Gurpreet Singh refuses Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

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.

Comments (32) Add New Comment
ruth renwick
Good for him..i used to be a monarchist but after watching Docs and learning of the abuse of power and human unkindness in this monarchy..not quite happy about it now..Still love Downton Abbey tho.
Rating: +26
Who cares!
Rating: -20
Sid Tan
I accepted the Queen's Diamond Jubilee because it would be discourteous to Don Davies, my Member of Parliament who recommended me. Indeed I thank him and Victor Wong of Chinese Canadian National Council who nominated me. In fact I had thought of not accepting but decided on accepting and returning at a strategic time. That time will come when the many medal recipients in the Chinese head tax/exclusion redress struggle deem it appropriate. The medal could be viewed as acknowledgement recipients are worthy allies and foes. The symbolism to not receive or receive and return is just timing of the grandstanding. I plead guilty in advance!
Rating: -9
Terrence Debassige
Grand Chief Patrick Madahbee of the Union of Ontario Indians also refused the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Rating: +29
Who Cares!!!! Millions of people would care- those whose countries and identities have perished during the colonialism - the so called empire building --- times. He is one journalist, in the community who stands by his principles. He walks the talk. Congratulations, to Gurpreet for not declining the offer!
Rating: +15
He hates the Monarchy yet immigrated to Canada. Despises the role of the Monarchy yet wants the Queen to intervene with Chief Spence. Without the Monarchy Canada would not exist. Finally the suicide of the nurse in London, was not caused solely because of the Royal incident. I can respect his decision, however his reasoning confuses me and seems to be wrapped in hypocrisy.
Rating: +2
Good for him for not being so selfish and for acknowledging all the bad, racial and cultural genocide that the British Monarchy has done to first nations people and many other people across this entire planet!! We need more selfless people like him!! =)
Rating: +13
Elizabeth Pitura
Gurpreet Singh is a wonderful human being!

Rating: -2
Raghbir Blaspuri
u r right.And u dod right step thanks...............
Rating: +5
So, if I have a beef with something I should just have a protest until the Queen intervenes? Give your head a shake...
Rating: +10
Bikramjit Singh
His reasons are bogus. He wants the Queen to apologise for a massacre that occurred nearly a hundred years ago yet he doesn't care that the politicians of his home country have led mobs which killed thousands of innocent Sikhs in 1984. How about sorting out your home country before you immigrate to another country and criticise it's head of state. Looks like this is a case where a politician wanted to honour someone with a brown face and his advisors came up with this guy's name. I don't see much that Gurpreet Singh has done which deserves a honour, unless you count being a sycophant for the Indian government worthy of recognition and honour.
Rating: +6
He hates the monarchy. How unfortunate for him. Perhaps he should have emigrated to the USA rather than to Canada. The monarchy has always been a force for good. Accusing the Queen of responsibility for genocide is ridiculous. Is Barack Obama also to be held responsible for genocide? The British and English governments have never been guilty of genocide, and led the abolition of slavery. The USA however supported slavery and was responsible for the genocide of many indian tribes.
Rating: -1
What an attention seeker.
He doesn’t accept an award from the Queen but would probably happily accept an award from corrupt Indian politicians. If this guy’s reasons for disliking the queen for what happened 200/300 years ago, then he might want to look into what good things the British monarchy did for India. I'm pretty sure if he researched these facts they would outweigh what he knows about the "Bad things" that happened; it’s not the Queens fault that India turned to shit since 1950.
After all why should the Queen apologize for what some trigger happy general did 90 years ago when she wasn't even in power? Why should it matter to him when he wasn’t even alive then?
Do Japanese people hate Americans for dropping nukes on them? No
Nobody told that nurse to kill herself. The only apology should come from the DJ’s that made the prank call.
Recently, the British monarchy has apologized and paid compensated for a lot of things that they did wrong 100 to 300+ years ago, you don’t hear of the Spanish crown or other European government apologizing for what they did to world’s indigenous peoples.
Stop trying to be a patriot for a country you are taking advantage of and just appreciate being recognized for what you have achieved/contributed weather you accept it or not.
Rating: +6
I'm actually sympathetic to 1/2 of Mr. Singh's beefs.
Bit of a stretch linking the Indian and Canadian experience. Canada would not have survived as "Canada" were it not for Great Britain and Our 1st Nations allies. [that Britain is a constitutional Monarchy is a side issue at best and a red herring at worst] One thing we both benefit from is the establishment of the rule of law [despite it's short comings].Without that; neither country would be benefiting from the current explosion in trade and commerce
Re:1919 I think Britain opened North America to Indian [1920's wasn't it] before the USA did--I know it's an indirect apology but hey I'm sure you of all people can under stand how important face saving is when your a Monarch.
I respect your right to say "thanks but no thanks".
Do it privately and with respect. No grandstanding.
Appreciate where you have been fortunate enough to land.
Sadly there are a lot of places in world you'd be dead openly dissing "TOP DOG" no matter be it King, Queen, Pres., Emperor, Sultan or Maharaja. If you really have your heart in 1919 take the proceeds of your good fortune and good luck with that; don't bring it here--hey--it's a free country .
I thank my parent every day for bringing me to this country;
Ya, I too was a bit pissed that the "Commonwealth" folks
[hey--did that include you] got to play from day one. [we had to wait 5 years] but would not go back even though Holland is appealing some days.
Rating: +4
Rahan Mayadas
What rubbish !!

The world should not forget the role that the English have shown in developing countries with their fair play, gentlemenship and a spirit of honour.

They unified India, brought a system of governance with no communal tensions, corruption and immoral activities !!

Rating: -6
Class system; cast system. mmm not so sure about fair play.
They sure were "love at 1st sight". Go figure.
Immoral activities--British don't have sex do they?
Rating: +12
great comments, and then quite a few dumb ass.
Rating: -5
What a stupid article, this doesn't belong in a serious journal like Focus. Who is Charlie Smith anyway and who exactly is "bragging" about "winning" a Jubilee Medal? (I wonder how you "win" one of those? LOL) No one apparently, but one person is bragging about refusing it!
Rating: -6
Martin Dunphy

1. "Stupid"? A matter of opinion, but point taken.
2. This is not Focus.
3. Charlie Smith is the editor of the Georgia Straight, which is what you are actually reading.
4. There are people "bragging" (i.e., sending out news releases).
5. You "win" a Diamond Jubilee Medal by being nominated, usually by a sitting politician or prominent local citizen. Most of the nominees are people of exemplary character or have rather large bank accounts. They must have done something to bring credit to themselves and their region of Canada.
7. There are 60,000 of the medals to be distributed in Canada by the office of the secretary to the governor general before the end of February. You are correct: the number of honorees refusing their medal is very small indeed.
Rating: +13
Good on the Straight for highlighting this as most main stream media cower in fear of the harperites/cons.

Now that we are in the 2nd Decade of the 21st Century why does Canada need a 'Monarchy' or Queen as Head of State & GG Reps.

Imagine all the Ca$h Canada would save by getting rid of the Queen as Head of State!

All that Money $$$ could go to Canadian Health Care & Education!

Imagine NOT having to pay for Charlie Big Ears Vacation not to mention his kids & Parents. Imagine instead that Ca$h going to Canadians :).

The British permanently DIVIDED India by allowing the Partition of Pakistan (a failed Terrorist Nuclear State now) whereby the world today stands in a hair trigger Nuclear Standoff that could ignite WW III.

Any full scale War will engage their Neighbors Nuclear Communist China, Russia and sooner or later the US and therefore Canada.

That is the legacy of British Rule of India leading up to todays Nuclear standoff.

In the meantime lets VOTE to get rid of the outdated useless costly to Canadians Monarchy.

Those who support the Monarchy please send your pay check's to that old (German Heritage Royals?) Queen :).
Rating: -3


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