2 min

Politicizing the Crown

Yesterday’s bizarre news release was word
that the government has mandated that all embassies must have a portrait of the
Queen hanging by the middle of the month – or else. But here’s the
bizarre thing – pretty much all embassies would already have a portrait of the
Queen hanging, since she’s the head of state. In fact, most government
buildings here in Ottawa have a portrait in them somewhere. So why is Harper
making such a big deal about being seen to care about royal symbols (such as
with the renaming of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force)?
It sounds an awful lot like he’s trying to politicize the Crown for an endgame that
is not yet clear. Speculation ranges from the simple politics of division (it
plays to his base while annoying parts of Quebec and republicans in the NDP)
to the fact that it will give him leverage either to open up the question in
the Constitution if he’s apt to do any other tinkering (like Senate reform) or to try to create a “made in Canada” monarch (even though the Canadian monarchy is already a unique, made-in-Canada institution). With himself at the head?
He did say that we wouldn’t recognize Canada when he was through with it…
Whether that’s the case or not, his decision to politicize the apolitical institution
is curious and is the real question that people should be asking.

Harper also wants to resurrect a bunch of
lapsed anti-terror laws that weren’t renewed after their sunset clauses expired
and were never once used. Bob Rae says that given that they were never used,
and there was no clamouring need for them in the four years since they expired,
Harper has to prove why they’re suddenly so necessary again.

He may not have declared whether he’s officially in the leadership race, but Brian Topp wants you to know just
how accomplished he is as a political backroom operator, which obviously
translates well to front-room politicking.

Sheila Copps says that if she were
elected Liberal Party president, she’d be open to letting Bob Rae run for
the permanent leadership. Err, except that she wouldn’t have the say, and the
party’s federal council would make the call.

Despite the government's many denials, more
documents released by access-to-information requests show that the use of the
term “Harper government” in official bureaucratic releases was indeed mandated from the very top as part of a “brand directive.” What were we saying about Harper’s
monarchical ambitions?

Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks
show that Harper is not a big fan of foreign travel — not that it should come
as a big shock, given that before he became
opposition leader he had never left North America.

Oh look — even more cost overruns and
delays for the F-35s, but our government assures us that nothing is going to
change on our end. Right.

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