Letter to the Editor – Victoria Irving of St. Anicet Quebec on Harper Government’s Fawning over Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee – February 8, 2012

CFN-I have been following the pomp and ceremony surrounding Queen Elizabeth the II‘s, 60 years of regal service, and Prime Minister Harper’s Celebration in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I must admit to being disgusted with the whole thing.First listening to Canada’s Governor General David Johnston was a revelation, “Today we affirm our bond with the Crown which helps us to define our country and what it means to be Canadian”. I have been a Canadian all my life; I have travelled from one end of the country to the other and do not need the Crown to define my country for me.

Queen Elizabeth serves the British people not Canadians. Yes, we have the distinction of being part of the Commonwealth.  However, what does that mean to us as Canadians in our daily lives, does it put food on our table, does it create jobs, and does it provide us with funds to keep our hospitals and schools open, I think not?

I really would like to know what the Queen does for us as Canadians that warrants Prime Minister Harper to pledge $7.5 million dollars of our hard-earned dollars for commemorative activities. Isn’t Mr. Harper aware of the fact that global recession persists, Canada’s economic recovery remains fragile, Canadians pensions are being reorganized, the public healthcare system is on overload, and there is poverty in the streets?

The people who we should be commemorating are our First Nations people, they play the most integral role in Canada’s culture and heritage, but sadly, that is not the case.

In 2010 the Harper government spent $2 million on the G-8 summit that “will save the lives of countless women and children in developing countries” and $858 million on the G-20 Summit for Fiscal sustainability. Harper sent millions to Haiti after their earthquake and now Harper proposes to spend $7.5 million to celebrate the Queen’s diamond Jubilee. When does the spending stop, so that we can start taking care of our own people? The First Nations people abide by the premise that they live their lives in a manner that will protect the next seven generations. Perhaps the Harper government should adopt the same principals.

Today in 2012 the First Nations people in Canada are living in poverty with inadequate housing, unsafe drinking water and the lack of the necessities of life. Overcrowding among First Nations people is a major concern. One in four First Nations children live in poverty. A recent Canadian census showed that 23% of aboriginal people live in houses that are health hazards or in need of major repair. Suicide rates are 5 times higher than the norm. More than half of the First Nations people in this country are not working because there are no jobs available for them on the reserves. The reserves that First Nations people live on make it difficult for them to access medical services, conduct business or purchase consumer goods. A good example of what the First Nations people are subject to every day of their lives is the First Nations people living on the Québec portion of the Akwesasne reserve. In Saint Regis and Snye the communities are landlocked (by the US and the St Lawrence River) to be able to perform daily activities they are obliged to travel into the United States, therefore being subject to the international borders and long wait times on the Three Nations Bridge. For the Akwesasne people it is a multijurisdictional nightmare  that was not created by the Mohawks.

The Harper government should be looking to our First Nations people to define our Canadian identity, not to the Queen. But first in order to do that the Harper government would have to admit the fact that many of our First Nations people live like many in third world countries in the great country that once belonged to them.

Victoria Irving – St. Anicet,  Quebec
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Best Western Cornwall


  1. If I were the Queen, I too would be embarrassed at all the attention from Harper, especially as she didn’t have the privilege of voting for or against him. It was one of her ancestors, George III if I remember correctly, who was responsible for liberating Quebec (1786?), and giving us all the freedoms we have enjoyed until now.

  2. The Quebec Act (1774) is where some problems of today stem from, and I don’t see the freedoms we have coming from that time alone. Unless you mean Quebec keeping language, religion and civil law as examples, or where being treated special came from.

    The rest of Canada is giving this province several billions of dollars now, but will any politician come forward to be a leader? To review the programs toward what is best for the city, province or country and not used to promote idealolgy and get votes in the next election?

    I too whould like to know when the spending will stop! These mountains of cash being used by the 4 governments (muncipal/provincial/First Nations/federal) is enough to provide all of us with a better life.

  3. Eric, in case you haven’t noticed, the basic freedom we have, dating from the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, is parliamentary institutions and common law. Given the times, the British were exceptionally generous in allowing the French Quebecers to keep their language, religion and civil law. Previously, no other major power had ever allowed such liberties. Whether this was wise, in the long run, history must decide.

    Had the British not liberated Quebec, then Quebec, and possibly all of Canada would have either been swallowed up by the US, or eventually become a tin pot dictatorship like some other former French colonies, such as Algeria.

    We already have a politician who is rapidly setting himself up to become our leader, just as we had several in Europe between 1917 and ~1990. One of these leaders actually entitled himself “The Leader.” When it does happen here, I wonder if you, as a Conservative, will be happy with what you have accomplished.

    As for spending, how about the $35bn for fighter jets that can’t fly (the EU Eurofighter would have been a lot cheaper, and has already proved itself in combat), subsidies to the world’s most profitable industrial sector, the fossil fuel industry, and subsidies to the Communist Government of China by giving them crude oil at cost price?

    And to you, Reg, my wife says her hats wouldn’t be my style, anyway.

  4. Didn’t know the jets were bought and paid for yet, but you are correct with the British being very generous.
    I enjoy how you talk to me and others, as a father does a young son, and really appreciate how you can give me so much credit for electing anyone on my own.

    I get physically ill thinking of what the German citizens must have gone through, and if McGuinty allows me to have money left to buy defensive weapons if that time ever comes here, I will fight for Canada, myself, my family and yours. Seems to me though, the great Liberal is the only who has had tanks on the streets of Canada during my lifetime.

    From my readings of 1759 and the war of 1812-14, the Province of Canada had great luck and timing to stop the invasion that thought “it was just a matter of marching” towards us being a part of the US.

  5. Canada Mrs Irving is part of the Commonwealth. Canada’s history has many reflections, incidents, our laws and even our coins carries her head that are resting in your pockets to this day. Unlike many Quebecers, the rest of this Nation shares a unity and prides themselves with this bond. Canadians do not view this as a requirement for jobs, food, or keeping our schools open as you mention.Nor does the First Nations for that fact. Canada’s fragile economic recovery would surely love the injection of 7.5 million to commemorate the Queen’s jubilee. Not only does this help our culture it also promotes tourism, restaurants, printing services, and a host of other companies that will be hired to provide something, thus paying local employee’s and maybe even some overtime paid out. Unfortunately because of the lack of unity traditionally exhibited by Quebec, (like yourself) Im sure not much of that 7.5 million will be spent within Quebec. Although not really necessary considering the Billions that get injected/funneled into Quebec yearly from the rest of commonwealth loving Canada. The corruption, uni-linguistic laws, language Police, integrated into your schools, business’s and impeding your hospitals/healthcare system, I must ask…when will the spending stop?
    The millions upon millions that are yearly allocated into the First Nations from Canada and the US, the tax breaks, housing concessions etc, the reserves should be showing signs of the money, but sadly enough there is little signs of improvements. Akwesasne unofficially loves the unique multijurisdictional layout which provides a huge influx of cash. (legal and illegal) The reserve now boosts many business’s, restaurants, gas stations, casino’s, and now even a Tim Hortons. Yet strangely enough we dont see the healthy self sustaining reserves helping their own people on other more challenged reserves..so how do The First Nations people abide by the premise that they live their lives in a manner that will protect the next seven generations?. Is this based solely what other Nations (Can & USA) can provide? And you suggest us Canadians (Harper) adopt this same principal..? God help us.!! The lavish houses and expensive Escalades/Hummers and cars parked outside the local IGA only 5 minutes from the St.Regis part of the reserve does not portray a good example of the destitution you portray. Not to mention the Casino and newly built Comfort Inn across the street..! The poor conditions and statistics you mention are all in harsh remote areas which relies solely on governmental financial aide, and yes, forgotten by their own people. Much like Quebec which relies on its huge financial aide from the rest of Canada. And you are actually disgusted about Canada promoting itself within the commonwealth..? Maybe its time that others start looking at Canada for identity, stop the segregation, and join in the Jubillee so that all can prosper in one of the worlds strongest economies, and healthiest places to live. Canada is known on the world summit as a strong leader and Harper has done alot reinforcing our trade and economic future in this world. We don’t need to look elsewhere for Identity, we have it, we are proud of it, and our doors are always open. God save the Queen.

  6. In my opinion that is time for Canada’s own identity….I admire the Queen, heck my father is a Brit, but she is not our ruler any more than she is the true ruler of England. Not anymore at least. So it is right to move forward into history and not backwards. I’m not suggesting ignoring royalty or not honouring them or forgetting our heritage, I just feel it is time that our armed forces are the Canadian Armed Forces not the Queen’s Royal Armed Forces. I don’t see any money from the Royal vault funding anything in this country. On the contrary I see a lot of Canadian taxpayers funding our own infrastructure and other uniquely Canadian projects. God Save the Queen, but please Parliament Save our Money.

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