Simoneau: How ought to we mark Victoria Day? By treading calmly


Canadians have blended emotions on the monarchy. Mel Simoneau, nonetheless, is not ‘drained’ of the dialogue.

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There are other ways to verify car tire tread, together with inspecting the tread bars or utilizing a gauge. Most drivers can inform tread put on by eyesight and digging their fingertips into the tire.

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Do this. Insert a coin (the toonie is an efficient one) into the tire tread. Use the facet with the polar bear. The tread is sweet and deep if the coin sinks as much as the bear’s ft. If the silver a part of the toonie is seen, there’s a questionable diploma of wear and tear.

I’m a pre-toonie boomer. Prior to now, apart from a fast visible verify of my tire treads, I’ve used a penny (by the way in which, thanks, out of date penny, for that timeless idiom: you’re in my ideas, too). I inserted it on its obverse facet with Queen Elizabeth II’s head the wrong way up. I hoped her head would sink deeply. If it was too seen, I knew my tread had important put on.

Close to the top of the Second Phrase Struggle, Elizabeth (then Princess Elizabeth) skilled as a driver and mechanic (she was dubbed the “Princess Auto Mechanic”). Identified to be sensible, she in all probability knew a model of this tire-tread trick. She was recognized, too, for her humour and one-liners. Did she ever insert a coin carrying the picture of her dad, King George VI, into the tire treads of the automobiles she serviced? Hmm, possibly she joked inwardly: “Father, thanks for the depth of your service.”

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Monday is Victoria Day. Queen Victoria, Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother, was born on Might 24, 1819, and in 1845 the Province of Canada declared her birthday an official vacation. That point was a part of the Nice Migration period (1815 to 1850), and the Province, already dwelling to many British residents, would welcome extra of them and their dedication to the monarchy. Victoria, in fact, additionally properly named Ottawa our nation’s capital.

The British North America Act, 1867 (now, the Structure Act, 1867) acknowledged our new nation, however Canada nonetheless had a Structure owing to Britain. Canada advanced into fuller autonomy with the Statute of Westminster 1931, a further transfer away from British legislative powers. Lastly, in 1981, then-prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau pushed to patriate the Structure, which might go on to incorporate the Constitution of Rights and Freedoms, and an amending method in order that Canada may make its personal modifications to its Structure. After intensive cross-country rancour, primarily by federal and provincial leaders, an settlement (minus Québec) was reached and the Structure Act, 1982 was proclaimed by Elizabeth II.

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That was “previous Canada.” What about at the moment — the monarchy, and particularly Victoria Day? Can we have fun the day and its that means? No. Probably not. Sort of. Some do, a really small quantity. Many Indigenous Peoples typically preferred Elizabeth II, however the Crown additionally meant centuries of colonial energy and its abusive authority. Québec refers to Victoria Day as Journée nationale des Patriotes; it isn’t a paid vacation for a lot of employees within the Atlantic provinces; and colloquially, it’s usually referred to as the “lengthy weekend in Might,” or the “Might Two-4” weekend (see: “Let’s get a case of 24 and head to the cottage”).

Elizabeth II died final September. Polls taken after her demise and this winter point out that roughly 50 per cent of Canadians favour slicing ties with the monarchy, and a bigger share need a nationwide referendum on the matter. Ought to we abandon a flawed however viable constitutional monarchy to have interaction within the enormously advanced job of adopting republicanism?

Within the picture of that earlier-mentioned Arctic bear on the toonie, the controversy could be polarizing. The fast-witted “Princess Auto Mechanic” may even add: “It will be tiring.”

How one can have fun Victoria Day, then? It’s thought-about to be the primary lengthy weekend that appears ahead to summer time temperatures (and it has been a cool spring). “Blissful First-Unofficial-Lengthy-Weekend-of-Summer season Day!” Can we attain a consensus on that?

Mel Simoneau is a Gatineau author.


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