Like Queen Elizabeth, we should all aim to bring positive improvement to our corner of the world
By Eric Nederlof, Representative
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II served with dignity and grace and was a credit to the crown in all respects. Though her “job” in many respects was ceremonial, she took the duties of being the public face and in many ways, the conscience, of Britain and the Commonwealth seriously.
She was very effective at distinguishing herself, and by extension, her subjects as a people with honour, dignity, and strength of character.
She did this consistently for over 70 years! Even right until the end, holding a private meeting with the new prime minister of England just two days before her death.
Queen Elizabeth’s death on September 8, 2022, marked the end of her reign—the longest serving British monarch ever. Her eldest son, Charles, became King Charles III at the age of 73.
Now, he has finally gotten the “job” he’s had to wait his whole life for—years after many regular workers have reached the age of retirement!
Let’s pray all those years of apprenticing will lead him to build on her legacy.
At times like this, though, questions regarding the purpose and value of the monarchy are highlighted throughout the British Commonwealth, particularly since it is solely a ceremonial and figurehead role and costs so much money. Direct and indirect costs of the crown to Canada are estimated at between $60 to $70 million per year, including the Canadian figures of the crown such as the governor general and provincial lieutenant governors.
Financial considerations alone do not determine the value of things. To be sure, even if our governments decided to end spending on the crown, they could easily find other ways to squander these funds.
Our federal government alone is estimated to have lost on average $8 billion per year through waste and mismanagement from 1988-2013. That’s likely only gotten worse over the last 10 years.
So, does the British monarchy bring value to Canadians that justify its costs? Well, we have a statutory holiday in honour of Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother, Victoria. There’s a decent Netflix series called The Crown that’s good television. Then there’s the endless tabloid stories of the William-Harry saga and the Kate-Meghan rift.
However, the third Monday in May could easily find a replacement reason for having a paid holiday, there are plenty of good stories that can be made into good television, and we definitely don’t need more celebrities to gossip about and have spied on.
What, besides price tags, determines value then? The necessity, usefulness, rarity, or beauty of something adds to—or makes—its value. Something is valuable if it provides an outcome that’s positive and not negative.
CLAC believes this is a true assessment for every vocation our members engage in. It doesn’t matter if you are a personal support worker, a heavy equipment technician, or the queen of England.
Bathing a soiled resident and replacing a head gasket are both necessary and useful, though not exactly aesthetically pleasing. But there is definitely beauty in caring for and maintaining the dignity of another human being as well as in the sound of a purring engine. There is a positive outcome and accomplishment for society in such tasks.
See the value in what you work at. It might be boring but useful, messy but necessary, modest but beautiful. The wage it attracts is often not indicative of the worth it has to society and even less so for the intrinsic worth it has for you and those you serve through it.
So, whatever task you do—from the most menial or repetitive to the most glamourous or difficult—do it to the best of your ability with dignity and care. Aim to bring positive improvement to your corner of the world.