Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Keep Saluting Our Queen

by Ian Holloway, National Post

Captain Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh (until recently, Harold Kenny), a professor of physics at the Royal Military College and an officer in the Canadian Forces Reserves, has sued the government for what he alleges to be a "degrading" policy of requiring officers to stand during the loyal toast and salute during the playing of God Save the Queen. News reports suggest that Capt. Chainnigh has been fighting the policy for five years and has had his grievance denied by both the Canadian Forces Grievance Board and General Rick Hillier, the Chief of the Defence Staff. Capt. Chainnigh is now asking the federal court to declare the requirement to pay respect to the Crown as unlawful on the basis that it amounts to what he describes as "institutional harassment." In his public comments on the case, Capt. Chainnigh has repeatedly described Queen Elizabeth as a "foreign monarch." The news report says that his objection "is based on the premise that while Canadian law allows anyone to question the role of the monarchy in governing our country, officers have to shelve their beliefs and show loyalty to the Queen at events such as mess dinners, parades or Remembrance Day ceremonies, where they must salute for God Save The Queen."

It is clear what the federal court should do with respect to Capt. Chainnigh's suit. There are intellectually respectable reasons for arguing that Canada should become a republic. But to suggest that under current law the Queen is a foreign monarch is quite ridiculous. Even the most superficial reading of Canada's constitution makes this obvious. Section 9 of the Constitution Act, 1867 declares that executive authority over Canada is vested in the Queen. Section 17 provides that, along with the Senate and House of Commons, the Queen constitutes one of the three branches of Parliament. And, most pertinently of all, section 15 declares that the Queen is the Commander in Chief of the Canadian Forces.

Capt. Chainnigh's mistake is to confuse the freedom of conscience with the freedom of action. The fact is that, like every Canadian, Capt. Chainnigh is entitled to his own belief system. He is free to exercise his conscience at the ballot box to vote for candidates who are in favour of Canada becoming a republic. He is free to make a statement by changing his name to its Irish version. He is even free to resign his commission and to seek elected office himself, in order to better make the case for a republic. But as long as he wants the privilege of being able to describe himself as an officer (in Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, no less), it hardly seems harassment to expect him to acknowledge the plain terms of the constitution. It is not up to him, or to any member of the Canadian Forces for that matter, to pick and choose which provisions of the constitution he wants to uphold. As an old Chief Yeoman of mine once put it, once you take the Queen's shilling you have to take the rough with the smooth.

With the exception of the Monarchist League, many Canadian monarchists have fallen into the blunder of seeking to avoid confrontation by minimizing the constitutional centrality of the Crown in Canada. As much as Capt. Chainnigh might wish it otherwise, the bottom line is that ours is a thoroughly monarchical system of government. We are a constitutional monarchy to be sure, but we are a monarchy all the same. Those like him, who hold publicly-conferred office yet who deny or belittle our system of government, are themselves arguably behaving contemptuously of Canada and its institutions. Happily, both the Canadian Forces Grievance Board and Gen. Hiller seem to have been robust in their denial of Capt. Chainnigh's grievance. Now it will be interesting to see how staunchly the government of Canada is willing to defend the constitution.

10 comments:

Hugh MacIntyre said...

As a loyal anti-monarchist I actually have to agree with you on this one. The Queen is the official head of the Canadian military and that position should be respected. It should be changed but until a plurality of people can agree on that change there should be respect for our none-Canadian head of state.

Beaverbrook said...

Loyal anti-monarchist? Are you suggesting that you are a republican, but so long as we choose to keep the monarchy, you'll remain loyal? I suppose that's fair enough.

Scott said...

Flog the Irish whelp.

Anonymous said...

Can't say as I've ever been a big reader of the National Post, however I agree whole heartedly with this article. It just goes to show, even with those in the military and government, the complete lack of understanding of the Canadian Constitution and way of life.

BaronVonServers said...

If he'll not do his Duty to Her Majesty the Queen of Canada, he should, at the very least, be dismissed from service. (And once he's no longer an officer in Her Majesty's Service, then perhaps the flogging should begin!).

redtown said...

When he accepted his commission, he took an oath of allegiance to the Queen and to the Constitution which affirms Elizabeth as “Queen of Canada”. If he can’t uphold his oath while on duty, he should resign his commission. No one is forcing him to salute the Queen.

But don’t be surprised if some activist judges find merit in his suit; the lunatics are running the asylum.

Splendor Sine Occasu said...

If he wants to be some kind of great Irish patriot, why doesn't he move there?

Bearhunter said...

"Flog the Irish whelp"
Heh, that's the British answer to everything, isn't it? But seriously, this guy's a sap. If he doesn't want to salute, let him quit the army. I never heard the like of it and I'm an avowed Republican. As for moving to Ireland, I assume he has no right of abode or citizenship there, if he is Canadian.

Roy Eappen said...

This guy need to resign his commision. If he wants to fight this battle let him do it on his own time. I wrote a letter to the National Post on the subject.

Younghusband said...

This guy's still around in the news?