God Save the Queen!
Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her 70th year on the Throne this year.
In honour of this most Royal occasion, Premier Jason Kenney introduced Bill 1: Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Recognition Act back on February 22.
It was the United Conservative Party government’s flagship bill of the 2022.
The new law creates a scholarship for Alberta students, a medal to recognize the work of outstanding Albertans, and a for-life “Honourable” title and “ECA” post-nominal letters for all living current and former Alberta cabinet ministers.
Yes, you read that right.
To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s seventy years as Queen of Canada and Sovereign of the British Commonwealth , Kenney introduced a bill that gives current and former cabinet ministers the ability to call themselves “Honourable” for the rest of their lives.
As far as I know Alberta might be only province to have done this.
As the head of government, Premiers have always been able to hold their “Honourable” title for life, but not regular cabinet ministers.
Provincial cabinet ministers get to call themselves “Honourable” while they are in office as a sign of respect for the office they hold while they hold it, but that used to be it.
It’s an honour to be a cabinet minister but it’s not something they would take for life.
Not like those British Lords who pass on titles and positions to their children.
Back to Alberta.
The home of Honourable Jason Kenney, PC, ECA.
The ECA stands for Executive Council of Alberta by the way.
That’s the formal name of the cabinet.
The PC stands for Privy Council.
That’s a real title that comes with responsibility.
The Privy Council Office is the central agency of the Government of Canada which acts as the secretariat to the Cabinet of Canada.
Kenney was sworn into the Privy Council when he was a federal cabinet minister.
The Alberta title is an automatic thing for people in cabinet now and anyone who used to be in cabinet.
“Who cares, Dave?” you say?
I guess it’s not really a big deal.
It’s just a monarchist vanity project.
It’s not like Kenney is wandering the halls of the Legislature crying “Hail Britannia!” while brandishing a broadsword to bestow knighthoods.
But it’s weird and it’s something that no normal Albertan was asking for.
I doubt many people on the streets of Rocky Mountain House or downtown Calgary were clamouring for a new law to let our politicians hold titles for life.
I’m no monarchist.
I believe the monarchy is an outdated institution that should probably be abolished.
But I also think Alberta politicians voting to give themselves titles for life is a strange way to honour a Queen who has spent seventy years serving honourably in a very difficult role.
It mostly flew under the radar but two NDP MLA did take notice.
They got sharp responses from the UCP, who never explained why they were even doing this.
“That’s certainly not something that anybody has raised to me as their top priority” said Edmonton-Whitemud NDP MLA Rakhi Pancholi said in the Legislature.
“I certainly think it’s coming at an interesting time, considering that there are a number of members of the current cabinet who are having their qualifications and their expertise and their temperament questioned,” Pancholi continued.
“I think that’s at odds with what most Albertans believe in terms of what honorary means, and it’s an interesting timing on this government’s part,” she concluded.
When Edmonton-Castle Downs NDP MLA Nicole Goehring questioned it, UCP deputy government house leader and Kenney acolyte Joseph Schow was quick to jump on her with a Point of Order.
“I guess this is a touchy subject when it comes to the title “honourable” for life,” Goehring replied.
“This piece of legislation is doing just that. It’s providing a space to have the title for life alongside building up students and recognizing their contributions to the province,” she said. “It just seems ridiculous that the two of these things are going together.”
It’s the law now.
So, to all the students who receive the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee scholarships, congratulations.
To all the Albertans who are honoured with the awards, thank you for your service.
And to all the Honourable current and former cabinet ministers, ECA, who have now been bestowed with their new title, enjoy it, I guess.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but please feel free to sign up for the Daveberta Substack.