National Post (Latest Edition)
In defence of the monarchy and our Queen
Call me sentimental, or worse, a romantic, but true to my roots, I am a monarchist. even astronaut Julie Payette cannot take that away from me. I won’t let someone who was miscast as governor general taint a tradition 487 years old, dating back to the arrival of Jacques Cartier.
My roots, you ask? yes, my roots. Our roots. Canada is one of the oldest continuous monarchies on earth.
Canada, in any and all of its incarnations, was always a monarchy. Not a serious whiff of republicanism in the air here. until the Treaty of Paris ceded the colony of New France to the british in 1763, Canada was considered a viceroyalty of the realm of France.
From François I to Louis XV, Canada was ruled by absolute French monarchs.
When the british took over, Canadians switched allegiance to another king, George III, and his successors, all the way to Queen elizabeth II, the current sovereign, and a splendid one, too. regal political power was shed along the way, but the Queen still has benevolent influence over 16 countries, including ours.
republicanism is not and has never been in our genes. And if I look at the way our southern neighbours mistreat their republic, I’ll stick to what I know, thank you.
Origins, traditions and identity have become increasingly important in a fragmented yet globalized world. Who we are, where we came from, who our ancestors were have become vectors of universal pride.
I can understand why Quebecers reject a british monarch, who still represents a brutal conquest and the oppression that followed, as their head of state. Fair enough. but do they know what they would be discarding?
These days, the media, and especially the French-language media, is abuzz with stories about getting rid of the monarchy. Payette’s departure, plus the promise of a large pension, has made many Canadians cringe. but any move to get rid of a substantial part of our history and traditions should be widely debated before it is ever made; such decisions cannot be undone.
And please, not over an unpleasant GG.
every political system has its pros and cons, but is it any coincidence that some of the most stable and progressive countries on earth are constitutional monarchies? Allow me a short list: the united Kingdom, Sweden, denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, belgium, Spain, Japan, Australia, New Zealand. Not exactly a den of head-chopping Henry VIII wannabes.
So you ask, what’s in it for us? Well, constitutional monarchies provide stability and continuity. especially in times of uncertainty. Furthermore, it is believed that a coup d’état is unlikely to succeed in a constitutional monarchy. In 1981, Juan Carlos, then the king of Spain (and since disgraced), prevented a coup engineered by army generals who wanted Spain to revert to a Franco-inspired dictatorship. A coup it seemed no one but Juan Carlos, with
Canada is one of the oldest Continuous monarchies on earth.
his then-moral and military authority and prestige, could stop in its tracks.
In the united States, where the president is both head of state and head of government, there were times during the Trump years when I found myself wishing for an American king or queen to tell the president to stop his nonsense.
Other advantages of constitutional monarchies? Members of the royal family raise gazillions for charity, much more than they cost the public purse; being born into the job, and rich, they are immune to corruption. They also embody neutrality. And modernity. yes, modernity. The current king of the Netherlands for many years has served as a pilot on commercial KLM aircraft. How modern is that?
Monarchies do evolve with the times — ours could shed a little pomp and circumstance — but their usefulness is documented by the centuries they shaped. Ours serves us well today. Get rid of Payette, but please, let’s keep our gracious Queen.