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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