The Post-Partum Template… we need a Canada Week: because the Republic of Canada (like Rome) won’t be built in a day

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Ask any history prof and you’ll be instructed that Canada was first a colonial vassal within the British Empire, thence a member of the British Commonwealth and latterly, thanks to Pierre Trudeau, a real live country that can do whatever it likes as long as it’s okay with something called Whitehall.

William Annett Global News Centre

(DAYTONA BEACH)   Like Florida car dealers who expanded “Boxing Day,” a Limey custom they didn’t understand, to become Boxing Week and even Boxing Month (thanks to the genius of Toyota’s ad men) in order to maximize Yuletide car sales, Canada Day is no longer sufficient.

Canada is no stranger to separatism. Why, just a few years ago we had a pas de deux going on, with Quebec trying to separate from Canada and the Inuit in northern Quebec trying to separate from Quebec. The latter got their wish when – in the interests of Canada’s pale version of  Homeland Security and in order to protect them from Soviet missiles, while we installed Bomarks where their igloos had been – the Inuit people in the top third of Quebec were packed off, bag and baggage, to a permafrost paradise near Baffin Bay.

Les Quebecois on the other hand  gradually subsided, settling for the removal of the apostrophe in Eaton’s store signs in Montreal and the naming of Rene Levesque Boulevard close to St. Catherine’s Street. The only real losers were the Newfoundlanders who had been cheering on les separatistes in the belief that if Quebec succeeded and seceded it would shorten the traveling time from Corner Brook to Toronto.

The fact is (was), that I think Quebeckers are more Canadien (at least in hockey season) than they are French, just as I trust most of the rest of us are more Canadian than we are English. And because I think most natives are more Indian (sic) than they are either French or English, my double-whammy proposal is a two-pronged project that will hopefully get in motion before next Canada Day.

First, Canada should separate from England and second the natives should have a shot at separating from the colonial crap we’ve visited on them since Wolfe and Montcalm duked it out over Indian land. And if you think either of these projects is a reality already, I have a bridge to sell you similar to the one le bon Maurice Duplessis guaranteed to be as sound as his administration just before it collapsed.

But before I elaborate, let me sketch in my credentials for commenting on Canada, history-wise. My great-great-great-great grandfather, who incidentally was also named William Annett, knocked up the daughter of John Dunning, Lord Ashburton while his Lordship was away settling the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick. My ancestor was Ashburton’s coachman, and on the pretext of teaching the Lord’s daughter to drive, took her to  a rural area near what is now Mimico and had his way with her.

Ask any history prof and you’ll be instructed that Canada was first a colonial vassal within the British Empire, thence a member of the British Commonwealth and latterly, thanks to Pierre Trudeau, a real live country that can do whatever it likes as long as it’s okay with something called Whitehall. Canada is an independent nation, except for its judicial system, its parliamentary system, the royal mug shot on our  paper currency and the minted profile on our Loonies, and the fact that, over all the land between Sackville and Tuktoyaktuk, the Queen is ipso facto the titular owner.

That last mammalian fixation is something of which the Americans are jealous, but they compensate with the breastworks of Hollywood.

There is no organized movement these days for dumping our ties with Great Britain, but there should be. Look at Scotland, which held a referendum last September over its independence, but then chickened out in the actual polling. Good start, or not?  Look at Ireland, which for centuries has opted for the Catholic Church as its boss instead of bloody England. Maybe it’s better to look at Scotland. On the other hand, maybe it’s better to look at ourselves.

In a recent poll, 59% of all Canadians favored the formation of a Republic. But it isn’t that easy. Take the Senate. It’s patterned after the British House of Lords, but since we don’t have any Lords in Canada unless they’re just visiting, we appoint old men for life, good-guy Liberals by Liberal Prime Ministers and Conservatives vice-versa. Canadian Senators last until they die in office, which isn’t noticed sometimes because they tend to go to sleep, especially in the back benches.

The American model is much better, whereby two Senators are appointed from each State on the recommendation of  the leading corporate lobbyists in each bailiwick  – Monsanto in agri-States,   BP in Texas, and so on.

But it’s time to talk about the other separation, Indians from us. This is considered necessary, since that population has declined by about 99% since John Cabot discovered Montreal before deciding to retire in Boston. In official Canada, it’s generally believed that – unlike the honey bee or corporate CEO’s, both notably in decline – Indians are not a necessary component in the food chain.

In a landmark decision recently, perhaps to celebrate Native Awareness Day, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a decision awarding the Tsilhkot’in Nation in central B.C. 44,000 hectares of their own land. A fact-finding commission had first established with reasonable certainty that – fortunately – there was nothing of value there, such as oil, copper-lead-zinc or even gold. Something like the huge swatches of mid- New Mexico,  that was ceded to the  Apaches.  Since nobody in Ottawa since Trudeau knows what a hectare is, and since the Indians don’t even do acres, the Court inserted a codicil stating that in the event they later made  a mistake on the downside, the government could always move in and abrogate mineral rights if any should show up in the future.

” They (meaning the lucky recipients) should have paid closer attention to the fine print,” wrote Ian Mulgrew, a columnist for the Vancouver Sun, long-time advocate of keeping B.C. treaty-free.  “In the unanimous 8-0 decision…  the high court said B.C. natives are not unlike any other litigant squatter.”

It’s clear Mulgrew is an old sore-head, and a nit-picker, just because in the first place, the fine print in the court’s hand-down says the Indians have to prove that they’re the same people that were there before the oil pipeline companies discovered central B.C., after which negotiation will follow and the court can decide anything it damn well wants to. Secondly, should anything worthwhile be discovered on the land after the Northgate Pipeline goes through, the Court can change its mind.

This brings up the question I meant to  raise earlier concerning  our colonial legacy as far as the Canadian judicial system is concerned. Since all judges, lawyers, court reporters and janitors are,  are deemed to be, and notwithstanding the generality of the foregoing are, ipso facto and inter alia, sworn officers of The Crown, that’s it, baby. That’s all she wrote.  I. e., they do what they’re told. Two lawyers on record have refused, in fact have attempted to sue the Crown, for example.  One is chasing ambulances in Vermont, and the other is flipping hamburgers in the Yukon.

It’s apparent that the first objective, the dumping of Mother England and the titular Queen is going forward  apace ( I have three friends and one relative who agree with me and I intend to enlist Ian Mulgrew, perhaps over the Vancouver Sun’s dead body).

As for the second initiative, that is separating the native population from Canada, my proposal is even bolder, and I’ve communicated this to Bernard Valcourt,  our able Minister of Aboriginal  Affairs. (I call him Bernie.) Since there are only 1% of the original native people left, as Kahentinetha Horn has aptly pointed out in her excellent publication Mohawk News Network, perhaps we could make the socially responsible move of enclosing them all in the 44,000 hectares designated by the Supreme Court. There would be barely enough room, although perhaps standing room only. But it would be a lot more comfortable there in the Tsilhkot’in Nation than all those Inuit people are putting up with up near the Arctic Circle.

Bernie, get back to me

 

Bill Annett writes four newsletters: The Canadian Shield, American Logo, Beating the Street, and The Oyster World. He can be reached at: hoople84@gmail.com.

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annett-william
Bill Annett grew up a writing brat; his father, Ross Annett, at a time when Scott Fitzgerald and P.G. Wodehouse were regular contributors, wrote the longest series of short stories in the Saturday Evening Post’s history, with the sole exception of the unsinkable Tugboat Annie.

At 18, Bill’s first short story was included in the anthology “Canadian Short Stories.” Alarmed, his father enrolled Bill in law school in Manitoba to ensure his going straight. For a time, it worked, although Bill did an arabesque into an English major, followed, logically, by corporation finance, investment banking and business administration at NYU and the Wharton School. He added G.I. education in the Army’s CID at Fort Dix, New Jersey during the Korean altercation.

He also contributed to The American Banker and Venture in New York, INC. in Boston, the International Mining Journal in London, Hong Kong Business, Financial Times and Financial Post in Toronto.

Bill has written six books, including a page-turner on mutual funds, a send-up on the securities industry, three corporate histories and a novel, the latter no doubt inspired by his current occupation in Daytona Beach as a law-abiding beach comber.

You can write to Bill Annett at this address: hoople84@gmail.com

 

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