Britain was engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the Napoleonic Empire, and the Royal Navy was the only thing that prevented Napoleon from crossing the Channel and conquering Britain.
    Despite the navy's acute need for sailing crews, thousands of British seamen chose to jump ship in favour of a more comfortable and profitable position with the American merchant marine.

    Wartime necessity justified the recapture of "deserters" from any ship. Even deserters who had adopted the American nationality were not immune from seizure as the Royal Navy adhered to a principle of inalienable British citizenship. Besides, American citizenship certificates were frequently assumed to be forged.
    Retrieved From:

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