Canadians Split on Monarchy, Dump It I Say


dumpthemonarchy
#1
Time to debate about dumping the monarchy. Let's elect a GG.

Monarchy leaves Canadians deeply split - The Globe and Mail

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 5:31 PM
Monarchy leaves Canadians deeply split

Gloria Galloway

Canadians are divided about whether they want a monarch as head of state, a new poll suggests.

A survey conducted by Angus Reid in advance of next monthís visit by the Queen suggests that 33 per cent of Canadians are happy to have a king or queen while 36 per cent would like an elected head of state. One in five respondents said they donít care one way or the other.

Still, half of the Canadians surveyed said they support reopening Canadaís constitutional debate to discuss the possibility of replacing the Queen with someone who is elected. One third were opposed.

The poll also suggests that Canadians have three clear favourites in the Royal Family. They are Prince William, who was held in high regard by 70 per cent of respondents the Queen, who was admired by 69 per cent, and Prince Harry, who was given a thumbs up by 63 per cent despite his occasional brushes with controversy.

Prince Philip was given a favourable rating by 48 per cent of those surveyed, Prince Charles was approved by 40 per cent, Kate Middleton by 31 per cent and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, by 24 per cent. Two-in-five Canadians said they hold an unfavourable opinion of both Charles and Camilla.

Sarah Ferguson, who was recently caught in a tabloid sting as she tried to sell access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, was not listed in the survey.
When asked who they would prefer as monarch after the Queen, almost two-in-five respondents say they would prefer to have William as king. Prince Charles was picked by just 22 per cent.

The online survey of 1,005 randomly selected Angus Reid Forum panelists that was conducted May 17 to May 18 is expected to accurately reflect the views of all Canadians within 3.1 percentage points.
 
SirJosephPorter
#2
Easier said than done, I don’t see it happening. It will need a constitutional amendment. It takes a very broad public support to amend the constitution. According to this poll that support just isn’t there.

I would think at least 70% of Canadians should want to abolish the monarchy before constitution is amended and it becomes a reality. We are far away from that, and may not get there for decades (if ever).
 
Colpy
#3
The essence of conservatism:

"If it works, don't fix it."

It works fine.
 
Machjo
#4
Monarchy does have certain advantages over a republic. For one thing, the monarch can stand above partisan politics; a president simply drowns in it.
 
Bar Sinister
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Colpy View Post

The essence of conservatism:

"If it works, don't fix it."

It works fine.

I guess that depends on your definition of "works."
 
VanIsle
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by Colpy View Post

The essence of conservatism:

"If it works, don't fix it."

It works fine.

I agree with you.
 
Machjo
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by Colpy View Post

The essence of conservatism:

"If it works, don't fix it."

It works fine.

What if it works, but it could be better? The definition of progressivism.

That said, I still think a monarchic system has advantages over a republican model and so would not be progressive in the least. I'm just pointing out though that I don't believe we ought to satisfy ourselves with mediocrity just because ti works. The horse and buggy work too, so are you going to go back to that just because it works?

Now we also have to make distinctions between kinds of monarchy. The British model is based first on religion and secondly on heredity.

Many rules of succession can exist depending on the country. Another form that exists is elective monarchy:

Elective monarchy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
dumpthemonarchy
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by SirJosephPorter View Post

Easier said than done, I donít see it happening. It will need a constitutional amendment. It takes a very broad public support to amend the constitution. According to this poll that support just isnít there.

I would think at least 70% of Canadians should want to abolish the monarchy before constitution is amended and it becomes a reality. We are far away from that, and may not get there for decades (if ever).

Where does it say the GG has to be called the GG? Give it another name and let it gradually evolve to a wholly Canadian institution.

Funny how in Canada some things cannot be changed without the mightiest of constitutional efforts, like this. Yet it is not that radical. This does not seem that democratic to me.

Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

Monarchy does have certain advantages over a republic. For one thing, the monarch can stand above partisan politics; a president simply drowns in it.

In some countries the prez is also a figurehead, which is what we should have.

The current GG supports a blase loser attitude. The white wine set that appoints the GG also thinks the masses ought to be pleased with simply showing up at the Olympics, placing 48th and saying, "I'm very happy, I achieved a personal best." Thanks to Own the Podium, Canadian athletes will no longer say such nonsense. If they don't have a chance at winning, they can stay home and have great experiences with their friends and save the public some money.

The BC Games and Canada Games are about mass participation and fun. I support them as mass participation is great. The Olympics however, are about big business, big bucks and winning. It is elitist but the best compete. The GG is simply not in this league I'm afraid. Time to go, the world has passed the GG by.

Governor General to Open the 2009 Canada Games in Prince Edward Island
Governor General to Open the 2009 Canada Games in Prince Edward Island

August 12, 2009

OTTAWA ó Her Excellency the Right Honourable MichaŽlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will officially open the 2009 Canada Games. The opening ceremony will be held at Credit Union Place in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, on Saturday, August 15, 2009, at 1 p.m. (local time).
 
Machjo
#9
So what would be the difference between an elective Constitutional Monarch and a figurehead president, except for the duration of their term?
 
dumpthemonarchy
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

What if it works, but it could be better? The definition of progressivism.

That said, I still think a monarchic system has advantages over a republican model and so would not be progressive in the least. I'm just pointing out though that I don't believe we ought to satisfy ourselves with mediocrity just because ti works. The horse and buggy work too, so are you going to go back to that just because it works?

Now we also have to make distinctions between kinds of monarchy. The British model is based first on religion and secondly on heredity.

Many rules of succession can exist depending on the country. Another form that exists is elective monarchy:

Elective monarchy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I'm glad you're on board, but no monarchy at all, no king, no queen, no royalty. The person you want is a president or, say, Semi-Maximum Leader.
 
Machjo
#11
You have to consider though that the main purpose of a figurehead is to command the loyalty of the people into a personification of the country. A president who changes every few years won't be as effective in this respect as a monarchy. But again, an elective monarchy is an option. It would save money on elections since we'd have one election every generation for the monarch. Owing to the duration of the reign, that monarch could command loyalty. But of course we'd want to elect a monarch who can command loyalty, which would most likely mean one who's already made great moral achievements in his or her life.

As an aside, one thing I find strange though is that though I do not at all consider myself a conservative and reject the notion of 'if it ain't broken, satisfy yourself with mediocrity', I still think monarchy is preferable to a republic owing to other rational factors beyond just blind unthinking tradition.
 
dumpthemonarchy
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

You have to consider though that the main purpose of a figurehead is to command the loyalty of the people into a personification of the country. A president who changes every few years won't be as effective in this respect as a monarchy. But again, an elective monarchy is an option. It would save money on elections since we'd have one election every generation for the monarch. Owing to the duration of the reign, that monarch could command loyalty. But of course we'd want to elect a monarch who can command loyalty, which would most likely mean one who's already made great moral achievements in his or her life.

As an aside, one thing I find strange though is that though I do not at all consider myself a conservative and reject the notion of 'if it ain't broken, satisfy yourself with mediocrity', I still think monarchy is preferable to a republic owing to other rational factors beyond just blind unthinking tradition.

Argh!!! Elected is fine, but the monarchy part is unworkable. It is not rational nor progressive as the idea of a monarchy is dated. An elected monarch is a king or queen, which Canadians do not want because we do not have a homegrown royal family made on our soil.

There are no successful modern examples of elected monarchies. Quit the idea.

Be realy progressive and go for a new Canadian head of state who may be called a president and may be only a figurehead. I am fairly conservative myself, replacing the GG is not that radical since the holder of the job does nothing of significance in our modern world.

Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

So what would be the difference between an elective Constitutional Monarch and a figurehead president, except for the duration of their term?

The latter would be a homegrown Canadian political appointee. The fiction that the queen could intervene in our affairs would be finished. We would cut links with the House of Windsor in our political affairs. We must do this ourselves, the crown from England/Britain/Europe will never on its own reduce its power in another country. We must wrest it away, doing so is a sign of political maturity.

The idea that perhaps, someone from another country could intervene in our affairs is a political blunder for Canada. It creates the feeling that from somewhere else on Earth is a legitimate source of political power over us. This violates the principle of a free, independent country and citizens need not put up with this.

This influence exists because right now soldiers in the armed forces and politicians take an oath to the queen and not Canada or Canadians. This has to be corrected for our continued political development. I think it is a bigger problem for the government than for the people.
 
Machjo
#13
Honestly I do not want a totally free country. I'd rather maintain ties with England as such a symbolic figure also helps to strengthen bonds between our countries.

Another advantage with a monarchy is that a monarch can be shared between more than one country, unlike a president, and so can also serve to build bridges between countries as is the case between certain Commonwealth countries.
 
SirJosephPorter
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

Honestly I do not want a totally free country. I'd rather maintain ties with England as such a symbolic figure also helps to strengthen bonds between our countries.

Another advantage with a monarchy is that a monarch can be shared between more than one country, unlike a president, and so can also serve to build bridges between countries as is the case between certain Commonwealth countries.

I am not particularly fond of monarchy. However, it seems to work fairly well, and there is no reasonable alternative (at least none that most people agree upon). So my opinion is, leave well enough alone.

If we didnít have monarchy in Canada, I would be opposed to its introduction. But since we already have it, I need a very good reason to get rid of it. I havenít come across any such reason.
 
Cliffy
#15
I'm all for queens and gay lib - as long as they don't get too personal.
 
taxslave
#16
WE have an elected Prime Minister and parliment. I fail to see the need for anything else. We don't need fancy titles and useless hangers on squandering our tax dollars. The thought of having some unelected inbred foreigner as head of our country is embarrassing.
 
AnnaG
#17
I don't think this would be a good time to spend a whack of money on fixing something that more-or-less works. I say leave it as is but change the electoral and campaign systems.
 
Knowzilla
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslave View Post

WE have an elected Prime Minister and parliment. I fail to see the need for anything else. We don't need fancy titles and useless hangers on squandering our tax dollars. The thought of having some unelected inbred foreigner as head of our country is embarrassing.

Since when did Canadians elect a Prime Minister? I'm pretty sure the only people who saw the name of the current Prime Minister (Harper) and every other past Prime Minister on the ballot paper, were only the electors in their electoral district, only a small percentage of the entire electorate.

Prime Ministers are not elected. They are appointed. Harper was only elected as a MP, he became Prime Minister through appointment by the Governor General, as he was the leader of the largest party in the Commons.

Furthermore, as for Parliament, since when was the Senate elected? Their members are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister.

And don't forget, countries cannot have only a Prime Minister and Parliament. They need a head of state. Whether a Monarch, President, or dictator.
 
wulfie68
#19
Count me in the "not excessively fond of the Monarchy, but not ready to dump it crowd". Multiple posters on this thread have hit on the reasons, including Knowzilla, Anna, and SJP.

1) How will we replace it? This ISN'T a simplistic question but rather a very large one that encompasses many facets, not the least of which, as SJP pointed out, would be a constitutional re-vamp... and lets not kid ourselves: once constitutional discussions are broached for ANY reason, there are a whole lot of issue that will be raised by the provinces and other stakeholders (i.e. aboriginal groups).

2) Are we prepared to swallow the cost? Anna hit on this but again, its something people never think about when they talk about getting rid of the Monarchy. All our government letterheads, insignias, decals, many signs all become out of date and in need of replacing. It might be viewed as a nice way to stimulate printing and signage providers but it is an unnecessary expenditure at this time.

3) What criteria and mechanism do we use to determine our new head of state? Knowzilla just pointed out how ridiculous it is that the PM be considered our head of state, based on the method of selection used to fill the post. The head of state is NOT just the head of the government.

This is a rather emotional issue for some. The Monarchy is perceived as being one of our primary differences from our American cousins, part of that hard to define Canadian culture. Its hard for me not to see some validity in the anti-monarchy side, as the notion of someone else that I have no way to influence or make my views known to, "ruling" over me is disturbing on some levels. But for the anti-Monarchists to ever achieve their goal, they need to come up with a complete and balanced plan, including mechanisms and costs... and then convince the country it is truly something that is in our best interests.
 
SirJosephPorter
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by Knowzilla View Post


Prime Ministers are not elected. They are appointed. Harper was only elected as a MP, he became Prime Minister through appointment by the Governor General, as he was the leader of the largest party in the Commons.

That is true indeed; we don’t elect the Prime Minister, that is done by the Parliament, after the election. Usually the head of the majority party become the PM, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be so. In theory, the majority party could dump their leader after the election, elect a new leader and make him the PM.

Indeed, the majority party could make absolutely anybody they want the PM. He doesn’t even have to be an elected MP. He could be a senator. Or if he isn’t a senator, no problem. After the majority party elects him the PM, one of the MPs (someone for a very safe seat) from the majority party resigns, PM runs in his place and gets elected.

So Preston Manning, Bill Vanderzalm, anybody could become the PM, it is for the majority party to decide.

It is not widely known, but Canadians really don’t have any say as to who becomes the PM, that is entirely up to the majority party.
 
dumpthemonarchy
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

Honestly I do not want a totally free country. I'd rather maintain ties with England as such a symbolic figure also helps to strengthen bonds between our countries.

Another advantage with a monarchy is that a monarch can be shared between more than one country, unlike a president, and so can also serve to build bridges between countries as is the case between certain Commonwealth countries.

Right now we're sharing a monarch with Third World countries in Africa and Asia that understand very poorly the concepts of human rights and democracy. Canada must choose on its own what bridges to build with these authoritarian regimes. Why we would let foreigners have a measurre of control on something so important is to me a sign of political immaturity.
 
AnnaG
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by wulfie68 View Post

Count me in the "not excessively fond of the Monarchy, but not ready to dump it crowd". Multiple posters on this thread have hit on the reasons, including Knowzilla, Anna, and SJP.

1) How will we replace it? This ISN'T a simplistic question but rather a very large one that encompasses many facets, not the least of which, as SJP pointed out, would be a constitutional re-vamp... and lets not kid ourselves: once constitutional discussions are broached for ANY reason, there are a whole lot of issue that will be raised by the provinces and other stakeholders (i.e. aboriginal groups).

2) Are we prepared to swallow the cost? Anna hit on this but again, its something people never think about when they talk about getting rid of the Monarchy. All our government letterheads, insignias, decals, many signs all become out of date and in need of replacing. It might be viewed as a nice way to stimulate printing and signage providers but it is an unnecessary expenditure at this time.

Actually I hinted at the first and stated the second. But it wouldn't just be letterheads and stuff. There are a lot of rules applicable to relations between head of state and government. Each would have to be reworded to exclude the head of state. We'd have to rearrange half of government to compensate. It's a legal (and therefore very costly) nightmare, IMO.

Quote:

3) What criteria and mechanism do we use to determine our new head of state? Knowzilla just pointed out how ridiculous it is that the PM be considered our head of state, based on the method of selection used to fill the post. The head of state is NOT just the head of the government.

This is a rather emotional issue for some. The Monarchy is perceived as being one of our primary differences from our American cousins, part of that hard to define Canadian culture. Its hard for me not to see some validity in the anti-monarchy side, as the notion of someone else that I have no way to influence or make my views known to, "ruling" over me is disturbing on some levels. But for the anti-Monarchists to ever achieve their goal, they need to come up with a complete and balanced plan, including mechanisms and costs... and then convince the country it is truly something that is in our best interests.

Personally, I don't care about the sentimental aspects or the anti-American (I mean in the "we are not Americans" sense).
 
dumpthemonarchy
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by Knowzilla View Post

Since when did Canadians elect a Prime Minister? I'm pretty sure the only people who saw the name of the current Prime Minister (Harper) and every other past Prime Minister on the ballot paper, were only the electors in their electoral district, only a small percentage of the entire electorate.

Prime Ministers are not elected. They are appointed. Harper was only elected as a MP, he became Prime Minister through appointment by the Governor General, as he was the leader of the largest party in the Commons.

Furthermore, as for Parliament, since when was the Senate elected? Their members are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister.

And don't forget, countries cannot have only a Prime Minister and Parliament. They need a head of state. Whether a Monarch, President, or dictator.

Perhaps dumping an UNELECTED queen might cause a trickle down effect and make our system more democratic. At the top of our system of governance is an unelected official who is untouchable, which makes so much else in our system untouchable and a tool of the PM such as the senate.

It might look once you knock down one domino, another inevitably tumbles afterwards. It might be called progress. Beats making a fire with sticks.
 
SirJosephPorter
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchy View Post

Right now we're sharing a monarch with Third World countries in Africa and Asia that understand very poorly the concepts of human rights and democracy. Canada must choose on its own what bridges to build with these authoritarian regimes. Why we would let foreigners have a measurre of control on something so important is to me a sign of political immaturity.

Our bridge is not with authoritarian countries. Our bridge is with mother country, U.K. I see nothing wrong with that.

Indeed, by your logic, we also should not belong to UN, since some fo the most brutal dictatorships in the world are also UN members. And we don't want to build bridges with them, do we?
 
AnnaG
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by SirJosephPorter View Post

Our bridge is not with authoritarian countries. Our bridge is with mother country, U.K. I see nothing wrong with that.

Indeed, by your logic, we also should not belong to UN, since some fo the most brutal dictatorships in the world are also UN members. And we don't want to build bridges with them, do we?

Good point. And the UN would be easier and cheaper to dump than the monarchy.
 
dumpthemonarchy
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by SirJosephPorter View Post

Our bridge is not with authoritarian countries. Our bridge is with mother country, U.K. I see nothing wrong with that.

Indeed, by your logic, we also should not belong to UN, since some fo the most brutal dictatorships in the world are also UN members. And we don't want to build bridges with them, do we?

Pretty selective logic. We are all subjects of the queen. That seems like a link to me with the other countries which are very authoritarian.

The UN is okay, it keeps its distance. It doesn't interfere much in our internal affairs. But it is a worry because most of the countries in the UN are authoritarian or very undemocratic. But it is the USA that worries most because they want to be everywhere in the world and the UN puts potential limits on their actions. Canada is not like the USA that way.

I struggle to see a use for the monarchy or CW.
 
AnnaG
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchy View Post

I struggle to see a use for the monarchy or CW.

I fail entirely to see the justification for its removal (especially cost-wise).
You'd pay to have your appendix removed, even though it is apparently useless to your existence?
 
s_lone
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by AnnaG View Post

I fail entirely to see the justification for its removal (especially cost-wise).
You'd pay to have your appendix removed, even though it is apparently useless to your existence?

This is a good but flawed analogy. Good because it's true that the elaborate process of removing monarchy makes it seem much more logical to just keep things the way they are.

The analogy is also flawed because while our appendix is there for reasons that are absolutely outside of our control (biological evolution), monarchy is there because of a conscious human choice as a nation. The former implies no free will but the latter does.

If a majority of Canadians wish to conserve monarchy because they believe in the system, then so be it. But remember that there are some of us who don't agree with the principles of hereditary monarchy. I personally don't and this has a huge impact on the way I perceive Canada, my country. It's hard for me to feel attached to a country which has at the core of its political system, a concept (hereditary monarchy) I find outdated and totally out of tune with the modern notion of equality among human beings that Canada supposedly stands for. I know a strong majority of Quebecers think the same way. That doesn't mean, we necessarily want to leave, only means our attachment to Canada is tempered down.

If by any chance we were to get rid of monarchy, you can be damn sure this would be greeted with a cheer in Quebec. The symbolic strength of the gesture would have a huge impact on national unity.

My point in all this? For Canada to be united, we need to have respect for our institutions and this is one aspect of our institutions some of us simply don't respect. You can't love something you don't respect.

I love Canada. But I'd like to love it even more.
Last edited by s_lone; Jun 9th, 2010 at 06:44 PM..
 
dumpthemonarchy
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by AnnaG View Post

I fail entirely to see the justification for its removal (especially cost-wise).
You'd pay to have your appendix removed, even though it is apparently useless to your existence?

The cost. Okay, let's see. Right now, the GG does nothing of substance. So the absence of the GG would not affect the machinery of govt at all. The PM has no need of the GG, none at all. Who needs the GG?

What companies often do as a cost cutting measure is not fill a position when it become open and if few seem to notice the change, then they phase it out and save money. If there is squawking and a hole, then it is refilled.

No GG could cost us less, not more as the whole office would not be spending any taxpayer money. But there's little bravery in Canada for such an experiment.
 
wulfie68
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchy View Post

The cost. Okay, let's see. Right now, the GG does nothing of substance. So the absence of the GG would not affect the machinery of govt at all. The PM has no need of the GG, none at all. Who needs the GG?

What companies often do as a cost cutting measure is not fill a position when it become open and if few seem to notice the change, then they phase it out and save money. If there is squawking and a hole, then it is refilled.

No GG could cost us less, not more as the whole office would not be spending any taxpayer money. But there's little bravery in Canada for such an experiment.

You still miss the bigger point: you would have to re-write the entire way government functions in this country and redefine a lot of government institutions. The cost of the GG, with all the pomp, ceremony and travel, is microscopic compared to the costs that would be incurred in removing that office... and you still haven't said what you would replace it with.

In your rabid dislike of the monarchy and the GG's office, you want to spend $100 to save a penny...
 

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