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Rick Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Rick Blue
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is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Rick Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

He is also a columnist for Montreal's outstanding West Island Gazette..

His LCC columns are archived here

Posted 04.08.15

RICK BLUE

It would be nice if Canada was as independent-minded as Barbados

MONTREAL | Recently I was in the United States, and an American came up to me and asked: "Why do you Canadians have pictures of Helen Mirren on all your money?"

Of course he was joking. But in some ways we might as well have a picture of actress Helen Mirren on our money. She's British. She has never lived in Canada. She is acting out an anachronistic role. And she has very little to do with our lives.

This joke echoed in my head as I read that Barbados, one of the most British of the Caribbean islands, is planning to remove the Queen as its head of state. The prime minister of Barbados was quoted as saying that it makes no sense to keep the British monarch as the head of state in an otherwise independent country.

"It's a little awkward in the year 2015 to still have to stand up and, instead of pledging allegiance to Barbados, to be pledging allegiance to 'Her Majesty the Queen.' "

And apparently Buckingham Palace really doesn't care that much if they remove her.

Now I was born in Blighty. I came here when I was eight months old. So I have a great respect for the British Empire, its history, and its contributions to our global civilization. But I also love and respect my home country of Canada. I have travelled it many times, coast to coast, and stood up for it against enemies both here and abroad.

As much as a singer of funny songs can do.

It's not only the obvious external beauty of the country that inspires me, but that wonderful internal spirit so many Canadians have. We have a playfulness about the ironies of our life and our politics.

In fact, in the rare instance that I come across a hard-core ideologue or puritan activist here I am always thinking; "Are you sure you are really a Canadian?"

We live in a country that is full of contradictions. To take them too seriously would seem to be a one-way ticket to Frustration City. Just look at our charter of rights. That was repatriated from England in 1982. It is supposed to protect our individual rights from egregious laws passed by our governments. And yet, if a law that one province passes is judged to be unconstitutional by our Supreme Court, that province can simply say: "Okay, but notwithstanding that fact, we will enforce our law anyway."

Some charter. But the only way then prime minister Pierre Trudeau could get it passed was to give the provinces the power to ignore it. When you think of it, that's pretty funny.

A month ago was the 50th anniversary of our Maple Leaf flag. Not many remember the squawking that went on when that was passed. Taking the Union Jack off our national flag was like pulling teeth.

And so, apparently, no contemporary politician wants to open the can of worms that would follow any change to the Queen of England's status as our head of state.

So when I perform, I can tell the audience that an American once came up to me and asked why we have a picture of Helen Mirren on all our money. They laugh and we all move on. But I do secretly hope that one day we may become at least as independent as Barbados.

To read Rick Blue's complete column on the West Island Gazette, click here Rick Blue in the West Island Gazette
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