The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
Recently, the students of Niagara College had the opportunity to be present at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus as Prince Charles made his 15th visit to Canada.
The question on the minds of Canadians, however, was not quite why he chose to visit, but did anyone really care?
A small history lesson: Canada is a monarchy. We share it with Great Britain, in what continues to be an unusual feature in Canada’s government.
Our country is a member of the British Commonwealth, so we share the monarchy with about a dozen other countries, from Australia to Jamaica.
We ask ourselves how does the monarchy affect us? For one, it means that our nation’s head of state is Elizabeth II, who is the Queen of Canada, and the Queen of England as well.
Odd, then, that our head of state, whom we do not elect, lives in a foreign country and visits only every four or five years. And funding those visits comes out of our own wallets.
Instead, we have an acting Canadian Head of State, also known as the Governor General (Michaelle Jean), who fills in for the Queen when she’s not around and exercises the Queen’s authority on her behalf.
What influence does the Queen have on us then, if not just a face on our $20 bill?
After an historical visit such as this, some of us are left with a different train of thought. On one hand, those of us familiar with our historical ties believe in the monarchy and support the Queen and the Royal Family.
Some, however, do not and wish to see the monarchy abolished, believing it no longer necessary.
What road should Canada take? Do we remain as one, or like the mother bird, we remove the nest and let our own wings take us on a new path?
This is a question that will never cease to be posed, but one thing is for sure: This country we proudly call home may have never come to be without the British Commonwealth and the Royal Family. And if it had, it might have been a totally different one than it is today.
It is part of our identity now, forged over years and years of historical events, from generations of people who went before us, spreading traditions that started out as a simple seed, and are now part of our country’s people’s hearts and minds. If we throw all that out the door, then what do we call ourselves?
There is no denying that some of us who can’t see the history of our ties, so they weren’t overly thrilled to see the Prince of Wales walk on our Canadian soil.
We can safely admit that if the cast of Twilight (sadly) or the starting line-up of the Toronto Maple Leafs (we hope) had made an appearance, order and calm would be in severe jeopardy.
We are who we are. Tossing those ties aside would be ignoring the forces that shaped our country.
It may seem pointless to continue recognizing our connections with Royal Family, but for our own good, in order to keep our land glorious and free, sometimes flying with a friend makes the trip worthwhile.