National Post discusses the monarchy’s role in Canada. What’s more useless—the debate over the Crown, or the Crown itself?
We’re sort of hoping the Post is doing its part to distract the nation from the incredibly silly debate over kirpans, and we’d like to help them out. The daily picked a topic that Canada seemingly never tires of: whether this country should ditch its monarch and become a republican state. The idea that anyone can actually be passionate about either side of this debate mystifies us, but the Post gets a pair to hammer away at it. Let the sparks fly.
For the “Yea, ditch the Crown” team, we have historian Michael Bliss:
It’s an absurdity that in 21st century Canada, no Canadian can aspire to be head of state of Canada. The head of state of Canada has to be not just of British descent, but actually a member of the hereditary royal family of Great Britain. Our head of state will be the person who by accident of birth, not for any other reason, happens to be King or Queen of Great Britain. That person must also be a member of the Church of England. No Catholics, atheists, Confucians, Muslims, Jews, or Canadians need apply.
Meanwhile, for the “Nay, keep the Crown” side, John Fraser:
I mean it’s just silly. I want to meet the Canadians who woke up sweating in their bed when they realized Elizabeth the Second was still on the throne. I want to meet the poor sod genuinely terrified by the thought that the governor general might make a prime minister wait three hours before allowing the prorogation of parliament.
What this debate is really missing are the most important points of all. Pro: the excitement of having Prince William on our money. Con: nobody will ever make a Canadian version of The King’s Speech starring Paul Gross.
It is not that simple, of course. On Twitter, Philippe Lagassé (a professor at the University of Ottawa) points out that the Crown isn’t just there for decoration, and removing the monarchy from Canadian law would be a pretty involved constitutional process. (Because those have worked so well for Canada in the past.) We don’t want to necessarily say that the Australians were right when they decided being a republic wasn’t worth the trouble, but let’s not pretend it would be a simple matter of changing the letterhead in the Governor-General’s office.