Canadian Conservatives have been working hard to give the impression they’re enthusiastic monarchists.

The Queen and her husband, Prince Phillip, visit Canada, where she was genuinely popular throughout her 70-year reign, in 1967 (Photo: Library and Archives Canada).

They’ve been beavering away cultivating this impression with particular energy since the death at 96 last Friday of Queen Elizabeth II – a genuinely popular figure in Canada far beyond the usual monarchist circles. 

But it’s fair to say, based on their performance here in Alberta in the past few hours, that their affection for the late monarch, and their respect for the institution of the monarchy, is a mile wide and an inch deep. (That is, as we say in Canada over the objections of many Conservatives, 1.6 kilometres wide and 2.54 centimetres deep.) 

I speak, of course, of the embarrassing decision yesterday by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney – who would have us believe he is the most monarchial monarchist of them all – to deny Albertans a one-time-only statutory holiday to honour the Queen’s career and mourn her death. 

“Albertans, Canadians and the peoples of the Commonwealth will join together on this day in sorrow to mourn the death of Her late Majesty and to commemorate her long and faithful service,” Mr. Kenney was quoted saying in a government press release yesterday. “I sincerely hope that Albertans find some time on this day to honour the remarkable life of Queen Elizabeth II …”

Some Canadians will indeed join together on this sombre and historic occasion – supposedly Mr. Kenney’s own words, although accurate enough – using time off of the kind that truly puts the statutory into a holiday, as is suitable when mourning the departure of a widely respected head of state. 

The Queen signs the new Canadian Constitution, which contains the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as Prime Minister Trudeau (Pierre, that is) beams in 1982 (Photo: Library and Archives Canada).

This will be thanks to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement Tuesday that in much of where the federal government’s writ extends, Sept. 19, the day of the Queen’s funeral, will be a statutory holiday. 

Notwithstanding fatuous arguments by the usual suspects in business federations, chambers of commerce and U.S. funded think tanks that the resulting burden of overtime pay for minimum-wage workers would simply be too onerous or that hospitals would have to stop operating, Prime Minister Trudeau’s gesture was bound to be popular with normal Canadians and is an appropriate and dignified tribute to the late monarch. 

Well, we can’t have that! So Albertans (and citizens of other Conservative-run provinces) will be denied that small memorial kindness. 

After several hours of embarrassed foot shuffling yesterday while, presumably, the United Conservative Party brain trust tried to come up with a good reason to Stop the Stat, the press release in which Mr. Kenney’s pieties were quoted appeared. Rather than paid time off (God forbid!), “workplaces, schools, offices and retail stores are encouraged to … observe the moment of silence.” (Emphasis added.) 

“As part of the day of mourning, all employers are encouraged to make accommodations for employees to either attend the ceremony at the Legislature or otherwise mark the occasion of Her late Majesty’s funeral,” the statement continues – with, presumably, the clear understanding that no one in a precarious job will be paid for time spent lollygagging while mourning the late head of state. 

“Schools will be encouraged to offer opportunities for students to take part in the day of mourning,” the news release says – no classes shall be cut. 

Mr. Kenney was featured prominently in a royalty-free photo on the government’s Alberta Newsroom Flickr page, solemnly signing the book of condolence at the McDougall Centre in Calgary on the day of the Queen’s death. His comments were lovingly recorded by the official photographer

And there you have it, folks. When you get down to where the Uniroyals hit Highway 2 – the QEII, that is – Mr. Kenney and the UCP listen to the Americanized likes of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Restaurants Canada, and the Chamber of Commerce. 

They don’t have a monarchist bone in their bodies nowadays, these Canadian Conservatives. 

They are republicans to the core to a man and woman – as is appropriate for a group that’s been taking inspiration and sustenance from Republicans in the republic to the south for decades now. 

No wonder the Alberta separatists now in the process of taking over the UCP yak constantly about setting up a Republic of Alberta! (Assuming, of course, that they even know the difference between a republic and a constitutional monarchy.)

Sure, God save the King! But God save Alberta too!

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27 Comments

  1. Perhaps, Kenney the supposedly great Churchillian admirer should have asked a most appropriate question for this occasion – “What would Churchill do?” After all, wasn’t Churchill the Prime Minister when the last British monarch died? I believe there was a bank holiday then as they call it there and there will be again.

    I partly agree with your comment on Canadian Conservatives noticeably weak monarchist sentiments this time. It tends to diminish the further you get from London and I suspect the sentiment peters out some where west of Toronto. I think some Canadian Conservatives have forgotten they were once the party of the Empire Loyalists.

    Atlantic Canada with its more progressive conservative culture seems to still have the sentiment, but definitely not the reform leaning part of country.

    Sadly, the Queen only got a minute or two of silence at Polievre’s coronation and after that it was back to work for them, so I suppose it follows they would expect the same of employees. Of course Polievre is really from Calgary, just masquerading as an Ottawa MP. I suspect many of those Conservatives with eastern Ontario roots are actually a bit more loyalist than their new leader.

    If Kenney was an eastern carpet bagger pretending to be an Albertan, then Poilievre seems to have taken the opposite route. However, what they have in common is opportunism, a career in politics with no real world experience outside that and fairly good French for a Conservative. Perhaps it will work out better for Polievre than it did for Kenney, or maybe not when it becomes clear the populism is faux, the initial success goes to his head, he starts to think he is the smartest person in the room and become even more smug and insufferable.

    The late Queen really deserved better from Canadian Conservatives. Maybe as said they are now just Republicans masquerading as Conservatives.

    1. My definition of a conservtive is more general than affiliation with the Crown, but I do agree that neither the American republic’s GOP, with tRump, MTG, Boebert, and Gaetz at its zenith, nor the Canadian constitutional monarchy’s Reform-a-CRAP-a-Cons, with Kenney, Bernier, and Poilievre at their nadir are really conservatives at all.

      Conservtives in the UK of course are more royalist than their Greater Anglo-Saxmaniacs are, but I would attribute a large part of that to the fact that the Motherland is a unitary state which probably better fits, psychologically at least, the concept of a royal realm (now literally a “Kingdom”) than do federations—Kiwiland, or Aotearoa (in Māori) being a notable Anglo-Saxmaniacal exception.

        1. Yeah, but they ain’t as sovereign as a Canadian federated province. For example, Scotland’s referenda (prob’ly gonna have another one soon) don’t have to be recognized by the Houses of Parliament in London. Conversely, to have a secession referendum with consequence requires the acquiescence of said Parliament. In contrast, any sovereign Canadian federate may hold a secessionist referendum which will initiate the constitutional mechanism to secede, as difficult as that might be in practice.

          As I take it, the ‘devolutions’ of jurisdictions in the UK are meant to appease, if not ameliorate secessionist sentiments in the regions cited. Of course Brexit is wreaking havoc with this gentler approach in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the latter reminding of extreme violence which occurred within living memory.

  2. A most excellent side-by-side contrast David:
    Justin Trudeau, Liberal, providing citizens with the time to memorialize and honour the passing of a great and significant member of our community, and
    Jason Kenney, Conservative, providing media with a word salad and some anodyne pictures so that citizens can be held to account for their whereabouts, by their employer, over the course of the day on which such an unparalleled, gracious and indeed, royal personage is to be laid to rest.

    One is a man who tries, haltingly and failing at times, to provide citizens the succor and sustenance for peace, order and good governance.
    The other is a man who plays toady to big corporate donors to his party while fomenting the radical theories and fantasies of the most crazy and loudest members of his party.
    Seriously, who do you want to lead us into this most uncertain future?

  3. Alberta is named after the daughter of Queen Victoria. Queen Elizabeth is the great great granddaughter of Queen Victoria. The provincial government of Alberta is doing as little as possible to honour our head of state and the family from which our name arises. This points towards the renaming of our province to match the political needs of the UCP. I think that we should be prepared to have a referendum on whether the UCP will change the name to Northern Idaho or perhaps Ivanka to honour the Princess of the Conservatives.

  4. My grandfather served as North West Mounted Policeman (NWMP), Alberta Policeman (AP) and RCMP where he earned the rank of sergeant. He also served in WW II. Also, my aunts and uncles served in WW II, all seven of them, thankfully returning to Canada. They served the public, they served the idea of democracy against tyranny. My father also served in WWII and was in London during the Blitz. He noted how the royal family stood by Brits refusing to leave London and in fact giving much needed support and encouragement to British Citizens and indeed the entire Commonwealth.
    The current lot of conservatives/republicans are enemies of common decency, they refute our shared history and want to rewrite our past, I refer to the Alberta curriculum whitewashing the horrible treatment of Indigenous First Nations people. The monarchy represents for these conservative/republicans a reminder of what they are: brash, crass, destructive, democracy destroyers, vitriolic, often religiously fanatic, self righteous, arrogant, rude, always offensive, intolerant, often violent (The Convoy fiasco). They say they want to offer you freedom, but end up creating places of dystopia – as if dystopia is a good thing. Guns for everyone will solve problems!
    I think, David you are much too kind regarding these conservatives/republicans. The UPC will finally turn Alberta into a dictatorship ( As if it is not already – the same government for over 40 years). Albertans can say goodbye to Canada, and everything related to being Canadian, including the monarchy. As an aside, when the republicans take control of the USA and the country turns into an autocratic theocracy, expect no funding for Ukraine, no funding for the UN, and a nod to Putin whereby Putin and China will destroy the Ukraine, Europe will collapse, and global war will ensue. The UPC take the current profits made from the Ukraine war and say it is a boon. Nay it is blood money. Queen Elizabeth stood for duty, reverence, dignity, ritual, an appreciation of history, respect, support of the arts, tolerance and boundaries too. That the UPC government offers but little in recognition to Her Majesty’s passing, is a reflection of the people of Alberta who support the antitheses of the monarchy. I am sure Queen Elizabeth is not amused. Finally, my father, upon returning from WWII, often said that everything he fought against in Europe (meaning the Third Reich) was alive and well in Alberta.

  5. They certainly put the “pub” in Republican.

    You’d think a Churchill worshipper like Jason Kenney would be falling all over himself to declare a statutory holiday for an event of this magnitude. Indeed the last time Britain had an event of this magnitude was for Winston Churchill himself.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_and_state_funeral_of_Winston_Churchill

    You would be wrong. But then people of the radical right persuasion seem to despise queens of all kinds, even when they’re reading stories to children at the library. Maybe it’s children they don’t like, so no holiday for you, dearies.

  6. A man of zero integrity who has spent his entire life at the public trough. Get this loser out of here already.

    “Everything Trudeau does I must do the opposite”

    Too bad he’s already getting free accommodation, the Prime minister lives rent free in Jason Kenneys swollen bulbous head.

    Also down with the monarchy I can’t believe this is even still a thing.

  7. If some near impossible repeat happens and young George becomes king when he turns 25 and rules as long and memorably for many as the late queen and is laid to rest. The next time an occasion like this will happen for Canada would be around 2108 I believe. JK and the ucpea, laser focused on moments in history. Not letting a single one pass by without making the most of it.

  8. Anyone want to bet that JK never wrote one word of that press release? He must have been seething with anger and hatred while sitting at that desk. Ohhh the sacrifices one has to make!

  9. How deep? How wide?

    “Her death has hit me harder than expected,” Kenney said. “As though I lost a grandmother or a long-time friend.”

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/premier-announces-federal-building-being-renamed-after-queen-elizabeth-1.6584637

    That’s so strange. The queen was 96 years old. I recall a comment from the man about Covid deaths, and how the average age of expiry for seniors in Alberta is 14 years younger than that. Oh, well. Only some grandmothers matter, but surely not yours or mine.

    I would like to point out that QEII had Covid. Given her mother’s very advanced old age, perhaps she would still be alive if she hadn’t caught it. Average Alberta seniors’ lives don’t matter to the soon-to-be ex-premier. Queens do.

    1. Kenney’s unctuousness has no limits: he would embarrass Uriah Heep if he had half a chance at promoting his own entitlements.

      In that picture, he’s probably ordering another food delivery at taxpayers’ expense which won’t be noted by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

      What does it take for Albertans to recognize the charlatans the UCP are attempting to impose on us?

  10. I suppose the notion of “Lizzie in a box” was too much for so many CONs to handle. Since PMJT decided to steal their thunder by setting a one-time only example on how to honor HM ER2 by endorsing a day of national mourning as a federal holiday, and then tossing the whole thing to the provinces lead by CONs to get on board. BC has no trouble, but the so-called ‘Resistance’ can’t seem to get their act together. Doug Ford says it would be a nice idea, but a whole day off? It’s good to know that the TTS will be offering a gesture where the service will completely shut down for exactly 96 seconds. As for Alberta, Jason Kenney seems to have developed a hilarious case of being tongue-tied, before he tossed the whole matter to the people being “encouraged” to honor the Queen. So everyone will get about two minutes (give or take) to take in the moment. CONs as monarchists? You’ve got to be kidding.

    In any case, watching the Queen’s children stand vigil around her casket as it lies in state was pretty weird. Charles looks like he feels the weight of the crown on his head already. Princes Andrew and Edward are trying extremely hard to put their pasts behind them, though no one in their right minds will let them. And their Queen Anne, the most stable and honorable of all the them, proudly presenting herself as the ‘Princess Royal’ and full in the knowledge that she actually lived up to her mother’s legacy.

    What a bunch.

      1. Ah, yes. The former Queen Anne did pass something in the early 18th C. Princess Anne is seems has been elevated to Anne Regina II by virtue of my magical typos — or disastrous keyboarding technique.

        The King is dead. The King is dead. Long live the Queen…Queen Anne!

  11. This is off the topic but I think everyone should Google it . It comes from the Medicine Hat News. A paper that I highly respect for telling it as it is.
    I found it disgusting that Rural Albertans still haven’t learned anything about what these Reformers stand for and what they have one to us , and are quit willing to risk their Public Health Care and Education systems if Pierre Poilievre gets in. I have always been bothered by people calling them Alberta’s Redneck Hillbillies for years and yet they continue to prove it.

  12. Greatly amused by Jason Kenney taking to Twitter to announce that he is standing in line for the long fourteen hour wait to view ERII laying in state. Denying all of Alberta the day to reflect on the Queen’s reign, while he high-tails it to London, UK to personally take his Sky Palace distraction show on a world tour just points out the great lengths Kenney will take his venal nature.

    I am reminded that before leaving office, Premier Don Getty embarked on a lengthy world tour in honor of his legacy. Going away for three weeks on some glorified vacation just proved how much Getty hated Alberta and everyone in it. Given Kenney’s tendency for similar whack-a-doodle nonsense, I predict that there will be a similar voyage in Kenney’s future as he winds down his august political career. Perhaps a trip to the Vatican, because Kenney has always been such a good Catholic.

  13. Since Her Majesty’s passing, it was a week before I heard a single commentator state the fact that the office of the head of state of Canada is enshrined in the Constitution and that can’t be amended except by meeting virtually impossible thresholds—point final. Otherwise, this past week’s barrage of opinions speculations about “getting rid of the monarchy” is completely moot.

    All this stuff about the person and personality of the monarch, cher alleged culpability for the colonialism of cher royal predecessors centuries ago, cher alleged parasitism by birthright, cher supposed superfluousness, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera is also completely irrelevant to our nation’s governance.

    Availing the rules of royal succession to fill the office is convenient to having a head of state who isn’t unavoidably biased by election, who is therefore focused on cher single guarantee, made good by demonstrable impartiality, that we have popularly elected governments which can act at all times. A non-elected guarantor of democracy makes sense: the job doesn’t involve partisan politics—elected parliaments do that. Chi simply makes sure we have them and that they can get laws passed in a timely fashion.

    Who benefits from putting out all this irrelevant stuff about the monarch’s personality, family, and history, and false characterizations that chi’s merely ceremonial, symbolic, and therefore unnecessary?

    There are still a number of traditional Tories left who support nominal conservative parties by rote brand-loyalty—probably more so in Alberta than in Canada as a whole—and for whom loyalty to the monarchy is strong and reverent. Poilievre, Kenney and other pseudoCons have to pay lip service to the Queen because, in their state of popular decline, appeasing this ever-smaller faction of traditional loyalists is absolutely crucial to their parties’ survival.

    If it weren’t for the Queen’s Tory loyalists, the neo-right’s service to stateless corporatocracy would more blatantly undermine our sovereign jurisdictions’ potential to democratically raise corporate taxes and impose regulations, the very things neo-right governments spent the last 35 years slashing. Making unconstitutional trade deals to protect foreign investment is one way to undermine national sovereignty; diminishing citizens’ capacity to do anything about it by voting is one way to armour this kind of sabotage. In the past four decades neo-right governments have conditioned citizens to hate government and to distrust democracy, targeting it more brazenly (or desperately) as people began to realize trickledown was never gonna happen, that income inequality was gonna keep widening, as climate changed and ecosystems degraded. The neo-right movement thence deployed rearguard tactics like voter suppression, electoral cheating and, in the USA, a wholesale attack on the very democracy which Americans applied to every nook and cranny of their nation—right down to the dogcatcher. As guarantor of her subjects’ democracies, the Queen should have been squarely in the neo-right’s crosshairs—except that democratic silvered bullets just don’t work on her or her successors.

    Indeed, she has been a target. When Harper went south of the border to solicit support from Republicans by ridiculing Canada as a nanny state he promised to make “unrecognizable,” the nanny he referred to might just as well have been the Queen—an easy sell where the US national myth sees monarchy as diametrically opposed to democracy. The HarperCons did have some trouble with displaying official portraits of the Queen, the embarrassment sparking a trite spate of royalizing everything under federal jurisdiction. Yet insincerity was revealed by Harper’s ultimate disrespect when he bullied the Queen’s representative into inappropriately granting him a parliamentary prorogation in order to avoid a confidence vote his government would have lost—a constitutional crisis in the name of the Queen, no less. Further, he maintained that parliament —meaning the only one in which he achieved a majority by way of cheating—is supreme, rather than the democratic constitutional monarchy to which the Queen pledged her guarantee.

    Americans automatically vote for automatic democracy that systemically overrepresents redneck whites and underrepresents blue and gerrymandered blacks and latinos, that systematically elects judges pledged to uphold the biases of their ultra partisan electors (as 39 states do), that elects a presidunce the Electoral College approved with three-million fewer votes than his rival Democrat, a presidunce who still champions democracy by doing his worst to destroy it. For them, disrespect for a non-elected head of state is pervasively automatic.

    Yet the monarchy is so pervasive in Canada in ways many Americans and, sadly, many Canadians don’t quite appreciate, that when Harper disrespected disabled military veterans, he disrespected the Queen. When he smeared Attawapiskat in order to politically discredit BC First Nations who objected to the Northern Gateway pipeline he wanted to push through their unsettled sovereign claims, he disrespected the Queen. When he proclaimed that simply announcing his pipeline plan fulfilled his government’s constitutional obligation to consult meaningfully with FNs, he disrespected the Queen. And she never ran in a single election…

    But what can you expect a conniving neo-rightist to do with a fair and impartial guarantor of sovereign democracy?

    Oh, how times have changed since the CPC salad days of late 2011 to—uh—early 2012…The HarperCon scions are now reduced to paying their respect to the late Queen only because they’re forced to by circumstances of their own making but increasingly out of their control— one who initiated secessionist populism in the Queen’s favourite federation, the other who took selfies with a bunch of goons whose only use for the Queen was to dare her governor to overthrow the democratically elected government she guaranteed we have and join them in perpetual provisionalism.

    And now that K-Boy will soon abdicate, Danielle wants to be Queen of Alberta. But it just doesn’t have the same royal commitment we usually take for granted.

    In the distance they make out a King in a tower surrounded by moots.

  14. Queen Elizabeth II will be dearly missed.
    We may never see such a dedicated, responsible and respected, yet a very clever Monarch. She knew how to remain impartial to avoid appearing taking one side or another.
    I also know she would avoid such trivial matters as to whether people get a day to mourn for her or not.
    No one nor any level of gov’t is obligated to give people a day off to remember her. I doubt many Canadians would have bothered to use a day off to remember her, they’d just use that day off for whatever they’d choose to do. Only Canada, New Zealand and Australia have their own versions of giving time to mourn for her.
    Other countries haven’t offered any such options.
    I’ll be a minority in this, but soon to be ex-premier Jason Kenney got it right. No need to waste a day.

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