Today, I received a message from one of our contributors, Gurpreet Singh, saying he’s turned down an award that many others are bragging about winning.
Singh, also a talk-show host on Radio India, had been offered a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from Newton–North Delta NDP MP Jinny Sims.
But he let me know that he didn’t want it—and not out of any disrespect for Sims, the fiery former president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.
Once again, Singh has proven that he doesn’t just run with the pack.
Here are five reasons why this immigrant from India decided that he didn’t need to pin one of these medals on his chest to prove what a great Canadian he is:
• He hates the monarchy and wants an elected constitutional head of state in Canada.
• The Queen represents a colonial empire that brought destruction to India and Canada.
• The Queen did not apologize for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre ordered by Brig.-Gen. Reginald Dyer in 1919, even though she visited Amritsar in the Indian state of Punjab where the atrocity occurred.
• A nurse of Indian origin committed suicide after being accused of breaching the Royal Family’s privacy by leaking news of Kate Middleton’s condition during pregnancy.
• The Queen and her Governor General have not shown compassion toward Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and the indigenous peoples.
Singh’s decision comes in the same month that writer Naomi Klein and singer Sarah Slean rejected the same offer.
Meanwhile, Council of Canadians chair Maude Barlow reportedly mailed her medal back to Gov. Gen. David Johnston because of his initial refusal to meet with Chief Spence.
Awards are often grossly over-rated. It’s nice to see that some folks are trying to make use of these baubles to educate people rather than simply wrapping themselves in glory.