Hey, big news to share: a foreign monarch in a country far, far away has celebrated yet another year of sitting on her, uh, throne.
Well, OK, when you put it that way it doesn’t sound like such a big deal, we admit. So why then have Canadian taxpayers been soaked for millions of dollars to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth winning the equivalent of the Set for Life lottery?
About $3.7 million has been
wasted budgeted for Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medallions that are being handed out to some 60,000 Canadians to honour their contributions to the country (nothing says “special” like receiving an award that has been given out to everyone who has a vowel in their name). Another $2 million has been poured down the drain for events saluting one of the world’s wealthiest pensioners.
And let’s not forget the millions it cost us for the “honour” of hosting members of the Royal family on their Canadian vacation last year (though maybe that – with a day at the spa thrown in – was just the reward they had earned for sitting through a timeshare presentation).
“We are not amused” barely begins to describe the reaction from some of the peons around the Colony.
Let’s start with Gurpreet Singh. Never met the chap, and it seems the committee in charge of doling out the medallions (watch for them soon on EBay, in the collectibles section) hasn’t either. An Indian immigrant who hosts a radio show in B.C., Singh was awarded a medallion – and promptly turned it down.
Mr. Singh, you see, is a staunch anti-monarchist. He’s more than a bit touchy about Britain’s colonization of his homeland, and its subsequent treatment of his peers. So getting some costume jewellery on behalf of Britain’s Queen wasn’t exactly cause for celebration in his household.
Writer Naomi Klein and activist Maud Barlow of the Council for Canadians (so named because the Council for Lefty Canadians Who Believe The Right is the Anti-Christ didn’t fit well on a business card) have also been awarded, and very publicly (and politically) rejected, the medallions.
We are left to wonder who has been responsible for vetting these awards. Presumably it was the same Royal advisors who urged Prince Harry, “Go on, have fun. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
The end result is that, like so many things Royal Family-ish, the commemoration program has become a spectacle, and not in a “Oooh, look, the changing of the guard at the palace” kinda way. More like a “ooh, look, the Kardashians are getting free booze” moment.
That does a disservice to the thousands of Canadians who are worthy of recognition for their work. It also diminishes our country, in the same way that Lance Armstrong has diminished Livestrong.
In future, when we honour our citizens, let’s do it on behalf of our country, maple leaf and all. No foreign figureheads allowed.
And as for those returned medallions, well, maybe The Queen could get off her throne and present them to the royal dishwasher. Paid a king’s ransom of $23,000 a year, he could melt them down and make a few extra bucks.
Image credit: Andrew Parsons / Rex Features