‘Cut our apron strings’

by Aaron Wherry

While the Queen watches the boats float along the Thames, the NDP’s Pat Martin suggests it’s time we move past the monarchy.

Well I think I speak for a growing number of Canadians, Tom, who think that this is the right time to revisit whether we should cut our apron strings to the British Monarchy but I think what jelled it for me most recently was going to a Canadian citizenship ceremony that as an MP I get invited to often and watching these people from 30 or 40 different countries having to swear allegiance not to Canada but to the Queen and all of her heir and successors for time and memorial, it kind of just struck me at that moment that we are way out of touch with this and if anything, new Canadians should be swearing an oath of allegiance to their country Canada and not to this vestige of hangover of the Colonial Era … 

Canadians aren’t you know baffled by shiny objects like the wedding of Will and Kate. We have to think beyond that. Your preamble to our conversation here is a good education for Canadians to remind themselves, isn’t it kind of goofy that our currency has the face of a foreign monarch? I mean, wouldn’t you rather have a Canadian as the head of state for Canada? Wouldn’t you like your son or daughter to someday be able to aspire to that goal? We are so wrongheaded that I think there’s a big appetite once Canadians think about it for a minute to severe those ties, there’s no justification and being a Member of Parliament, it kind offends me that we have to ask permission from the Queen to pass a piece of legislation, even though we know it’s just a pro forma thing that we’re going through, it’s just wrong.




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‘Cut our apron strings’

  1. I very much agree.

    Time to leave the feudal system behind.

    I believe ‘King Charles and Queen Camilla’ will finally sink it.

    • My one fear about that is that we might end up instead with King Stephen – or El Presidente Harper.

      • Agreed. Okay to lose the Monarchy. NOT OKAY to lose the Governor-General. Picking him/her better might be something for discussion.

        • Yup, we should lose the monarchy but keep the GG as the ultimate referee, and give the office some genuine power to keep a PM in check.

          The GG should represent the soverignty of Canada, not be the soverign of a foreign country.

          And the GG should be chosen by those who have the Order of Canada, not the PM

          • I like the Order of Canada idea, as long as it isn’t the GG who bestows the Order of Canada, which I kind of think it is. Then it wouldn’t work at all!!

          • The GG hands out all honours and medals in Canada….but the members are nominated by anyone in Canada…the GG needs no connection to it at all if we so choose.

  2. As someone from a Loyalist family, when I hear comments like Patty-Boy’s, I just want to find the key to the house we left in Boston and go back.

  3. Ok with Head of State not being Queen of England, but Still want our Parliament to be supreme – do not want a President with power, and would prefer a Parliament and NOT the Prime Minister to hold the balance of power.

  4. Why not? Cut ties with the monarchy, make Governor-General an elected office, install some checks on the power of the head of state so we don’t end up with a dictator. Simple really, I don’t know why it hasn’t happened already.

    • It’s difficult to know whether you’re being 100% serious. If you are and are looking for major constitutional change, I’ll just mention the titles “Meech Lake” and “amending formula”.
      If you’re being funny I guess you’ve already thought of them.

      • So we can never touch the constitution again?

        For how long…100 years, 1000 years?

        • Sure we can touch it, but it will be difficult not easy to change. That’s all I was saying.

          • Well if it was easy, we’d be doing it every day

          • Note Emily that I was replying to Josh who wrote about such changes being “simple”.

          • Sorry….I can’t tell on here anymore unless you’re far enough down the thread, that the board supplies a name.

      • All it takes is a referendum based on the 7-50 formula then its a done deal (not that it will ever happen.) It has nothing to do with Mulroney’s vain and obtrusive attempts to horn his way into the history books. When Canadians look back on that sordid history they should just be thankful the bribe-taking disgrace went down in flames.

        • @facebook-630635489:disqus

          I’m no constitutional scholar, but regarding the 1982 constitution, Wikipedia states that:

          “In the case of an amendment related to the Office of the Queen, the use of either official language (subject to section 43), the amending formula, or the composition of the Supreme Court, the amendment must be adopted by unanimous consent of all the provinces in accordance with section 41.”

          Which would indicate that 7-50 is not enough.

          Holding a referendum would be a good idea and could confer legitimacy on the Republican project. Some provinces already require a referendum before a major constitutional change, Others do not. Agreeing on the format for any federal or multi-provincial referendum would be a long and complex negotiation and would have to define the relationship between the result of the referendum and any later legislative votes (which are required be the constitution).

          Becoming a republic will not be “simple” as @Josh suggested. But it is doable. I think it will happen when there are the “right conditions”, which will include an overwhelming desire by Canadians for change. Creating those conditions might require that considerable political capital be spent. For me there are more important priorities, but perhaps the next NDP government will want to move in this direction.

  5. God Save the Queen!

    I think there is something to be said for recognizing one’s history…as long as the true political primacy resides–as it does now–with the Canadian legislature..

    • If we ditch the Queen we’ll have even more history to recognize. Like the gold standard, the monarchy is a barbarous relic, one best relegated to the history channel. While were at it, we should join the rest of the developed world by adopting a democratic voting system. What is it with Anglo-Saxons and their disdain for democracy? Must be the old division between aristocrats and commoners (although the modern-day aristocrats are sociopathic businessmen, at least in North America.)

  6. “isn’t it kind of goofy that our currency has the face of a foreign monarch?”

    She’s only foreign if you allow her to be. I’m a republican and always will be, but really, especially post-1982, the role of the monarchy is the least pressing thing we’ll ever have to solve.

  7. walter bagehot ~ english constitution:

    The use of the Queen, in a dignified capacity, is incalculable. Without her in England, the present English Government would fail and pass away. Most people when they read that the Queen walked on the slopes at Windsor–that the Prince of Wales went to the Derby– have imagined that too much thought and prominence were given to little things. But they have been in error; and it is nice to trace how the actions of a retired widow and an unemployed youth become of such importance.

    The best reason why Monarchy is a strong government is, that it is an intelligible government. The mass of mankind understand it, and they hardly anywhere in the world understand any other.

    • Which is why we’ve spent centuries getting rid of monarchs by execution and exile I suppose?

      Bagehot has been dead since 1877…let him remain so.

      • “Bagehot has been dead since 1877 …. ”

        Adam Smith ~ The theory that can absorb the greatest number of facts, and persist in doing so, generation after generation, through all changes of opinion and detail, is the one that must rule all observation

        • Yup…and we can dump Smith as well…he was from an even earlier time.

    • “The use of the Queen, in a dignified capacity, is incalculable. Without her in England, the present English Government would fail and pass away.”

      Bollocks! Bugger the old hag!

  8. It’s about time!

  9. Of course, Mr. Martin. Of course *this* is the issue Canadians should be worrying about. You get time on a national broadcast, and this is what you think Canadians need to know about?

    “Once Canadians think about it for a minute..” you say. Perhaps you should stop and think for a minute, “Why aren’t Canadians thinking about this for a minute unless I’m up here prompting them?”

    Christ. If you don’t have anything important to say, save us all the bother, would you?

  10. I think the time of a Diamond Jubilee is a very rude choice of time to consider this topic.

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