Friday, January 06, 2017

History of serious monarchists

Last month a National Post columnist opined about the "pathology" of Canadian republicanism.  You know, don't even talk about it, no daylight on magic, something like that.

The opening paragraph complains that we should not even have polls that ask Canadians their opinion on monarchy or if they like the idea of a Canadian head of state.
On Boxing Day, polling giant Ipsos released a year-end poll for Global News surveying Canadian opinion about the monarchy. If you’re a serious monarchist you are of two minds about this sort of thing. You recognize the necessity of occasionally taking the pulse of the institution, just as a human of great age will have their vital signs measured from time to time. You also know that to present the Canadian monarchy to the public as a free choice, a fashion we can discard when it suits us, has the effect of encouraging republican fantasies. (emphasis added)
 Actually the Post columnist has it precisely backward.  The Constitution Act 1982 makes it clear that Canadians have the perfect freedom and a clear constitutional process to follow, whenever they do conclude that the British monarchy is indeed "a fashion we can discard."

It's a high threshold. A fundamental change to the office of the monarch would require the unanimous agreement of the federal government and all the provinces.  But that would be a substantial change in Canadian government and practice, so it should not be taken lightly or on a narrow base of support.

Still the constitution of Canada is clear. We can abolish the monarchy whenever we choose.  The monarch cannot abolish us at all.  A more succinct definition of popular sovereignty can hardly be imagined.

(I do acknowledge it was disconcerting to read of the Queen's illnesses over Christmas and New Year. Even "serious monarchists" should know the monarch has no exemption from mortality, but a world in which the Queen of England does not reign remains hard to imagine.  Long may she reign... in Britain.
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