The Monarchist League of Canada has called the removal of a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II a “lamentable action.” Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith has since issued an apology over the removal of the portrait (Black Press File).

Monarchist League of Canada calls Sidney’s removal of Queen’s portrait ‘lamentable’

Sidney Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith has since issued apology over removal

A national organization promoting Canada’s constitutional monarchy says the removal of Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait from council chambers represents a “lamentable action” that will “reflect badly” on British Columbia.

Robert Finch, who describes himself as the Dominion Chairman and President of the Monarchist League of Canada, made those comments in a letter to Sidney council. Council considered the letter as well as other correspondence on the subject during its Oct. 15 meeting.

It was the same meeting during which Sidney Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith apologized for changes in the decor of council chambers that included the removal of the portrait.

RELATED: Sidney Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith issues apology over removal of Queen portrait

“I sincerely apologize for not communicating these changes at the time they began,” McNeil-Smith said in a prepared statement. “I didn’t want to appear as trying to score reconciliation points, and I intended a shorter transition period. We should all look forward to the Sidney [council chamber] being more inclusive of our history with the First Nations piece, the Queen’s Portrait, and the Sidney Town Crest hanging here in the coming weeks.”

McNeil-Smith said in a statement that it was his decision to remove the portrait. “I decided to temporarily take it down until the Sidney Town Crest and First Nations piece were ready to go up together with the Portrait,” he said. McNeil-Smith said he never intended to permanently remove the portrait or replace it with a piece of First Nations art, adding he respects Canada’s status as a constitutional monarchy and a hereditary sovereign as its head of state.

The letter from Finch were among several that council received on the subject. Finch called the decision to remove the portrait “absurd” among other points and appeared to argue that removal would actually undermine reconciliation with First Nations.

RELATED: Sidney’s acting mayor says no one noticed removal of Queen’s portrait

While it is outside the league’s mandate to “intervene in the politics and controversies” surrounding First Nations’ issues, “we can all agree that reconciliation amongst all Canadians is a good thing,” said Finch. “To remove the portrait of a monarch who has fostered close ties with our First Peoples throughout her reign, and who has no responsibility for the politics, law-making and actions of elected officials is simply illogical,” he said.

But if Finch expressed disbelief, if not indignation, about Sidney’s decision, he also warned league members in British Columbia to temper their criticism.

“Monarchists need to exercise great restraint in our language, though not in expressing the strength of our convictions, as we are protesting this unjustified act, so that our indignation at a distortion of reality not be seen as an impediment to reconciliation, or any insensitivity to the many and tangled matters surrounding First Nations’ issues,” he said.

Others were less diplomatic in their critique.

“Are we not a Commonwealth country?” asked Robert Westlake. “Is the Queen not head of state? Removal of her picture from a place of prominence is disgusting. As for wasting taxpayer money on some vague so called [Aboriginal] art, you should certainly not place it in a superior position to the Queens portrait.”

But if the correspondence on the subject was largely critical, the (temporary) removal also received support.

“I’m sure you’ll hear lots of whining about removal of the Queen’s portrait from council chamber,” wrote Hilary Smith. “But I applaud the move. We are big boys [and] girls, a colony no longer.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Escaped Metchosin inmate sentenced to additional year tacked on to 14-year sentence

Man escaped from William Head Institution arrested days later in Esquimalt

Barbecue cooks up benefits for Movember foundation

Father’s battle with prostate cancer encourages Victoria man to support the cause

Visions Gala attendees step up to raise $1M for Victoria hospitals

Money goes towards purchasing critically needed imaging equipment

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

12 Sooke events to get you into the holiday spirit

From a Santa parade to classicial music, Sooke has it all

B.C. pushes for greater ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

B.C. petition calls for seat belts in new school buses

Agassiz bus driver collects 124,000 signatures in support

Duncan man gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty trial

Joe also gets lifetime ban on owning animals

Campbell River RCMP officer assaulted during traffic stop

Officer expected to make a full recovery; had been conducting impaired driving investigation alone

BC SPCA seeks help after senior cat attacked by dog twice

Nine-year-old tabby named Meow Meow will need her front leg amputated

Most Read