Comment by Strega on December 14, 2012 at 4:55pm

Do you really pledge to Her Maj?  We don't, in the UK, I had no idea Canada did that.  Other than the USA, Canada and North Korea, is pledging common?

I think the standing bit is in respect of the formality of the office, not the office-holder.  If you are declaring that you do not have respect for the office, then there is most probably no need for you to stand.  Does anyone really care?  Isn't it used to kind of call the room to order?

I'm just asking because I really have no concept of pledge-giving or disrespecting a particular office.  I'm not criticizing - I don't understand either enough to have an opinion; I'm simply curious.

Comment by kris feenstra on December 14, 2012 at 6:52pm

In Canada you do not typically say oaths outside of certain types of public service. A member of Parliament, for instance, would say the Oath of Allegiance when they assume office. It may also be embedded in the Oath of Citizenship (which native citizens don't have to say). I think I was made to say it in grade one in the morning along with the national anthem, but it's hard to recall. When I was in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, I had to say the following on graduation from AC 2nd Class to AC 1st Class:

  • I, AC Feenstra, hereby affirm my loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen, her heirs, and successors.

It was problematic for me because even at twelve, I did't make pledges or promises with hollow convictions. I don't really understand why anyone should trust me if my words are that shallow.

I would say you stand both for the office and for the office-holder. In my case, I don't agree that the offices should exist. Does anyone really care about standing or not standing? Some really do, though I think the average Canadian does not. It usually happens to me at the opera, so it's a different crowd there. More stuffy monarchists than normal. Standing is also more of an exceptional, unofficial act in that scenario.

It is the inability to care that concerns me for two reasons. The act of standing can be taken as synonymous with speaking the word 'respect'.

  1. To have no opinion on whether or not you respect the office seems weird. To wilfully avoid forming an opinion when confronted with the issue is even weirder. In the case of the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governor, these are the Queen's representatives. The offices have some legitimate legal authority, and do cost taxpayer money. In relative terms, it's not a lot of money at the federal level (millions or tens of millions), but that doesn't mean it should be used as royal toilet paper.
  2. Gestures are part of language. Some people would think it strange to put so much feeling into standing, but they are looking at it backwards in my opinion. Standing is simply a symbol for all of that feeling. By eliminating such symbolism, we're heading toward Newspeak, where everything is just generic, tacit approval.

If I gave the impression that Canadians are prone to stand on ceremony (no pun), I'd say we typically don't. I'm speaking from the perspective of one who feels his country lacks depth in customs and traditions, and this has its problems just as fierce nationalism does. Q: How do you typically discern if a Canadian cares about something or not? A: Damned if I know. 

Comment by Ed on December 15, 2012 at 10:48pm

The one I remember to this day is the one I recited when joining the armed services. To uphold the Constitution and defend it's principles. I am still VERY comfortable with that.

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