Ending the British monarchy in Canada is a political topic that raises its head from time to time in these northern climes. The upcoming royal wedding and the coverage of it by Canadian media, including French language press, illustrates a curious paradox.
Many Canadians point proudly to the emancipation of the Canadian constitution and foreign policy from the grips of British Empire control. They point to the Boer War at the turn of the 20th century as the moment when Canada began to assert its independence vis-a-vis the British crown. Canadian approval for Empire use of its troops became necessary.
This movement accentuated itself throughout the World Wars as Canada gradually began to make its own decisions. It was patchy, however, and the memory of the British bungling during the raid at Dieppe in 1942 with huge losses amongst the Canadian troops and the sacrifice of the entire Newfoundland regiment to the WWI war effort remains fresh to this day.
Other emerging colonial powers like Australia, New Zealand, and others can point to their own Dieppe in the desert and elsewhere when Great Britain squandered its colonial troops to the benefit of the enemy. The French were no better with their black and Muslim colonial units from Africa.
In Canada, in 1982, pro-monarchy forces point to the repatriation of the Canadian constitution to Canada as yet another example of British fair play and magnanimity. Often not mentioned is the fact that the largely French-speaking province of Quebec did not sign the constitution and its National Assembly has unanimously voted to continue its resistance to this day.
In the meantime, two referendums on Quebec independence were held with the latest, in 1995, coming within less than one half of one percent of breaking up the country. One American diplomat, upon hearing this, declared that such a state of affairs led to a bloody civil war between the North and South in his country.
In Canada, French and English have already separated for all intents and purposes, and former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff‘s April 2012 BBC interview is quite illustrative of this point. It seems a bit much though to argue that Canada’s link to Britain has saved the country from civil strife.
Not to forget that since the days of the Boer War, Canada has undergone an explosion of new immigrants, many of whom have no link to Britain or the monarchy. These new Canadians might be perplexed by the efforts of the Canadian Fifth Estate to produce a show of solidarity for the British monarchy in the year 2018. They harbor no organic link to the British crown. Some have a history of having been poorly treated in their home countries thanks to British colonial rule.
The real fear amongst traditional pro-monarchy elites in Canada is that their aging white Anglo Saxon supporters will become even less numerous as new Canadians, the French and the First Nations marginalize them. Most of Canada’s First Nations have historically supported the French, not the British, and have no organic link to the British crown.
Then there is the shiftless Canadian Senate where aging, and some not so much, bagmen pick up their rewards for party loyalty and graft. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s new independent Senators are still chosen the old way, and the “Liberal” tag has been replaced with an “independent” tag. This purely cosmetic change has given an indolent and costly body full of unelected and unrepresentative individuals a new lease on life despite the fact that their thinking and sober legislative reflection days have long past. The Senate is a product of Canada’s inability to free itself from its colonial tether and create a veritable republic.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Fifth Estate continues its royal duty by busily attempting to rustle up as much monarchy support as possible. It is truly amazing when the international news cycle is so rich that one of the supposed pillars of our democracy spends its time trying to revive a form of British government that is unwanted and ill-advised.
Canadians ought to abolish the British monarchy in Canada since it stokes the fires of Quebec independence, produces democratic aberrations like a corrupt and unelected Senate, costs the taxpayer direct and indirect costs that profit a whole array of shiftless royals while symbolizing the permanent nature of Canada’s colonial position in the world. We are very far away indeed from simply objecting to the need for royal assent on Canadian parliamentary bills.
Imagine how different this country or countries would look had the 1837 Patriots of Upper and Lower Canada been victorious over British absolutism instead of being hung and exiled abroad. Instead of cow-towing to the Witch Doctor and his band of merry intuitive nihilists in Washington, we could be dictating the terms of a favorable trade agreement rather than the reverse.Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.