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, 2 October 2007

The Crown in British Columbia

The Queen's newest vice-regal was sworn in as the 28th Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia yesterday amidst pomp and controversy. The Hon. Steven Point impressed me not for becoming the first aboriginal Canadian to be appointed to that position, but because of his decision to wear the traditional Windsor uniform (approved by George III) at the installation ceremony. His recent predecessors made some show at 'modernizing' their appearance, and indeed for a time it looked as though the ostrich-feathered and oak leaf embroidered attire was going to disappear altogether. We can take this as proof that all trends are reversible.

No, the controversy are these large murals in the lower rotunda of the B.C. legislature buildings, which were deliberately covered for the swearing-in ceremony to appease the sensitivity of those present. The Ceremony of the Covered Murals.

They were painted in 1932 to represent B.C.'s early colonial past and apparently depict some of the province's indigenous in a less than dignified manner. The 1997 Speech from the Throne promised to have them removed to a different location.

For years, First Nations leaders have expressed serious concern about the way Aboriginal people are portrayed in these murals – in passive, stereotypical and demeaning roles.

In 2001, an independent five-person advisory panel unanimously recommended the murals be removed and relocated.

In the spirit of the New Relationship commitment to reconciliation, B.C. has committed to working with the First Nations Leadership Council and the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations to develop a process for removal and replacement of the murals.

Queen Victoria towers over her namesake capital city in front of B.C.'s Parliament.

The flag of B.C. reflecting its proud affinity for the Crown and all things British.

Rising regally on the banks of Victoria's Inner Harbour, the Empress Hotel. The Empress is well-renowned for its tradition of serving afternoon tea in the classic, Edwardian tradition.

The Arms of Her Majesty in Right of British Columbia with motto, Splendor Sine Ocassu: Splendour Without Diminishment.

Through the beauty of heraldry, important elements in the character of B.C. are revealed: its heritage as a constitutional monarchy; its historic position in the Empire and Commonwealth; and the riches of its natural environment. The evolution of the Coat of Arms took over a century: When British Columbia joined Canada in 1871 it had no official heraldry although in the colonial period the Royal Arms, including the Royal Crest of the crowned lion standing on the imperial crown, was widely used on official documents. This was general practice throughout the Empire, although in B.C.'s case, the Royal Crest flanked by the initials "B.C." was used as a type of provincial insignia. Interestingly, this use of the Royal Crest, meant to express the strong tie British Columbians felt to Britain and Queen Victoria, who had taken a special interest in the creation of the colony, was undertaken without any authorization by the Sovereign.

For The Monarchist, this is home sweet home.

Update: Andrew Cusack out does me


Juan Tolentino said...

Home sweet home...that means you live near me :D Perhaps I've run into you with knowing it...

"Splendor sine occasu", indeed, the best of the provincial mottos.

Beaverbrook said...

My home away from home, to be exact. I grew up there and lived most of my life on the left coast.

By the way, I am noticing a huge disappearing act on the top part of this post. I have no idea what could be causing this on again, off again glitch with the template. Please let me know if you notice the same. I am less than pleased, to be it mildly.

El Jefe Maximo said...

I do like the Viceregal ceremonial dress, especially the hat. You Canadians do ceremony wonderfully: I wish some of it would rub off down here.

James said...

So many examples of the Canadian monarchy all around us and yet only 5% know who our head of state is. Now more than 50% want to abolish the monarchy (albeit the result comes from skewed poll questions). How stupid *are* people?

Dundonald said...

I enjoyed immensely my trip to Victoria a few years ago, with my arrival by sea plane, tea at the Empress, and a tour of the Parliament buildings.

Beaverbrook said...

No kidding. One wonders how 50% would want to abolish it, when only 5% are even aware of it. The pollster must be getting a lot of this: do you support dumping the Queen? Answer: We have a Queen? Yes, I support dumping it.

Beaverbrook said...

Likewise, Dundonald. I enjoyed immensely my trip to Glasgow in 86'.

Dundonald said...

Beaverbrook, the city has changed so much since then. Haste ye back!

Cato, author of said...

The Viceregal uniform is quite splendid: the new Lietenant-Governor is to be approved.

On the question of the murals in the B.C. legislature, I must say I disagree with the decision to move them. If the aboriginal people portrayed in them are depicted in 'passive' and 'demeaning' roles isn't this because it was just such roles, of back-breaking manual labour, that many of them were in fact effectively conscripted to undertake? To try and air brush this out of history, and thereby deny the servitude to which many were condemned, is surely to deny the past and pretend that it was a rosier one for aboriginal peoples than in fact it was. Surely it would be better for the murals to stay: they mark a perfect contrast with the way the new aboriginal holder of the post of Lieutenant-Governor is now at the heart of government, and show the way in which Canadian society has improved very greatly for the better.

Beaverbrook said...

I agree, Cato. This whole controversy is longstanding and the people from the beginning have been on the side of them staying. Aboriginal politics is most acute on the west coast, however, given the sheer number of tribes and the overlapping land claims. This issue would never have gone away and a Royal Commission decided it was time to make peace and move on. Sigh.

Splendor Sine Occasu said...

I apologise for being away and not noticing this post! As a British Columbian, I am very proud to see the new Lieutenant Governor don the traditional court uniform. Perhaps a return to tradition influenced by the current PM...?

Myabe I'm weird, but I do find the history of our heraldric symbols, especially the unauthorised use (up until 1987) of the Royal Crest, fascinating. The old colonial flag was a blue ensign with this insignia in the fly. I would love to find a reproduction of this flag!

Anonymous said...

In BC here as well...

I think what the Lt. Gov. is wearing is the 2nd Class Civil Uniform.

The Lt. Gov.'s own website is confused into calling it the Windsor Uniform. Something else altogether.

Great handbook for these things. Apparently, cabinet ministers in Canada are entitled to wear it as well. Original version has white knee breeches and leather pumps. I think the trousers are an improvement.