I have often repeated a metaphoric analogy about being "In Bed with an Elephant", which was the title of a 1969 speech given by Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in Washington, DC, to relate with humour his view of Scotlandís rather stormy relationship with England over the centuries. The point of his comparison of the relationship between the United States and Canada was not lost upon his audience. I admit that I have made the same analogy many times over the years. Canadians hope that the elephant does not decide to roll over. What disturbs us is an overwhelming impulse by certain Scottish elements to appease our neighbours by ignoring facts.

Chief David Ross of Ross and Balnagowan made a highly erroneous statement on January 3, 1996, which must have left him red-faced with embarrassment. Under the heading, The view of the present Chief of the Name and Arms of Ross, he wrote: "There were no Ross clan associations formed in modern times until that of the United States of America in 1976, eight years after I became chief. Today there are large and active associations in Canada and New Zealand also, with 1996 perhaps seeing the formation of one in Scotland."

In reality, Clan Ross Association of Canada, Incorporated, the oldest existing Clan Ross Society, was founded 16 years BEFORE the Clan Ross Association of USA and 8 years BEFORE Chief David became the titular head of the clan. We have heard of no great movement towards a Clan Ross society being formed in Scotland, but Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands all have societies at the present time.

Just as Scotland held no feelings of inferiority in the face of the English elephant, Canada continues to assert its own independence. In the history of the Clan Ross Association of Canada you may read the following paragraph :

"You will note the reference to the Association being incorporated. Letters Patent were granted under the Canada Incorporations Act on May 10, 1991. This was the culmination of the goals of Dr. John and Don Ross realized largely through the efforts and expertise of then-Secretary Edward B. Swinton. Federal incorporation solidified the Association, ensured its permanence in the face of Canada's vast distances and the occasional frailties which beset any volunteer organization, and set us apart as the prime Clan Ross Association in this country, recognized nationally by the Federal Government." As such, the Canadian association could never permit forfeiting control into the hands of a non-Canadian.

Imagine the shock when Chief Davis Ross of Ross proposed, among other things, in Notice of Motion #3 (reported in the Winter Issue - February 1996) that "The Association shall exist by virtue of the approval, support and encouragement of Baron David Ross of Ross and Shandwick, Chief of the Name and Arms of Ross, and his successors in that Chiefship", as well as another new section in the By-Laws, that "The Chief of the Name and Arms of Ross retains the right to approve the By-Laws of the Association. Therefore, the repeal or amendment of all By-Laws shall not be enforced or acted upon until the approval of the Chief has been obtained."

Fortunately, the "Notice of Motion #3" was withdrawn after proper explanations to the Chief of Clan Ross. We applaud the fact that this situation was resolved in an amiable manner. It is still incumbent upon the executive of the Clan Ross Association of Canada, Incorporated, to approve any newly-recognized Chief of Clan Ross to the honourary position as its titular head.

Canadians are still very wary of being "In Bed with an Elephant"... wherever it exists.

© J. Douglas Ross Email: <jdr(at)greatclanross(dot)org>