As the world watched the Queen’s Jubilee last weekend, it led to discussions about the purpose of a monarchy in/for Canada. The bigger questions: Is it relevant? Do people care?
I indirectly mentioned this last month in a column about national holidays, noting Victoria Day isn’t about the previous queen at all, rather it’s the unofficial kick-off to summer simply known as “May long weekend.” It’s not a hotly debated issue because, let’s be honest, most Canadians aren’t discussing the Royal Family at parties.
The federal government was criticized about the lack of festivities leading up to the celebration. On May 17, CBC posted a story titled, “Monarchists criticize Canada’s ‘lacklustre’ and ’embarrassing’ Platinum Jubilee plans.”
As a nationally syndicated radio host with audiences in Canada and the U.S., I’m constantly covering world and entertainment events. Whether it’s awards shows in Hollywood, chatting with Donald Trump in New York City after The Celebrity Apprentice finale, attending Betty White’s 90th birthday, or reporting from Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics, I’ve been around the block a time or two.
It was Jan. 25 that the idea of covering the Jubilee was added to our summer content lineup. One of our segment producers reached out to the media relations team at the Governor General’s office on Jan. 28 to find out what opportunities there would be. To its credit, there was a prompt reply, however it was directing my colleague to the High Commission of Canada in the U.K. That’s when, if I can be blunt, sweet fark all happened. (You know what word I wanted to use, right?)
The chase continued Feb. 1 when we contacted the High Commission’s press office. Then again on Feb. 8. By Feb. 15, with no response from the U.K., we bounced it back to the GG’s media team. There was no reply. Ditto on Feb. 23, noting we were “again requesting assistance from the taxpayer-funded office.” Still, nothing. Another attempt Feb. 28, this time looping in the prime minister’s office media relations team. Boom – wouldn’t ya know it?
On March 1, the High Commission’s press office replied with “apologies for missing this email.” (Fact check: emails plural.) The rep stated they were “not in a position yet to share further details” about media opportunities and noted we’d be added to the “Jubilee media mailing list” to “receive updates as and when they come through.” We checked in on May 25 to see if any notifications had been missed. There had been none.
From March 1 to, well, today in June, there was one email. It was an invitation sent on May 30 to attend the lighting of a Jubilee Beacon atop Canada House in London on June 2. That’s it.
I’m not suggesting there was poor planning for the Jubilee. I’m confident preparations were underway for years leading up to it. I’m surprised official Canadian offices were MIA when a media outlet was eagerly hoping to cover the events. (Full disclosure: I have no interest in the Queen but it would’ve been incredible content for our platforms.)
In my 17 years of working with PR folks, I expected better communication from said departments, especially when it came to such a historic moment for the world.
The impression I got: Canada didn’t give a damn about the Queen’s Jubilee. Based on my experience and the observations of monarchists, it makes me wonder if Canada is headed for a royal shift.