What would happen if Canada abolished the monarchy?

John Aimers,Charles Roach
The Next City
March 21, 1999

The Next City asked John Aimers, dominion chairman and founder of the Monarchist League of Canada, and Charles Roach, founder of the Alliance for the Canadian Republic, to comment.

 

Canada would become more Americanized. In rejecting our nation’s belief in the importance of individuals, mirrored by personal allegiance to another human being — the sovereign — and substituting America’s melting pot mentality, Canada would have one less reason for a separate existence in a continent where the natural lines of geography, trade, culture, and language already run north-south. Many provinces, their sovereignty within Confederation diminished by the ultimate Ottawa power grab, would feel tempted to seek union with the United States. Quebec would soon become a folkloric backwater, à la Louisiana, rather than a vibrant culture, its distinctiveness cherished within the inevitable tensions of Confederation.

Canadians would be less free. The political ruling elite would triumph, without a check on its absolute power. Elected presidents would campaign for office just like any other politician, thereby creating another level of divisiveness in national life. Instead of the monarch and her viceregal representatives acting as chief volunteers, exemplars of duty, bulwarks of stability, and guarantors of the rule of law, Canadians would have a surfeit of politicians pursuing career advancement, seeking the favor of voting blocs, and keeping an eye on the next election.

Canada would have less prestige. A queen and her representatives provide color, romance, and aspiration as opposed to the necessarily grey, grubby, and greedy world of partisanship. The “peace, order, and good government” afforded by our current system has led the United Nations to choose Canada as the world’s most desirable place to live. What conceivable advantage would result from abolishing the monarchy? One more chicken in every pot? One less pupil in an overcrowded classroom? One more loonie for a single mother? No — rather, one colossal loss of an established and dignified institution.

Canada would have a stronger national identity. In a republic, a Canadian president would be the head of state and would officiate at the opening of parliament, and other political and social events, rather than some minion of a foreign monarch. The monarchy is not an equal opportunity calling, but in a republic, every Canadian boy or girl could aspire to becoming Canada’s head of state — through democracy, rather than through the vagaries of birth. Canadians who fought for local democracy would be honored as national heroes. Louis-Joseph Papineau and Louis Riel would be treated as founding fathers. Samuel Lount and Peter Mathews, hanged publicly in Toronto by the decree of Queen Victoria in 1837, would be national patriots. Their images would appear on Canadian coins, not that of some distant monarch.

Canada would become more united. Those of us who are descendants of conquerors would reconcile our histories with the histories of those of us who are descendants of enslaved and colonized peoples. Formerly subjugated peoples — French Canadians, Native Canadians, immigrants from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean — would no longer feel beholden to the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha clan known as the Windsors.

Canadians would have freedom of conscience. When Bloc Québécois members refused to take an oath of fealty to the English queen in 1993, they were forced to do so, since Parliament could not open without their presence as Her Majesty’s loyal opposition. In a republic, Canadians would be able to hold public office and become naturalized citizens without taking a personal loyalty oath to a foreign monarch and his heirs. Canadian politicians would also be able to speak their minds. Today, standing Order 18 prevents members of Parliament from uttering any words in the House or Senate that would either oppose the interests of the monarch or embarrass the monarchy.

Charles Roach

John Aimers

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