Grand River Branch
United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada
Selected Reprints from the
Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches
"Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip To Visit Canada" "Godfrey-Milliken Bill (Compensation For Loyalist Losses)" "Molly Brant Commemoration (August 25, 1996)"
Gary Peters, Editor, February 1997, Vol.9 No.1, Pages 1-3
The nation will be honoured on its 130th anniversary with a visit from Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. The royal couple is expected to be in Canada between June23 and July 2, 1997. They will visit Newfoundland and Ontario, including the Ottawa-Hull area. They are also expected to be in Ottawa on Dominion Day. Queen Elizabeth visited our country in 1994 when she opened the Commonwealth Games in Victoria.
The Queen's last tour was marred by anti-monarchist tirades, though she was well received in most parts of the nation. The monarchy is obviously going through difficult times and significant changes are about to emerge in its nature and expression in the United Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth's long reign has witnessed the decline of Great Britain, the end of Empire, the rise of republican sentiments in the old "white dominions", and her children (like so many others today), are victims of modernity.
The Canadian media are increasingly hostile to the royal family and to the continuation of the monarchy in Canada. Almost all guest editorial writers in the (Kitchener-Waterloo) Record, for example, who have commented on the monarchy over the past few years, have been republicans -- universally disparaging and sarcastic in their assessments. The royal visit this summer will invite much more of this invective, including a great deal of spurious and ignorant arguments on the value, existence and expense of the Crown in Canada. The U.E.L.A. and its members, though we understand the need for debate and necessary adaptations in our governing institutions, should be prepared to openly counter and refute the republican nonsense. God Save the Queen! and, I might add, so should we!
Members of Parliament John Godfrey (Don Valley West) and Peter Milliken (Kingston and the Islands) want a little bit of the United States, in compensation for losses incurred by their Loyalist ancestors during the American Revolution. John Godfrey would like to reclaim his ancestral home in Carter's Grove, Virginia and Peter Milliken would very much appreciate the return of a small portion of the Mohawk Valley in New York State.
The Godfrey-Milliken private member's bill was announced to the press at Fort York on July 24, 1996 and introduced in Parliament on October 22, 1996. Private members' bills rarely have the support of the government, but the Godfrey-Milliken Bill clearly succeeded as a spoof of the Helms-Burton Act passed by Congress and ratified by President Clinton. Under the American law, Cuban-born, naturalized citizens, who suffered property losses after Fidel Castro's communist revolution in 1959, will be able to sue foreign businesses which now profit from those properties. The Helms-Burton Act targets many Canadian and European companies operating in Cuba.
The Godfrey-Milliken Bill, aside from excluding foreigners who would have dared to traffic or profit from seized Loyalist land, would have also permitted descendants of the United Empire Loyalists to apply for compensation for their ancestors' properties. Nearly three million Canadians could have potentially settled for a few trillion dollars (U.S.) after factoring in compound interest. Article V of the Treaty of Paris (1783) provided for the "restitution of all Estates, Rights and Properties, which have been confiscated". Although ratified by Congress at the time, the weak federal government was unable to force the new state governments to comply and the Loyalists were persecuted and forced into exile with the attendant loss of all their previous possessions.
Morley Safer, commentator for the CBS news hour "60 Minutes". was rather tickled by the Godfrey-Milliken initiative when he critiqued the Helms-Burton Act on October 20, 1996. John Godfrey and Peter Milliken are to be commended for their efforts. For once, the United Empire Loyalists received widespread and sympathetic treatment in the media and the press. Mr. Godfrey is a new member of Toronto Branch, U.E.L.A.
The Cataraqui Loyalist Town Crier, newsletter of the Kingston and District Branch U.E.L.A. reported on the bicentennial commemorative services for Konwatsi'tsaienni Degonwadonti (Molly Brant). The services were held on August 25, 1996 which has been named "Molly Brant Day". Church services at St. George's, Kingston were followed by a dedication and unveiling of a plaque
in St. Pauls' churchyard. Chief R. Donald Maracle spoke about Molly Brant's life., her leadership and contributions to her people, and to our history. Kingston and government dignitaries were joined by Mohawk and First Nations Chiefs and other Native participants. Ms. Barbara Bloor of the Department of Canadian Culture and Heritage began with a tribute to all the organizers "whose efforts ensured that the memory of Molly Brant and her role in the development of Canada be recalled with grace and dignity".
Molly Brant stood by the Crown during the Revolution and her activism secured the support of the Iroquois Chiefs for the British side. Women were politically powerful in Iroquois society and the Native alliance with Britain helped to secure British power in Upper New York and north of the lakes during the Revolution.
Dr. Earle Thomas is the author of a new biography: Three Faces of Molly Brant published by Quarry Press, P.O. Box 1061, Kingston, Ontario K7L 4Y5. The book can be ordered and you will be invoiced ($19.95 + GST).