This is not just a tea and crumpets fan club, but a group working to establish an Anglo-Saxon hierarchy in a multicultural country.
Not only were they behind the change to our military, restoring the 'Royal' to its name and the crown to its symbolism, but they were also responsible for the ridiculous new citizenship guide, a throwback to the 1950s.
New Canadians must again pledge allegiance to the Queen and her heirs, and the only commitment to Canada is to uphold our laws.
Our government suggests that these moves are to "right a wrong". In other words, we should never have stopped paying homage to a foreign dignitary, and placing their interests above our own.
However, instead of taking direction from the Monarchists, Canada's neocons might want to pick up a history book; one not written by Paleoconservative Peter Brimelow.
Facts, Facts and More Facts
My husband and I recently purchased a large collection of military books from the estate of a former officer in the Canadian air force. There are over 150, and what we liked about them, was that they were written during the wars they covered, better capturing the mood of the nation.
Most books today on the subject, focus too much on battles and their outcomes.
We've only owned them for a day, so I've just thumbed through them; but one caught my attention, so I stayed up last night until I finished it. It was written in 1939, just after the invasion of Poland, by Canadian scholar, Watson Kirkconnell (1895-1977).
In response to a comment left after my last posting on the topic, I reminded my reader that Canada did not enter WWII for Britain, and in fact when Louis St. Laurent was acting as secretary of state for external affairs, Great Britain's foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, thanked Canada for coming to their assistance "during the darkest days of World War 11". St. Laurent immediately set the record straight. In his reply to Bevin he went out of his way to emphasize that Canada's declaration of war had been an independent decision made by the country's elected representatives, that it was prompted by the nation's determination to fight Nazism and had nothing whatever to do with helping Britain. (The Making of a Peacemonger: The Memoirs of George Ignatieff, By Sonja Sinclair, University of Toronto Press, ISBN: 0-8020-2556-0, p. 108)
Kirkconnell in his 1939 book Canada, Europe and Hitler, validates this claim. In describing the public sentiment as Canada was heading to war, he shares a quote by Lord Tweedsmuir, who on October 12, 1938, stated: "A Canadians first loyalty is not to the British Commonwealth of Nations, but to Canada, and those who deny this are doing to my mind, a great disservice to the Commonwealth." (Oxford University Press, p. 108)
When my father went overseas, it was not to fight for Britain, but for Canada. He was Acadian on his mother's side, and Irish Catholic on his father's, so had little respect for the British monarchy. The only thing England ever gave him was a nurse he met at a dance. My mother, who arrived here as a war bride.
Without knowing how long the war would last, how many casualties we would suffer, or what defining battles would take place, Kirkconnell provides some very compelling insight on Canada's decision to go to war, that blows the idea of an Anglo-Saxon dominance out of the water.
Quebec Premier, Maurice Duplessis, felt that French-Canadians should stay out of the conflict, and challenged conscription. This caused a rift in his own party, with several members jumping ship, including Gilbert Layton, Jack Layton's grandfather.
Feeling confident that Quebec citizens would agree with him, Duplessis called a snap election, despite the fact that he had two more years to govern. As a result, his 76 seats were reduced to 16, and the Liberals won 66. " Quebec has proudly proclaimed to the world that it believes in a national unity wider that that envisaged by the strident isolationism of Mr. Duplessis and his kind". (p. 113)
This vindicated our integrity as a nation. We had a shared enemy and a shared interest.
Kirkconnell concluded the chapter by saying: "... it may in the end paradoxically prove true that Adolf Hitler, without intending any such consummation, has done more than any other force in the world to make Canada a nation."
But What of King and Country?
In the First World War, many Canadians rallied under the cry of "for King and Country". However, as many historians point out, the simple fact was that most who answered that call, had been born in Britain, so were heading home to fight for their country. In fact, Desmond Morton in his 1994, When Your Number is Up: the Canadian Soldier in the First World War, concluded that "Seventy percent of the men who enlisted in the CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force) were British immigrants, even though British immigrants were just eleven percent of Canada’s population. Anglo-Saxon Canadians whose ancestors had lived in North America for generations had low enlistment rates similar to those seen in French Canadian communities."
If you peruse the attestation papers on the Government of Canada website, Morton's argument appears valid, especially for those who signed up at the beginning of the war.
This notion that we are who we are, only because of the contribution of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) males, is an insult to our rich cultural heritage.
"... the notion that some Reform members may have strong Anglo-Saxon nativist inclinations is supported by more than merely the background profiles of its leaders, members and supporters. It is supported also by the words of many of its ideological mentors who depict Canada as not only historically an Anglo-Saxon country but also part of a wider Anglo-Saxon culture that is in need of recognizing and re-establishing its heritage.This is why we have to challenge the Monarchist League of Canada at every turn. Not their right to exist. Many Canadians like the tradition of the Royal Family. For my dad, there were two. His own and the Montreal Canadians. He probably would have gone to war wearing their logo.
"Read for example Peter Brimelow's words bemoaning the eclipse of Anglo-Saxon hegemony. 'At the end of the nineteenth century, belief in the superiority of the Anglo Saxon values ... (was) the most social norm in every English-speaking country ... For WASP supremacists everywhere, however, the twentieth century has been a most distressing experience.' (Of Passionate Intensity: Right-Wing Populism and the Reform Party of Canada, By Trevor Harrison Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995. ISBN: 0-8020-7204-6, p. 120-121)
When JFK visited Canada in 1961, observers claimed that he drew larger crowds than were there for the Queen and Prince Philip on a recent visit", and he "created the biggest traffic jam" in Ottawa's history. (Kennedy & Diefenbaker: The Feud That Helped Topple a Government, By Knowlton Nash, McClelland & Stewart, 1991, ISBN: 0-7710-6711-9, p. 108).
I don't know of any head count, but no doubt President Obama's first visit to Canada was just as well attended as that of Will and Kate's, and definitely more than that of Charles and Camilla.
Canada chooses her own heroes and for a variety of reasons, and those who deny that, do a great disservice to our country.