Saturday, June 25, 2011

How will Prince William deal with Prince William? (Conflicting laws run amok)

(DISCLOSURE: My employer does business with the Calgary Police Service, which presumably is in favor of the Calgary Stampede.)

There are countless situations in which something is legal in one political jurisdiction and illegal in another. But this particular case has an unusual twist.

Any business is bound to offend someone or another. And that is true of the Calgary Stampede, which is opposed by the Vancouver (British Columbia) Humane Society, which uses the old-school acronym "VHS" as a designation. (Apparently Sony isn't big in Vancouver.) The VHS has publicly opposed calf-roping events at Canadian rodeos since 2009 (if not earlier), and isn't that hot on some other rodeo events either. (One of their questions - why would a real cowboy ever ride a bull?)

As part of its effort rodeos, the VHS has formally asked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to skip the opening of the Calgary Stampede this year, despite the fact that they will be in Calgary on a visit on the day the Stampede opens.

For those who don't keep track of British lordly circles, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are more popularly known as William and Kate. They got married recently. Perhaps you heard about it. Anyway, they're making an official trip to Canada which will be eyed by countless royal-watchers, and the VHS realizes that William's and Kate's endorsement (or lack thereof) of the Calgary Stampede will certainly influence others. So the VHS pulled out all the stops in their appeal:

VHS has written to the royal couple advising them that any involvement with the Stampede will be portrayed as an endorsement of rodeo, which VHS says is a spectacle of animal cruelty. VHS is suggesting that they visit an Alberta horse sanctuary as an alternative.

VHS then reminded the Prince:

Rodeos have been banned in the United Kingdom since 1934, when Parliament passed the Protection of Animals Act (which Prince William’s great-great grandfather, George V, signed into law). Britain’s RSPCA is officially opposed to rodeos, as are the national SPCAs of the United States, Australia and New Zealand. The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, which represents most SPCAs in Canada, also opposes rodeo.

The League Against Cruel Sports, one of Britain’s oldest and most respected animal welfare charities, is supporting VHS’s campaign to have calf-roping banned at the Calgary Stampede.

Last year, more than 90 members of the U.K. Parliament signed a motion condemning cruelty at the Stampede.

And here's where the whole thing gets a little sticky.

The VHS appealed to UK laws because Prince William is the grandson of Queen Elizabeth, the head of state of the United Kingdom. And if calf-roping and rodeos are illegal in the UK, then Prince William should oppose the practice elsewhere.

Except for the fact that Queen Elizabeth is also the de jure head of state of Canada, where the practice is perfectly legal. In fact, the Queen (or her eventual successor) would be expected to abide by Canadian law:

The Queen has a unique relationship with Canada, entirely separate from her role as Queen of the United Kingdom or any of her other realms.

As in all her realms, The Queen of Canada is a constitutional monarch, acting entirely on the advice of Canadian Government ministers. She is fully briefed by means of regular communications from her ministers, and has face-to-face audiences with them where possible.

The Queen personifies the state and is the personal symbol of allegiance, unity and authority for all Canadians. Legislators, ministers, public services and members of the military and police all swear allegiance to The Queen. Elections are called and laws are promulgated in The Queen's name.

The Queen is represented in Canada on a day-to-day basis by a Governor-General. He or she is appointed by The Queen on the advice of the ministers of Canada and is completely independent of the British Government.

In fact, one of Prince William's first duties during his visit will be to give flags to people who will have just become Canadian citizens. This particular ceremony will take place on Canada Day.

So William and Kate will not be English people visiting Canada; they'll be Canadians who have just been abroad for a spell. I fully expect Kate to say "Eh" a lot as William downs Molsons. In fact, William might tell this joke to his fellow Canadians:

After the North American Beer Festival, all the brewery presidents decided to go out for a beer. The guy from Corona sits down and says, "Hey Senor, would like the world's best beer, a Corona." The bartender dusts off a bottle from the shelf and gives it to him.

The guy from Budweiser says, "I'd like the best beer in the world, give me 'The King Of Beers', a Budweiser." The bartender gives him one.

The guy from Coors says, "I'd like the only beer made with Rocky Mountain spring water, give me a Coors." He gets it.

The guy from Molson sits down and says,

"Give me a Coke." The bartender is a little taken aback, but gives him what he ordered.

The other brewery presidents look over at him and ask, "Why aren't you drinking a Molson's?"

The Molson president replies, "Well, I figured if you guys aren't drinking beer, neither would I."

And, despite the efforts of the VHS, William and Kate will attend the Calgary Stampede, wearing 10-gallon cowboy hats. (Shouldn't that be 37.85 liter hats?)

And if the VHS plans to protest at the event, perhaps they'll throw 730 large eggs.

Actually, the VHS wouldn't do that. That's cruel to the chickens-to-be. (Assuming the chickens aren't pro-choice.)
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