Those Dastardly Brits and the Evil British Empire

Watching the Royals yesterday at their welcoming ceremony at the Victoria legislature got me to thinking of some of the hypocrisy of these visits with respect to certain elements of the welcoming committee. It wasn’t too long ago that the Mayor of Victoria and four of the city’s councillors refused to swear allegiance to the Queen. Irrelevant they suggested and the Mayor herself offered her support only to First Nations. Huh, well hey, what about me??

In 2015 the Nanaimo city council cut off funding to the annual Empire Day’s organizing committee, unless they changed their name to something less offensive to First Nations. Oh I know: “Queen and Country Days”

“Times are changing,” said Nanaimo City Councillor Diane Brennan. “The term empire is hurtful. It’s a reminder of colonization and oppression of the indigenous people and it’s caused great suffering.”

 Emmy Manson, a councillor with the local Snuneymuxw First Nation, agrees.

“I guess for me it triggers some old history that really isn’t positive for our people,” said Manson.

That history includes residential schools, loss of language and culture and displacement. (sorry to say but this had nothing to do with the Brits)

 Manson said she and other Snuneymuxw people do not attend the event because of its connotation.

“I get why we celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday,” said Manson. “I think that’s what it ought to be called.” (CBC, 22 Jan 2015)

 Well excuse me for a minute Ms Manson but Queen Victoria was the figurehead of that dastardly evil empire that triggers the micro-aggression you refer to.

 My thoughts:

Taking the City of Nanaimo’s lead, perhaps now is the time to change the name of the Victoria Day celebrations to one that is less offensive to local First Nations. After all Queen Victoria, our city’s namesake, represents all that was bad about the British Empire: its colonialism, its trade, economic growth, rule of law, common law, security, individual rights and freedoms, civilization, Magna Carta, infrastructure, semblance of order and, of course, the poor treatment that First Nations people had to endure under the Victorian British brand – as opposed to – the continual inter-tribe warrior raids and inter-band savagery, discrimination and slavery.  Taking Nanaimo’s logic to its proper conclusion, I would suggest that now is also the time that we change the name of Victoria to Camosun, a name which better reflects our First Nation history and heritage. After all those dastardly Brits oversaw Nanaimo and Victoria for a full 17 years from 1853-1871 and 28 years from 1843-1871 respectively. The Canadian government has been responsible for things well after that. How well you may ask?? Well for about 150 years, that’s how well!

And well (sic) we are at it I would also suggest and strongly recommend that we change the name of Canada Day to something less offensive. After all the Canadian government, and not Great Britain, has governed Victoria and the Province of B.C., since 20 July, 1871. In that vein the Canadian government and not Great Britain represents: broken aboriginal promises and treaties; the reserve paradigm; repression of Metis during the  Red River / Northwest Rebellion (1870, 1885); the execution of Louis Riel and imprisonment and subsequent death of Poundmaker, Big Bear and many of their of his brethren;  residential schools; the Indian Act; the segregation and discrimination of Chinese immigrants in accordance with the Chinese Immigration and Exclusion Act(s); the sequester and internment of all Japanese Canadians after 1941; internment of Ukranian and Italian Canadians; the refusal to allow refugees of Indian origin entry into Vancouver in 1914 (the Komagata Maru incident); the refusal to accept 900 Jewish refugees into Canada in 1939 (St Louis Incident), which probably ensured their imminent deaths under a Nazi regime; the Chinese Head Tax; the Duplessis Regime; the Orange Order’s anti Catholic movement and religious discrimination; refusal to recognize women as persons from 1867 – 1930; Africville and the segregation of blacks in eastern and central Canada until 1964; and, the Canadian government “black” list goes on and on.

 Oh we can be so smug, can’t we?

 How I hate hypocrisy!

By the way, at yesterday’s welcoming ceremony, the Governor General’s wife reminded me of a Leprechaun in that outfit she was wearing. The Prince’s Equerry seemed to be more of a hindrance than a help.

Will and Kat looked great. With George and Charlotte they make the perfect family. Hope they have a great time.

Note: I am not a rabid monarchist per se. Heck, I used to shoot spit balls from my pea shooter at the Queen’s picture when I was a kid in school. No, but I do respect our heritage and culture and the contributions made by the British over the years. And I do respect the Commonwealth of Nations: an August body of diverse countries and nations that share a common heritage of sorts. And to me that is a lot better than that farcical United Nations. It is something to embrace, not discard.

A Royal Affair

The Royals, William and Kate and their two children, George and Charlotte, have just arrived here in Victoria. I watched the opening ceremonies with interest. I must say that George really stole the show here. What a cute kid he is. And Charlotte could almost be his twin.

Now I do not consider myself to be an ardent monarchist but I do respect our heritage and historical ties and links to Great Britain, the Commonwealth, and our Queen. We fought two World Wars under the monarchy to defend our Judeo Christian values as well as to free the world from tyranny. I am also very proud to have served for Queen and Country in the Royal Canadian Navy. So:

Welcome to Victoria Will, Kate, George and Charlotte.


The Sky is Falling

I just re-read a prediction the Sierra Club of Canada made about 10 years ago about how Victoria would look under 75 feet of water and how the various areas around the CRD would be affected. I remember writing a letter to the editor at the time – a time when Global Warming hysteria really began – about this very prediction.  I think it is worth repeating here because much of it is still relevant:


Victorians are gurgling with excitement over rising sea levels! Alan Lowe (Mayor of Victoria) and the Sierra Club’s dire prediction of Victorian flooding of biblical proportions because of Global Warming got me to thinking:

  • If you thought the leaky condo issue was big news, standby for heavy rolling;
  • Our buildings have already been upgraded for earthquakes.  It’s now time to make them waterproof;
  • Just think, BC Ferries can now depart from downtown Victoria;
  • Kinda brings a whole new meaning to the Colwood crawl, don’t ya think;
  • Forget Light Rapid Transit. Make way for fast water taxis;
  • Getting rid of those “Fast Cat” ferries may have been a wee bit premature;
  • We won’t have to address our sewage treatment issues. Clover and Macaulay Point will be so far underwater that no one will notice. I hear Methane floats though!
  • We could establish a new tourist attraction: The Clover and Macaulay Point “Hot Springs”
  • The Premier and MLAs need not to fret. We can always move the BC legislature up into the dome – that is when they sit of course;
  • How about this for a new marketing strategy for Victoria’s tourist industry: “Venice of the North” 
  • Small businesses shouldn’t worry. A whole new growth industry could be established in gondolas, scuba gear and undersea gardens and shops;
  • Agricultural Land Reserve?? No problem. Just change the name to Aqua-Cultural Land Reserve. After all, Government can do whatever it wants;
  • Unfortunately though, a new building code will require that all existing downtown buildings over 75 ft in height will have to have jetties and bollards installed above the 75 ft level. Buildings under 75 ft????? Well, they’ll be waterproofed won’t they?

Another crazy prediction from the environmentalists that turned out to be all wet.









All this talk and discussion about values, as in Canadian values, or other values, got me to thinking. After all “value” is only a word:


So take the word “value”….please.  How I hate this word. There are so many variations to the theme that surround this word that any smart minded non English speaking immigrant to our country would think twice about trying to learn or understand the English language.  For example, an individual or group’s perception of worth, based upon personal or collective experiences in a shared environment can only define or measure “value”. “Value”” is illusive, as there are more perceptions of “value” out there are there are cars on the road…

 Let me try to exemplify exactly what I mean here:

 In 2005, I picked up my dear ole mother’s car: a 1979 Mercury Zephyr, something akin to a Falcon or Fairmont – Ford only knows.  My mother could not drive anymore. She was 91 for heaven’s sake.  Anyway, the car had about 56,000 kilometers on the O.D.  Mint condition! Lime Green with a sickly, yellowed tan interior.

 Now the market “value” of that car in 1979 was $6,500.00. Twenty-six years later the book “value” was about zilch. The insured “value” – who knows, but the assessed “value” was about $3,000.00 and climbing, as long as it didn’t disintegrate during the long hard winters.  Its “value” would continue to rise in “value”” as long as its condition remains, well, “valuable.”

Obviously my mother held considerable sentimental “value” in that automobile.  As I pulled away from the big city for the drive back to my home town, I came to understand the hereditary “value” of this gift to me and the intrinsic “value” of the trust she placed in me to take good care of Betsy.

I made it back home in one piece although the water pump went out around Tweed.  Between that and thinking about the local Elvis sightings, I was beginning to ponder the true meaning of life and the mechanical “value” of the car as well as the emotional “value” that this machine may have had and its effect on my own sense of “value” and well being. 

Arriving home I thought about its economical “value” as it had taken over a tank of gas to cover the 300 miles from the really big city to my hometown.  Had I been taken for a ride?  Were there aspects of this car that were known only to my mother, the parish priest, her hairdresser and the bagger at her local supermarket?  I had to contemplate its utility “value” considering the other two cars I had. 

Yet, thinking of my dear ole mother and somewhat excited about the possibility of getting perhaps $3,000.00 for the car’s assessed “value”, I thought hmmm, but quickly shook any thought of that out of my mind for if I “valued” my life I dared not even think about selling dear ole Betsy.

Trying to define “value” can be problematic, which in itself is an extremely overused word.  It’s like common sense.  Something that is taken for granted yet is extremely rare in today’s world.  And trying to make sense out of “value” as in “What are your values?” as opposed to someone else’s values is like an academia nut trying to make sense out of common sense and coming up with pure nonsense.

 There you have it. Shakey Jay’s take on…..Value!

 “The problem with theory is that it’s just not practical enough!”