Friday, June 08, 2012

This month in Canada's History

Canada's History, now on magazine stands and in your mailbox if you subscribe like you oughta, does the Diamond Jubilee on its cover, with a substantial photo spread and the accompanying text by me.

If I say so myself, I think the issue catches the tone of the Jubilee in Canada. My essay covers both the Friends of the Canadian Crown, which wants to restore the place of the monarch in Canada and is hostile to some of our recent governors-general for not knowing their place, and Citizens for a Canadian Republic, which makes the case for a Canadian head of state.

In Britain recently, I was struck by how huge the Jubilee was going to be in Britain. In Canada, it has been very different.  There's Elizabeth fandom and genuine admiration -- those 60 years have been an extraordinary feat. But there's also quite a bit of "Monarchy? Hmm."  Canada's History gets that.

Update, June 11:  Among other good things in the issue, you might note Steve Turnbull's article "Child Migrant," centred on his father Ken, an English boy shipped off to British Columbia with his brother in 1940 by Fairbridge, a child migration organization. The boys' indigent father had agreed to have them go to Australia, where they had a cousin. Fairbridge decided to change the destination to Canada.
In 1925 [because of abuse and neglect suffered by earlier child migrants] the Canadian government banned the immigration of children under fourteen who were not accompanied by a parent. Despite this, Fairbridge supporters lobbied the government of Prime Minister R.B. Bennett to relax the ban....  Immigration Minister W.A. Gordon said, "he considered the foreign element was getting too large and Canada must increase her British stock."
Consequence:  more neglect and abuse. Steve Turnbull writes, "In my father's somewhat cynical view, the school's real purpose was 'to provide labourers and housemaids for the Empire.'"
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