Researcher of Political Science & Classical Islam. Initiated by the Khwajagan i-Naqshband.
In the midst of student protests in Quebec, a controversial austere budget bill, and worldwide economic tumult, Stephen Harper is taking three days out of his schedule to party with the queen.
On Monday, he’ll be attending a BBC Concert at Buckingham Palace, where music stars such as Paul McCartney and Elton John are expected to play.
On Tuesday, Harper will attend a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, also to be attended by the Queen and the Royal Family.
On Wednesday, he’ll attend a luncheon with her majesty.
Taxpayers will also foot the travel bill for Harper’s wife and children, heritage minister James Moore, Governor General David Johnston and of course, a bevy of staffers.
The three day trip is the latest example of the Harper government’s perplexing obsession with the monarchy – no matter what the cost.
Last year, the government reintroduced the “royal” title back into the names of Canada’s navy and air force and ordered portraits of the queen to be given more prominence at foreign affairs headquarters.
The Tories have also set aside $7.5 million — in addition to the $50 million we spend annually on the monarchy — to ring in Elizabeth’s glittering anniversary here in Canada.
While the Harper government touts fiscal prudence on every other file, they seem spendthrift when it comes to the monarchy.
Outspoken NDP MP Pat Martin told Global’s The West Block on Sunday, that Harper’s staunch support of the Queen has triggered a national debate on the issue.
“I don’t know why [Harper is] taking that stance but I think he might actually awaken a bit of a sleeping giant,” Martin said.
“Canadians aren’t you know baffled by shiny objects like the wedding of Will and Kate. We have to think beyond that.”
Martin, who swears he’s not speaking on behalf of the NDP, calls ties to the monarchy old fashioned and outdated.
“I think I speak for a growing number of Canadians…who think that this is the right time to revisit whether we should cut our apron strings to the British Monarchy,” he said.
“I think what jelled it for me most recently was going to a Canadian citizenship ceremony that as an MP I get invited to often and watching these people from 30 or 40 different countries having to swear allegiance not to Canada but to the Queen.”
Other countries have appropriately recognized having a ceremonial monarch does nothing significant for their country’s pride and nationalism. In recent years, Australia, New Zealand, and Jamaica have all flirted with severing ties with the monarch. Guyana along with Trinidad and Tobago have already dispensed with it.
In Canada, prior to 1947, we were all considered British subjects, not Canadian citizens; we once sang “God Save the Queen” in our schools and we once had the Union Jack as our flag.
For whatever reason, however, Stephen Harper doesn’t believe the next logical step is to completely break ties with the monarchy.