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JEFFREY SIMPSON

Here’s a royal suggestion Add to ...

Memo to the Prime Minister

From: Nigel Wright, chief of staff

Subject: Back to the Future

You asked for suggestions about how to build on our restoration of the British monarchy as a Canadian symbol and our “tough on crime” policies in order to retrofit Canada for the 1950s, while appealing to our party’s core supporters. Here are a few thoughts:

1. Remove Sir John A., Wilfrid Laurier and Robert Borden from our paper currency and replace them with British monarchs such as Elizabeth I, Henry VIII and George V. Replace the Famous Five Canadian women with likenesses of Emily Pankhurst and other British suffragettes.

2. Ease out David Johnston as Governor-General and replace him with Prince William. This would give Canada a profile on the international stage it has hitherto lacked.

3. Rename government agencies, as in Royal Canadian Research Council, Royal Canadian Department of Finance, Royal Museum of Civilization and Royal Court of Canada.

4. Name other institutions for members of the Royal Family, as in Prince Philip Arts Centre, Prince Charles Archives, Princess Anne Musical Ride, Prince Edward Experimental Farm and the Queen Mother Medical Institute for Health Research.

5. Bring back the Red Ensign, or insert a picture of the Crown in the middle of the Maple Leaf on our flag.

6. Place a replica of the Crown atop the Peace Tower, with light bulbs to illuminate it at night. Replace the summer sound-and-light show on Parliament Hill with scenes from the Last Night of the Proms.

7. Rename cities for famous British soldiers and statesmen with links to Canada, as we did with Halifax, Victoria and Vancouver. We could call Calgary Remittance (for the young Brits who settled in southern Alberta). Replace Quebec City with Wolfetown, Montreal with Durham, Winnipeg with Wolseley (in memory of the chap who led the quashing of the Red River Rebellion). Toronto could retake the name York, and Ottawa Bytown (after John By, the engineer who masterminded construction of the Rideau Canal).

8. Rename the CBC the Royal Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Build on its non-stop replays of William and Kate’s tour by allocating special funds for replays of royal tours and royal marriages (but not Charles and Di). Buy the broadcast rights to The King’s Speech (but not The Queen, with Helen Mirren).

9. Encourage MPs to appear at cricket and rugby matches. These are good British sports with a certain following in the ethnic communities we’re courting so successfully (such as South Asians, Irish, Caribbean immigrants and Samoans). Since polo is a royal favourite, urge the Royal Canadian Olympic Committee to press for polo’s inclusion in the Olympic Games. Suggest you personally attend the Queen’s Plate.

10. Urge the National Gallery of Canada to include some British pastoral paintings among the Group of Seven collection.

11. Propose the creation of a Commonwealth Expeditionary Force, led by a British general with a Canadian second-in-command, to be deployed wherever former bits of the Empire need help (such as Sudan).

12. Replace the Brock Monument in Queenston with something three times taller. Do so urgently to remind the Americans on the 200th anniversary of how the British whipped them in the War of 1812.

13. Create the Kate Middleton Fashion Prize for the best in Canadian haute couture.

14. Rename Peterborough’s Lakefield College the Prince Andrew Secondary School in honour of his attendance there.

15. Bring back the idea of a National Portrait Gallery, but call it the Royal Portrait Gallery, fill it with paintings of royals, and put it in the old U.S. embassy building across from Parliament.

16. Appoint the head of the Monarchist League as high commissioner to London. (Cancelling Gordon Campbell’s appointment would do us good politically, given the HST fiasco in B.C.)

17. Require all immigrants seeking citizenship to recite the words to The Maple Leaf Forever (“In days of yore, from Britain’s shore …”)

P.S. I’ll be sending another memo shortly about how to make the criminal justice system better fit the needs of the 1950s.

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