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David Johnston Named Next Governor General July 8, 2010

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The North Saskatchewan Branch of the Monarchist League of Canada congratulates and applauds the announced appointment of David Johnston as Canada’s next Governor General.

CTV’s Robert Fife broke the story late Wednesday evening: University of Waterloo President David Johnston would become the next Governor General.

Further details about David Johnston are available from many different media outlets today (CBC, SUN).

The Monarchist League of Canada congratulates and warmly welcomes professor Johnson:

Those who have followed Professor Johnston in his career know his abundant “people skills”—an affable personality—and deep knowledge of Canada’s constitution and diverse social history. These qualities, combined with a truly global perspective and seasoned political experience at the federal level, are excellent indications that he will faithfully serve The Queen and all Canadians as their next Governor General.

It’s pleasing to see an experienced, but non-partisan, Canadian appointed as Governor General.

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The Queen to Annoint Next GG in Person February 17, 2010

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Don Martin has a fascinating article in the National Post today about how the Queen might personally appoint the next Governor General of Canada. Apparently, the plan:

would see Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean replaced July 1 on the eve of her fifth anniversary as a phenomenally popular force of personality and fashion sense.

The unique twist would see the 28th vice regal sworn in by Queen Elizabeth II herself during her nine-day tour of Canada which starts June 28.

Who that next GG will be is the next interesting question. Martin suggests Northerner and Inuit leader Mary Simon. His other candidate is retired General John de Chastelain. Both candiates have ambassadorial and high-level negotiation experience. Both are also experienced in academia. Gen. de Chastelain is the only person to serve twice as the Chief of Defence Staff since that office was created in 1964.

A Thought on the Future of the Monarchy November 12, 2009

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A CBC documentary airing tonight suggests that the Monarchy is in a deep crisis of legitimacy. Certainly the Queen’s family has not fared well in the celebrity-tabloid era. Could the malaise among some citizens about the Monarchy translate into constitutional change? Could the Crown of Canada be abolished after our beloved Queen Elizabeth II?

I doubt it highly. Current heir to the throne, Prince Charles, is certainly more unpopular than his mother, but not nearly so unpopular as to galvanize the public of Canada into replacing the traditional Head-of-State with a new (republican) system. As my previous post about political-history professor Michael Behiels makes clear: there is no simple way to change Canada’s constitution to allow a different Head-of-State. Opposition to Canada’s Monarchy would need to be united and very strong (75%+) to have any chance of eventually moving to a different system. And this would require constitutional negotiations and amendments – passed in all provinces and both houses in Ottawa (Constitution s. 41) – for the change to be effective. Disgruntled as some would-be-republicans might be, they are not nearly so united and strong as to force through a new Head-of-State.

In Canada’s case, the momentum of the status quo will ensure that we see our Monarchy continue beyond Queen Elizabeth II.

Those who are simply unimpressed with the current heir and wish to skip a generation should consult the constitutional conventions inherent in the Statute of Westminster 1931. The Crown is shared among several dominions and the United Kingdom. The Statute of Westminster requires the consent of all parties to the Crown to any alteration in the rules of succession. Historically, this was required only once before: when accepting the abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936. I consider it unlikely that the governments in several countries will pursue any alteration in the succession.

Andrew Potter with Michael Behiels November 5, 2009

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Andrew Potter interviews Michael Behiels, professor of political history at the University of Ottawa, for the Ottawa Citizen about the Canadian monarchy. It is a revealing interview, explaining – better than I did – how fundamental the monarchy is to our system of government, and how vast and complete any attempt to replace it would necessarily need to be.

There’s a very intricate logic in the whole structure as it was put together in the 19th century. And pulling out any one part affects the entire structure, and you need to think it through from beginning to end, adjusting everything accordingly. It is like going to the dentist for a crown and realizing you need a root canal. This structure has to be completely rebuilt, and most people have not given it a lot of thought.

-From the Ottawa Citizen online

Time to Reconsider Monarchy? October 20, 2009

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An article today by Andrew Cohen in the Ottawa Citizen suggests that now is the time (in view of the Queen’s current advanced age) for an intelligent and informed debate about the future of Canada’s Monarchy.

He suggests that the current arrangement is particularly “antiquated” and that it needs to be (and has been by modern Governor Generals) made more modernized, “making it more relevant and more Canadian.”

And although Cohen suggests a Royal Commission be launched to investigate such a change, he makes no particular suggestion as to how it could be made more “relevant” or how exactly our Head-of-State could be “more Canadian.”

Certainly Cohen has his own ideas about what constitutes “Canadian” (see: The Unfinished Canadian: the People We Are), but what exactly his prescription for what might be a more Canadian Head-of-State than the current Canadian Head-of-State remains, at the moment, a mystery.