Royal Visit

It is a typical Friday morning in Uptown Saint John. There are a few people sitting around casually chatting to one another. The big issues on peoples minds are focused on what cuts the Mayor and City Council are going to make in their budget, that the one time great Saint John Flames hockey team are having their season opener later tonight, or that tomorrow is the first day of the long-awaited Thanksgiving Day long weekend. In all there is not much thought being given to the fact that in a small city an hour and a half to the north the queen is arriving.

Earlier as I waited what seemed to be an eternity for the bank to open, an elderly man slowly entered and joined me in the wait. Casually I asked him what was his thoughts about the queen. “She is not of great concern,” he said gasping for air, “There are worse ways for the government to waste money, but I like things the way they are, and I would miss it if it was gone. She (the queen) is a magnificent person.”

After leaving my table in Market Square, I took a stroll out on to the board walk. Out there I ran into two nice and polite women, who I later found out were Americans from the southern state of Texas. Apparently they had just arrived on the cruse ship, Royal Princess, that was docked down the street at the Pugsly Terminal. “Oh God!, I don’t know about these things but,” the older one said, ‘the current queen is nice, although I don’t know about her successors.”

When I approached a friendly, middle-aged man on my way down Prince William Street to my old high school he said, “It is not costing us anything, why change it?”

Questioning the high school students at Saint John High School on a smoke break went no where, many of them following my questions with, “What is a monarch?,” and, “What is a head of State?” This from a school that when I went there was renowned for being the intellectually advanced school in the city. I was puzzled is this going to be another generation of people who don’t really care, who cares is it comes or goes.

One student that understood the question felt that the queen should be replaced by Jean Chrétien after he retires in the winter of 2004 because, “He’s done a lot for Canada.”

Later on I ran into another man who felt that like most of the people who it does not really matter if the royalty came or went. He felt that before getting rid of the monarch they should get rid of the Senate. “They both don’t do anything but the queen does not cost a fortune like the Senate does.”

According to the Monarchist League of Canada the queen does not really cost us anything because we would have to pay for a President anyway if we got rid of her. According to the Parliament of Canada Website the Monarch costs about $1.02 per Canadian where the Senate costs about $6.73 per Canadian.