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A defence of the Crown in The Sheaf December 28, 2013

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In the University of Saskatchewan student paper The Sheaf some time ago an excellent article was written robustly rebutting republican arguments against the Crown.

‘As Canadians, we should support the constitutional monarchy — including the recent birth of our future king, Prince George of Cambridge.

Prince George was born over-a-month ago and, while I agree such extravagant media coverage is unjustified, pointedly rejecting the monarchy merely gives more publicity to a family who already gets enough attention because of their status. Further publicizing the issue only serves to legitimize the American media’s bizarre celebrity worship of a monarchy they have nothing to do with.

It is no secret that the Royal Family is not overly fond of the media — paparazzi had a heavy hand in the death of Princess Diana — so why on earth would Prince William want to have his new family subjected to the same media circus his mother endured? This kind of attention is not asked for.’


(The remainder of the article may be found on The Sheaf website.


Another Court Challenge to the Oath to the Queen July 12, 2013

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Several republican residents of our fair dominion want to become citizens of Canada without becoming subjects of Canada’s Queen. It certainly seems odd to me that people would want to move to this country grounded in monarchy despite being unwilling to swear an oath of allegiance to our ruler. Certainly the notion that requiring prospective Canadians to swear an oath to our monarch is “discriminatory” is such a patently ridiculous idea that I wonder how it could possibly even enter a courtroom.

I am somewhat inclined to agree with Mr. Gurney here that “If you don’t want to pledge allegiance to the Queen, don’t move to a Commonwealth country” but there is a bit of an issue to my mind with his idea that “If you want Canada to be a republic in the future, take the oath and become a citizen of Canada as it is today, and work from within to achieve the change you want.” I believe that the oath involves swearing to “bear true allegiance” to Her Majesty and her heirs, and I really do not agree with this apparently blasé attitude towards oath-taking, what is the point of oath-taking after all if there is a complete lack of consequences for immediately violating it? Those who do such things should be censured for failing to live up to their word.

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

Future King of Canada Tours the Country November 3, 2009

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Citizens of Newfoundland gave a very warm welcome to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on behalf of all Canadians. Check out CBC’s image gallery.

Meanwhile, Sun Media is reporting on the findings of Leger Marketing poll regarding the Monarchy in Canada. Canadians are split on their support -except in Quebec, where only 11% continue to support our Monarchy.

“Most provinces are in favour of the Queen remaining as our head of state, except Quebec,” said Dave Scholz, vice-president of Leger Marketing.

Averaged across all of Canada, 44% support the Monarchy and 45% may wish to abandon it.

Of course, any change away from Monarchy would require a substantial amendment to our Constitutional, as well as our society. And without widespread support for an adjustment this becomes a political impossibility.

Removing all symbols of the Crown in Canada would be an exhausting process.  From the widespread use of “Royal” in nearly every town and city (Royal University Hospital), to the Queen on our currency, to the term “Crown” used by governments, to visual symbols in the Canadian Forces (the symbol for the CF itself has a crown at the top). It would be an expensive and lengthy proposition merely to change the terminology and symbols.