It’s time for Canada to abandon the monarchy

By Scott Costen


THE arguments against Canada remaining a constitutional monarchy keep piling higher and higher.

Prince Andrew, whose connections to Jeffrey Epstein prompted him to step away from royal duties, is the subject of increasingly lurid and disturbing headlines in the U.K.

And yet, incredibly, he remains Colonel-in-Chief of three Canadian army reserve regiments and has a namesake school (for now, at least) in Nova Scotia’s largest municipality.

Prince Harry has also given up royal duties – albeit for far more benign reasons than his uncle – and is now living the millionaire lifestyle in California after briefly relocating to British Columbia.

A vocal majority of Canadians were opposed to footing security costs for Harry and his family while they were here, a clear indication we’re not as enamoured of the royals as we once were.

But it’s not just the Queen’s children and grandchildren who are sullying the reputation of the monarchy in one of the Commonwealth’s most prosperous and influential countries.

The Queen’s representative in Ottawa, Governor General Julie Payette, is now the subject of an independent review into allegations she created a toxic working environment for her staff.

Numerous employees have come forward to accuse the former astronaut of bullying, verbal abuse, and other hostile behaviour.

Payette is also in hot water for extravagant spending at Rideau Hall, the vice-regal residence she refuses to call home.

CBC News has reported she spent nearly $140,000 “studying and designing a private staircase that was never built,” and more than $117,000 “on a gate and series of doors to keep people away from (her) office.”

This dubious use of taxpayers’ money is sure to raise hackles considering the economic damage wrought by COVID-19 and the vast federal debt being accumulated to weather the pandemic.

And this is not the first time Payette has come under fire since assuming the largely ceremonial office of Governor General in October 2017.

Her work ethic was questioned in late 2018 when it was revealed she was doing far fewer public events than her predecessors. She was also found to be shirking other official duties long performed by governors general.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau probably wishes Payette would take up space travel again, but the problem isn’t the person in the cushy vice-regal chair. It’s the broader institution of the monarchy in Canada.

We don’t need a governor general, especially not one who is unelected, unaccountable, and chosen to reward party loyalty or to make a political statement.

The same goes for the lieutenant-governors living in publicly funded luxury in each of Canada’s 10 provinces.

There are plenty of other officials who can place their signatures on legislation passed by the House of Commons and provincial assemblies.

And if we need someone to represent us ceremonially, or preside over issues like proroguing Parliament, we can elect them.

No doubt Canadians have far more pressing concerns right now. But a national conversation about the antiquated, elitist, and increasingly irrelevant British monarchy is long overdue.

Indeed, apart from Legion halls and Monarchist League meetings, the strains of ‘God Save The Queen’ invoke little enthusiasm here.

And little wonder.

Canada has long since shed its status as a colonial backwater dependent on Britain for guidance and stability.

We are a modern and multicultural country; and we have as much use for a royal family as a hockey player has for soccer cleats.


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Featured Image:Luke Rauscher @Flickr

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3 thoughts on “It’s time for Canada to abandon the monarchy

  1. What makes you think a President of Canada would def be ‘less toxic than Julie Payette’ it’s about the Person not the system. The US are a Republic and of what use is it to their democracy? Again it’s about the people not the system. Canada has a really well working democracy when compared with other countries and the monarchy does really not play a big role in Canadians every day life. Why would you invoke institutional instability for a cosmetic change? With the monarchy comes a whole legal system and form of government that would have to be completely changed, reworked from scratch. Why not reform vice-regal appointments , lower the salaries of the lieutenant-governors etc. While I’m not enthusiastic about the monarchy it represents a link to countries such as the UK and Australia which arguably gives Canada a degree of soft power. Our link to other commonwealth realms might actually be useful from an economic and a political perspective. If we were to break those ties, my question is wouldn’t that just tie us closer to the US, to which we are already incredibly closely tied. A society, that’s although Republican deeply crippled by racial and social injustices. Would that mean replacing the formal influence of someone living in the UK with the quite real influence of someone living in D.C.? What I’m saying is that while no one needs to be enthusiastic about the monarchy whatsoever (!) let’s not think that abolishing it could be done just like that. It would have strong side effects and insecurity about the functionality of Canada’s new institutions could do more harm than keeping the monarchy would.

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    1. Canada is a well known country with its own assets, what does an old British monarchy do that actually provide benefits to the country? Seriously, the royals want Canadian taxpayers to pay their livelihoods to live in luxury when average Canadians work hard and live normal lives. British royals shouldn’t be entitled to special military positions or any other special treatments since what relevance do they give in modern times? The citizens of Canada are the ones who made the country their own with pride and dignity. Abolishing the monarchy will not cause damage in relations since Canada has been technically independent since 1867. So why stop Canada from becoming fully independent? What Canadian would want to call a foreign national “Queen Elizabeth” as their ruler?

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