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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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A Call to (re)Consider the Monarchy July 7, 2010

Posted by J. Hawkes in Branch Business, News.
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In the wake of Her Majesty’s recent visit to Canada, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix advocates a thoughtful consideration about the future role of the monarchy in Canada.

It’s a welcome debate.

As we approach the Queen’s diamond jubilee (sorry, no similar Canadian link – yet), it makes sense to take stock of how well our current constitutional monarchy has served Canada as a state and Canadians as individuals. Those of us already convinced by the merits of our system will do well to discuss the issue reasonably with our fellow Canadians. Indeed, such a public debate can be a unifying force. It would be a powerful symbol if Canada were able to recommit to our Head-of-State, perhaps through some official gesture in the House of Commons.

Our Head-of-State serves a mainly symbolic role, one that is abstractly applied through the institutionalized concept of the Crown but also personally entwined with the Queen herself and the history of her lineage. With such expansive implications it is hardly surprising that many people object (at least superficially) to one or more manifestations of the symbol of our Head-of-State. Nevertheless, our diverse and historically unique country is capable of broad political agreement in pursuit of peace, order and good government. It is wise to pursue a similar consensus with our Head-of-State, while admitting wholehearted unanimous agreement may be impossible.

Of course, the League’s view is that the monarchy has served us well, playing a crucial role in the development of parliamentary democracy and the founding of Canada. Over time, the monarchy has been tremendously flexible. And there seems little reason to suspect that it cannot continue to play its proper role as we face the unknown pressures and challenges of the 21st century.

Happy Birthday Monarchist League! February 23, 2010

Posted by J. Hawkes in Branch Business, News.
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A note from the Dominion Chairman

Today is Founding Day, a special milestone as it marks the 40th Anniversary of the League’s existence.
Brought to life in 1970 at least partly in reaction to the perceived republican direction of the Trudeau government, the League has developed a respected place as the source of reliable information and informed opinion about the Canadian Crown, capable of effectively galvanizing public opinion when matters of controversy arise, as well as of undertaking the day-to-day work of educating our fellow citizens about the central role of the Constitutional Monarchy within Canada’s core democratic institutions. The first Loyal Society to have an Internet presence, the League continues to harness modern approaches to its cause, including social networking media, while also circulating its substantial and unique periodical, Canadian Monarchist News, and other print material.
Let us all celebrate this happy day, while we remember past victories, consider how to build our present organization and prepare to tackle work yet undone with renewed dedication and that commitment that has always characterized our fellowship.
God Save The Queen !

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