Au Revoir, Your Majesty

Every now and then, polling companies will undertake the task of determining how attached Canadians are to the monarchy. Perhaps it occurs as a result of a slow, or quiet political week. Regardless, these polls often show that most Canadians are not very enthusiastic about Canada being a monarchy. Polls often show that residents feel Canada’s head of state should be elected, and Canadian, and likewise do not see the relevance of the monarchy anymore. While many have positive views on Queen Elizabeth II, many feel that upon her death, Canada should seriously consider a constitutional change that would allow the country to move from a monarchy to a republic. Would this be a beneficial move for a country that has often struggled to carve out its own identity? Or should we be grateful to a nation that helped launch our nationhood?

I will not hide the fact that I personally don’t like the idea of severing ties with the monarchy. There are dozens of questions floating through my head about how that would be accomplished. Who would decide if we should end our relationship with the monarchy? Who would be the head of state? How would they be chosen? What powers would they have? What would their role be? What would our constitution say? How would this move translate to the provinces? And so on and so forth. Heck, who would be on our money? I acknowledge that there are issues that arise from having a head of state that is not elected or accountable, especially when they have control over who forms government. But I feel as though there are too few reasons to seriously consider a decision that would fundamentally alter the country forever. Once you make the move, you can never go back.

Perhaps I am too nostalgic in my viewpoint. I feel as though the country would be throwing away nearly all of its history. In our early years, the decisions we made as a country were largely affected by the decisions made by Britain. But even as we gained more and more independence, there has always been a link in our history that no person can deny. Canada’s difficulty in forming its own identity does not arise from the fact we are tied to an out of date and irrelevant head of state. It is because people in this country are too lazy to stand up and be proud of the country in which they live. Unless you’re talking about hockey, beer or Justin Bieber, it seems as though people simply don’t care enough to do anything.

Perhaps another reason I am so adverse to a republic is that I have always felt we have a superiority over the United States for retaining a form of government they fought so hard to break free from. We have remained loyal to Britain for decades, whilst our American neighbour was busy charting its own independent course. If we leave now, it will be as though the past 143 years of our history have been a waste.

The simplest way for me to look at the situation is as follows. Britain and the monarchy are the parents in this dysfunctional family. When you are younger, your parents have an increased role in your life. They watch over everything you do, take care of you and help to guide you into adulthood. Eventually there comes a point when you don’t want your parents around anymore. You think you can go out on your own, and conquer the world. But eventually, you always come back home and need your parents, no matter how much you may think otherwise. In this case, Canada is one of the monarchy’s 16 children. We relied on them very much in our formative years, but now that we are older and more established, we feel as though we don’t need them anymore. The reality is, there will come a time when we need them again, and if we sever ties now, it could come at our detriment later.

I had intended this post to be an informed debate on the merits of continuing the monarchy, or switching to a republic. I was going to present the arguments from each side, but it seems as though my emotions got the better of me, and this post is a lopsided argument as to why we should continue with the status quo. Many of my arguments are simply based on sentiment, which doesn’t afford them much academic credibility, but sometimes you just have to rant.

What are your thoughts on this subject matter? Should we end our relationship? What are the merits of a republic? If you have different thoughts than I do, I welcome your feedback and reasoning. Convince me that Queen Elizabeth’s face should no longer be on my money!

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About Chris James

A student of political science at a Canadian University sharing stories of interest on Canadian and American political and social issues.

Posted on February 24, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I don’t know if I’d go as far as to call the last 143 years a waste. But nevertheless, the monarchy is a figurehead at this point, and I think you’re right when you allude to the fact that nostalgia is a big part of why naysayers would want to keep the monarchy intact. Beyond that though, I’m not sure what the purpose is of keeping a monarchy around that doesn’t do too much for us, from what I can see at least. I don’t know if a republic would serve us better, but change could definitely be a positive thing.

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