UPDATED: If you do all the head-of-state stuff, aren’t you the head of state?

by John Geddes

I’m still not convinced this head-of-state argument is as simple as many are suggesting. Surely at some point, if the Queen no longer does any head-of-state tasks for us, she’s not really our head of state.

On Dec. 29, 2004, then-prime minister Paul Martin issued a news release explaining that foreign ambassadors and high commissioners arriving in Ottawa would from then on present their formal documents, or letters of credence, to the Governor General, not the Queen.

Martin’s release said “in international diplomatic practice, Letters of Credence are formal diplomatic instruments that are presented by High Commissioners and Ambassadors to the Head of State of the host country… Letters of Credence and Recall presented by foreign High Commissioners and Ambassadors to Canada will now be addressed to the Governor General directly.”

Thus, in 2005, our GG took on yet another definitive head-of-state role. I went looking for evidence of how that change was recorded. Strangely, I found that I couldn’t open the 2005-06 annual report of the Governor General, so I paste below this section (please note the section heading) taken from the handy “cached” file on my Google search:

Responsibilities as Head of State

The Governor General’s responsibilities as head of State and her fulfillment of these responsibilities in 2005-06 are as follows:

* Welcome and host world leaders. A State visit to Canada takes place at the invitation of the governor general on the advice and request of the prime minister. Canada usually hosts four or five State visits a year, although this number can fluctuate greatly due to national elections and other domestic considerations. While a State visit may last for a week or more, the official visit to Ottawa normally lasts approximately two days. The governor general typically hosts a visiting head of State and his or her accompanying party at Rideau Hall. This includes an official welcoming ceremony with a military guard of honour and 21-gun salute, the exchange of official gifts, meetings between the heads of State, and State functions. In 2005-06, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson hosted His Excellency Amadou Toumani Touré, President of the Republic of Mali, during his State visit to Canada. Governor General Clarkson also welcomed His Excellency Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China.

* Receive letters of credence or commission from foreign heads of mission. Letters of credence or commission are the formal documents by which a head of State introduces a new head of a diplomatic mission to the head of State of the receiving country. There are over 120 foreign heads of mission accredited to Canada, and, in 2005-06, the Governor General received the letters of credence or commission of 29 of these individuals, 14 during Governor General Clarkson’s mandate and 15 during Governor General Jean’s mandate.

* Confirm the appointment of Canadian heads of mission to be posted abroad. On the advice of the Prime Minister, the Governor General approved the appointment of 47 Canadian heads of mission in this year, including one special ambassador appointment.

* Represent Canada abroad. Governors general have travelled to represent Canada abroad ever since Lord Elgin went to Washington in 1854. It is customary for State visits to be made at the invitation of the host country. The first official State visit by a governor general of Canada took place in 1926, when Lord Willingdon travelled, also to Washington, at the invitation of President Calvin Coolidge. State visits by the governor general to foreign countries are an important instrument of Canadian foreign policy and are carried out at the request of the prime minister on the advice of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT). Since His Excellency the Right Honourable Roland Michener’s mandate (1967-74), State visits have been a significant component of the governor general’s program…

UPDATE:

To assert, ‘The Queen is head of state and the Governor General is her representative,’ doesn’t come close to capturing the GG’s role. Putting it like that suggests the Queen retains all the head-of-state power and the GG merely exercises those powers as a delegate.

But that’s not how it works. The GG does things that we don’t let the Queen do, like represent Canada abroad and accept the credentials of ambassadors.

It’s not that the Queen in some sense retains those head-of-state powers but allows the GG to exercise them on her behalf. The Canadian government doesn’t acknowledge anymore that the Queen can do those things for us, not even in some symbolic sense.

So how can the GG be acting as head of state on behalf of the Queen, if the GG is performing functions the Queen cannot in any sense fulfill?

A closely related point—about the importance or recognizing where a power has or has not been delegated—is made rather subtly on the website of the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. Here’s the interesting passage:

In addition to being The Queen’s representative in Australia, the Governor-General also has specific constitutional and statutory powers. In fact, since the passage of the Australia Act in 1986, the only action performed by The Queen under the Constitution is the appointment of the Governor-General, on the advice of the Australian Prime Minister.

In 1975 the then Commonwealth Solicitor-General, Mr Maurice Byers (later Sir Maurice Byers QC) gave the following legal opinion in relation to the powers of the Governor-General:

The Constitution binds the Crown. The Constitutional prescription is that executive power is exercisable by the Governor-General although vested in The Queen. What is exercisable is original executive power: that is, the very thing vested in The Queen by Section 61. And it is exercisable by The Queen’s representative, not her delegate or agent. The language of Sections 2 and 61 had in this respect no contemporary parallel…*

In other words, the Constitution does not describe the Governor-General’s power, it prescribes it.

The point here is that the “original executive power” is what the Australian GG exercises in his or her own right, not as a “delegate or agent.” Is the Canadian GG less autonomous? I would hope not.

I’m not arguing that there’s an open-and-shut case for the GG being head of state. But this is not a straightforward matter. It looks to me like the head of state function has been in some respects divided. It doesn’t reside entirely with the Queen anymore, but nor is it fully the GG’s.

There’s no point pretending this is an easy argument to settle one way or the other. We should recognize that there’s been an evolution over many decades in the GG’s status, and the job has, at the very least, taken on head-of-state shadings.

Just a final observation: it’s surprisingly commonplace to find references to the GG as head of state in federal government publications, references that have shown up without creating any outcry. Here’s one, from Library and Archives Canada: “Canada is a constitutional monarchy, where the governor general serves as the head of state, representing the Crown.”




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UPDATED: If you do all the head-of-state stuff, aren’t you the head of state?

  1. If the state performs all the duties of a parent under its parens patriae jurisdiction, it is in fact literally your mother? If I and my identical twin are functionally interchangeable for any task a human male can perform, are we in fact the same person? If you can't taste the difference between artificial and real vanilla, are they chemically the same thing?

    At some point, designations and actual distinctions between things matter, don't they?

  2. Harper doesn't like institutions that he believes weaken his power — G-Gs, Senate, media. I am SURE he did not enjoy going hat in hand to Jean last year, either time — for his illegal election, or to prorogue Parliament.

    Is it possible he's trying to rid himself of the institution by denigrating it to Canadians? Knowing many of us think our ties to Mother England should have been cut long ago?

    I would have just thought it a gaffe, but the dismantling of information on the public website is disconcerting.

  3. I completely agree with the comment on another Macleans page: If Harper's getting all uppity that the GG is technically not the head of state, then he needs to stop saying that he was elected by Canadians. He was appointed by the GG to be Prime Minister.

  4. Yeesh. Legally, the Queen is our head of state. Full stop.

    I agree with you that pragmatically, the GG does the actual work. But that still doesn't make her more than the acting representative.

    For all the misinformation and outright lies we endured during last fall's madness, surely the need to stay clear about the legal foundations of our government have been demonstrated.

    Would you side with Harper's continual claims that Canadians elected his government? Because the same logic you use above could be used to support that particular mangled interpretation of our parliament.

    I appreciate where you're coming from, but it does no favours to bandy about false interpretations (in the legal sense) of our constitution. The political illiteracy of our population is dismal enough as it stands, and such an environment leaves our system open to abuses under the guise of popular sensibilties.

    We can't pick and choose the laws we recognize. We can change them, by all means, but in the meantime they exist as written.

  5. Yeesh. Legally, the Queen is our head of state. Full stop.

    I agree with you that pragmatically, the GG does the actual work. But that still doesn't make her more than the acting representative.

    For all the misinoformation and outright lies we endured during last fall's madness, surely the need to stay clear about the legal foundations of our government have been demonstrated.

    Would you side with Harper's continual claims that Canadians elected his government? Because the same logic you use above could be used to support that particular mangled interpretation of our parliament.

    I appreciate where you're coming from, but it does no favours to bandy about false interpretations (in the legal sense) of our constitution. The political illiteracy of our population is dismal enough as it stands, and such an environment leaves our system open to abuses under the guise of popular sensibilties.

    We can't pick and choose the laws we recognize. We can change them, by all means, but in the meantime they exist as written.

  6. Yeesh. Legally, the Queen is our head of state. Full stop.

    I agree with you that pragmatically, the GG does the actual work. But that still doesn't make her more than the acting representative.

    For all the misinformation and outright lies we endured during last fall's madness, surely the need to stay clear about the legal foundations of our government has been demonstrated.

    Would you side with Harper's continual claims that Canadians elected his government? Because the same logic you use above could be used to support that particular mangled interpretation of our parliament.

    I appreciate where you're coming from, but it does no favours to bandy about false interpretations (in the legal sense) of our constitution. The political illiteracy of our population is dismal enough as it stands, and such an environment leaves our system open to abuses under the guise of popular sensibilties.

    We can't pick and choose the laws we recognize. We can change them, by all means, but in the meantime they exist as written.

  7. I agree with avr. It is more than just a technicality and the distinction does matter. Every country I know makes such distinctions clear, so Canada is no different. Even a republic such as the United States makes a distinction between the president and an "acting president" when the first individual, for whatever reason, does not perform all or any of his executive functions.

    Going along with the same argument as the article, one could say that the prime minister, who in a Westminster-style parliamentary system conventionally holds almost all of the executive power, is the de facto head-of-state. But the article does not take the argument to this logical conclusion as it would reveal its absurdity.

    So until the governor-general has been legally designated as the head-of-state, he or she is not.

  8. Doesn't the first quote you cite quite literally and explicitly point out that the GG is not Head of State?

    "Letters of Credence are formal diplomatic instruments that are presented by High Commissioners and Ambassadors to the Head of State of the host country… Letters of Credence and Recall presented by foreign High Commissioners and Ambassadors to Canada will now be addressed to the Governor General directly" (i.e. not to the Head of State!!!). Isn't Martin quite literally staying "normally one would address these letters to the Head of State, but INSTEAD of doing that, we'll ask you to address them to the GG from now on"?

    As for the second citation, isn't the fact that Governors General sometimes refer to themselves as Head of State, even though they CLEARLY are not, actually the problem we're discussing??? That's not evidence that the GG is Head of State, that's evidence that the GG occasionally erroneously refers to him or herself as such. "The GG is the Head of State because the GG referred to herself as Head of State in her own report" is hardly a convincing line of argument. By that logic, Harper could be Head of State by noon if he just issues an erroneously worded report!

    • Also, the PM can say whatever the heck he wants. It doesn't change the Constitution one bit. The PM has no power to alter the legal governance structure by decree.

    • You still aren't responding, Lord Kitchener's Own, to the very apt point that Mr. Geddes makes: "Surely at some point, if the Queen no longer does any head-of-state tasks for us, she's not really our head of state." What tasks of head of state is the Queen now doing in Canada? Doesn't the Governor General do virtually all these tasks now? Technically she still does this in the name of the Queen. But doesn't Mr. Geddes's point still apply nonetheless? And, btw, isn't a key and most valuable feature of the Westminster constitution that we still happily have according the Constitution Act 1867 that it adapts to changing times by evolving through precedent and practice, etc. And haven't we now, perhaps, evolved to the point where the Governor General really is the "de facto" head of state at least? As Mr. Geddes also nicely says, the argument here is not so simple as many are suggesting.

      • It's ABSOLUTELY as simple as I'm suggesting, and if you want to refer to the Governor General as the "def acto" Head of State I really won't have a problem with that.

        But she's not our Head of State.

        • Your doing a fine job with this, LKO.

          Even if the only task of the Head of State is to appoint someone, with the advice of her first minister, to take over any and all duties that a head of state would normally do (whether those duties are previously defined as duties of the Queen or duties of the GG is irrelevant, I think), the Crown is still the head of state. If the Queen's role has evolved over the years such that the GG takes on permanently duties which previously she performed only in the absence of the Queen, there is your living law in action. The hard and fast written laws from which this evolution springs haven't changed because of it.

          However, this update has changed my mind about the firing of Michaelle Jean. I now better understand how she could make such a mistake. I think Harper, especially now that he's publicly rebuked her, will have to go through all government documentation and remove any reference to the GG as more than a de facto head of state.

  9. If this whole debate finally moves Canada one step closer to saying goodbye to the Queen and making the Governor General our head of state, then it is worth every yen.

    • If we say good-bye to the Queen, the GG would no longer exist, since the position exists solely as the representative of the monarch in Canada. What could possibly be the position of a Governor General of Canada in the absence of ties to the monarchy?

      • Why, Queen, of course.

        Which is kind of what I've always suspected she really wants to be.

  10. She does not do "all" of the head of state stuff. In the provinces, the Lieutenant Governors do "all" of the head of state stuff, like opening parliament, giving royal assent, etc.

    That's because they "all" represent the Queen, and none of them is head of state. It's called federalism.

    • It's called federalism.

      LOL.

      Seriously, I think we need to pass some sort of law forcing everyone in the country to go back and re-take grade eight history.

      The ignorance in Canada as to the basic structures of our governance is shocking.

  11. I, and many Canadians, find it insulting that the only person who CANNOT he Head of State of Canada is a CANADIAN.That position, until we do something about it, is given to a family that lives in castles in Britain, and were born with a silver spoon in their mouth.Wake up Canadians and make our country complete!!!

    • The Queen is a Canadian, by definition.

        • Well then for sure Michael Ignatieff is a 'real Canadian' too!

          • LOL…of course he is… of course my suspicion is the Queen had more involvement and knoweledge of Canadian politics as MI did over the 35 years. I am sure she and MI could have had a very good duiscussion about British politics though.

          • To be fair, the Queen had more involvement and knowledge of Canadian politics over the last 35 years than Prime Minister Harper did too.

      • I respect your desire to maintain the monarchy in Canada. You obviously cherish tradition. Please respect those of us who regard the Queen as a foreigner. I've even met Brits who cannot believe the Queen is our Head of State. It baffles them. In fact, I've been asked once, "What will you do when we get rid of the Queen"?

        British people are different than us. The Queen is, as you say, a Canadian. But seriously, only legally. Not culturally. Walk the streets of London, Manchester, Birmingham. Then come back to Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto. Do you still think we're British?

  12. Good point Geddes. The GG may be right or wrong here (I incline toward the latter) but the fact is that it's not self-evident. We could use more of this wisdom on a lot of disagreements on this site actually.

    • I just can't agree that it's not self evident. To me, it absolutely is self-evident.

      • It may be evident to you, but if it were self-evident then it would be evident to just about every objective observer. Clearly that is not the case.

        • I think there's a distinction between the pragmatic and the legal here. One cannot deny the legal structure that enshrines the Queen as head of state. It's a bit like noting all the drivers going 10km over on the highway, as is minimally the case in most of Ontario. Just because everyone commonly drives at least 110 km/h on HIghway 401, and just because the police do not routinely issue tickets for speeding by 10 km over, in no way is the legal speed limit changed from 100 km/h

          • "One cannot deny the legal structure that enshrines the Queen as head of state."

            Are you sure?

            'Cause people seem to be doing that all over the place today.

          • lol! Indeed.

        • Well, I don't want to question anyone's objectivity, but yes, it should be evident to just about every objective observer.

          It absolutely boggles my mind that we're even having this discussion at all.

          • Well, boggle away, fella. Just get used to busts of Vanier, Hnatyshyn, Monck, Clarkson, Stanley, Bing, Schreyer et al on the coins in your pocket.

  13. You might begin by asking yourself why Pierre Trudeau himself ENTRENCHED the monarchy and its 11 representatives in the Constitution in 1982.

    My guess is: because he could see that it works better than the alternatives.

    • My guess is: because when he merely suggested getting rid of the Monarchy it was objected to unanimously by all ten provincial Premiers. Including noted monarchist and anglophile Rene Levesque.

      I don't think Trudeau cared particularly one way or the other. The Premiers' response was basically "over our dead bodies" though.

  14. Last fall while we were waiting to see if GG would prorogue Parliament I wondered when GG would phone Queen and her advisers for advice on what to do. Whatever I read on the topic said the GG operates independently and did not have to call Queen if she did not wish to because GG is on her own. If GG is just a representative, she would have been following orders from Queen about prorogue and not make decisions independently.

    I think this episode makes clear how undefined our GG/Constitution is. How many other countries are not clear on whether their Head of State is, in fact, their Head of State?

    • Isn't the GG empowered to make such a decision on her own BY THE SOVEREIGN? Again, this all comes down to who is delegating power to whom. The Sovereign can delegate any power she likes to the GG. The only thing the Sovereign can't do is make the GG our Sovereign.

      • Correct again. And once again, the Queen would have been within her rights to call the GG (since we all seem to be excited about powers that exist) and could have interfered, and could have replaced whenever she damn well felt like it…..but thats not the way it works, by convention and by practicality. Part of the reason it works, and why the decision last fall was correct, was the crown tries to avoid politics if it can. As well, the crown, if offered the practical opportunity to ask the people it will…..this is part of the reason why it continues. The power that formally exists is enourmous….and claiming that we can just chuck these powers because they are unused is incorrect.

        If there is a formal change, as opposed to an in practice change, then this should and I would argue MUST be a constitutional change. When informal practice runs up against formal powers the powers win or a an ammendment is struck….the infomal evoilutionary stuff is all around convention (how and when the power is used, not if it exists)

  15. But that's not how it works. The GG does things that we don't let the Queen do, like represent Canada abroad and accept the credentials of ambassadors

    Poppycock.

    Who says we don't "let" the Queen represent Canada abroad? I've seen video of her doing that very thing! As for not "letting" her accept the credentials of Ambassadors, you're taking the implication a step WAY too far. "We don't need to bother the Queen with this, and it's more convenient for the GG to take care of it" is MILES away from "We no longer recognize the Queen's power to do this".

    Find me a passage where the Government says the Queen CAN'T accept the credentials of ambassadors and I'll show you a passage where the Government of Canada spits on the constitution.

    • You are sticking to the letter of the law. That is all well and good. However, the point of this article is to get Canadians thinking about the office of Head of State. We are not a colony anymore. Why should we maintain the links with Britain? Times change, society changes. Ireland was a colony for 800 years, then they moved on. Ditto India. Australia has clear rules regarding the Queen and her powers.

      Why maintain the tradition? Just to keep the tradition, is that the only reason -because it makes a few people happy as they sip their tea?

      • Well, no, for the practical reason that you can't have our Prime Minister appoint our Head of State (GG, in this example), who then appoints our Prime Minister (upon the electorate's voting in the MPs who give majority or minority allegiance to the leader of one party). There has to be somebody above all of that to keep it from being a circular problem. As I've said previously, I'd be okay with an electorate vote for a GG who maintains the position for her/his lifetime, unless choosing to retire or being recalled by a 2/3rds vote of Parliamentarians, but as others have pointed out, it is next to impossible to get Constitutional change. And in this particular case, the process is still working, so why bother?

        Just because we aren't a colony anymore, doesn't mean I have any interest in becoming a Republic, although I'm willing to look into who is meant by "Crown".

  16. Please answer these five factual questions about our absent Head of State;
    1. Why does our Head of State live overseas?
    2. Why is our Head of State not a Canadian?
    3. Why is our Head of State decided by birth rather than merit?
    4. Why can our Head of State only be a woman if a man is not available?
    5. Why is our Head of State not allowed to be a Catholic or marry one.

    • 1. Because we're not the only State she's head of. And we don't need her to make snap decisions on short notice, so it's not a big deal.
      2. She is.
      3. Not many elected monarchs to be found. What you're talking about is a President, which is certainly something we could discuss.
      4. Historical precedent. It should be changed.
      5. Same as #4. Alternatively, the whole wafer thing was seen as too politically dangerous to toy with. :)

      • # Actually, I believe the Act of Succession has been changed in recent years to permit the eldest heir, male or female, to succeed to the throne.

        • I certainly know there was legislation in Britain to do so, but A) I don't know if that's been passed and B) I believe OUR Act of Succession would need to subsequently be amended (though I imagine there's be rapid all-party support for such a move).

          Here I'm a little less clear, but I think in theory we could also explicitly allow the Canadian Sovereign to marry a Catholic, or be a Catholic, but that's a point which would be moot, as that has yet to be changed in Britain, where it's much more complicated what with a state church, and the Sovereign being the head thereof.

        • I can't find verification of that. My quick gloss of Wiki and a few other sites still reference the eldest male descendent rule. However, it is ultimately the British Parliament who decides succession, so it could presumably be changed with relative ease.

      • #2. She is only legally a Canadian. You and I both know she is not culturally a Canadian. We can debate this, but we would devolving into semantics. Let's first admit there is a sizable (and growing) amount of Canadians who regard the Queen as a 'foreigner'. Brits have big teeth. They talk funny. They like football (soccer). I've met lots of Brits. I don't have a problem with them. They are wonderful people. But you and people like you (monarchists) need to come out and say it: I SIMPLY LIKE TRADITION. Don't be shy. If you like to sip tea and have a chinwag with your chums, then say it. You like to pretend you're British.

        But please don't tell the rest of us we have to be like you. The Queen is a foreigner. She got booted out of India, booted out of Ireland, and she'll be booted out of Canada.

        • What do you mean she is not culturally a Canadian? She is fluent in both English and French. She has travelled to every part of this country. She has had ongoing discussions with every Prime Minister since 1952. She's dropped the puck at an NHL game.
          I was born in Canada and I can't claim any of these accomplishments. Does that mean I'm not Canadian?

  17. "Canada is a constitutional monarchy, where the governor general serves as the head of state, representing the Crown.”

    GG serves as the head of state (as opposed to is the head of state)

    • That was what I was thinking to. I can "serve as" my sister's de facto parent while my parents are away, but serving as a parent doesn't make me her dad.

  18. A pragmatic case for keeping QEII.

    Now, one argument for keeping Queen Elizabeth is simply that it is too hard to amend the Canadian constitution anyway, so we may as well keep her. However, she also serves a valuable purpose in practice. Our system gives the governor-general a great deal of power on paper. Legally, a governor-general can dissolve parliament, for instance, or appoint a new PM (my understanding is that requiring a confidence vote is a convention, and the 3-5 year limit on elections have been breached on at least two occasions – during WWI and in the 2008 election).

    In practice the temperament of governor-generals has been pretty kosher, with the possible exception of Byng. They realize that they are figureheads. Still, since in practice they are appointed by the PM you can have some pretty partisan folks on the job. Jeanne Sauve was a Liberal cabinet minister. Ramon Hnatyshyn was a Tory cabinet minister. It is a position open to abuse.

    The Queen is a backstop against possible abuse because she can remove errant governors general. Who governs the Queen? The institution itself. If the Queen ever abused her power, there would be an outcry and she would be removed. Because the monarchy is hereditary, she has a long-term interest in avoiding such an occurrence, since it is in her interest to bequeath this dominion to her progeny. The Queen would only intervene in extremely rare situations by definition – where she could be certain there would be no backlash to remove her.

    In other words, by having both a head of state and a representative we get the institutional advantages of a monarchy (long-term interests) and of appointment (the Queen's representative is usually a somewhat meritocratic appointment). Unlike the Americans, whose system of checks and balances induce constant gridlock, our system wisely promotes few checks and balances on the business of government (micro-politics), but many (a Queen and a governor general, plus institutional obstacles like the amending formula) on constitutional macropolitics which reflect our core values.

    • I often find myself in awe of how very wise our founding fathers were. And when you consider who they were individually, I'm amazed all over again.

      But then, I happen to believe that two of the biggest problem areas are as a result of a misinterpretation over the years, so maybe others aren't as awestruck as I am.

    • George Orwell also made a good argument for consititutional monarchy in England. With all the pomp and ceremony and mystique vested in someone with little or no political power, it leaves those who actually wield power more open to criticism and being held to account.

  19. Is an "acting CEO" the CEO? Would a Regent be the head of state in the cases of a child king/queen, seeing as they would do all the things that a head of state would do?

    No, of course not. It says it right there in the Letters Patent of 1947. The powers have been transferred, but the Queen retains the power at all times to take those powers back.

    A good book on this is Ted McWhinney's The Making and Unmaking of Governments. The last chapter deals with the future role of the GG as Canada's Head of State, etc.

  20. Monarchists fail to tell you that most of the countries of the commonwealth are republics. In fact 43 of the 52 countries are republics. If we don't grow up and fix the problem, then we will wake up some morning and low and behold we will hear that the Charles and Camilla are Canada's Head of State. Now wouldn't that make us the laughing stock of the world.

    • By all means argue that we should get rid of the Monarchy (I disagree, but have at it).

      I simply object to any notion that we can do so by simply closing our eyes and pretending the Constitution doesn't exist.

      I fully support the right of any Canadian to draft an amendment to the Constitution changing the nature of the position of Head of State, and to go to work getting the House of Commons, the Senate, and all ten provincial legislatures to support such an amendment.

      • The debate will happen in a big way when Queen inevitably passes away. And it wont just be us having the debate.

        Anyway, whatever system we get a broad consensus on is fine with me. I have my favourites, but the one that we have isnt stopping us from doing anything right now so hakunna mattatta

      • The debate will happen in a big way when the Queen inevitably passes away. And it wont just be us having the debate.

        Anyway, whatever system we get a broad consensus on is fine with me. I have my favourites, but the one that we have isnt stopping us from doing anything right now so hakunna mattatta

        • I think there probably will be a debate when her Majesty passes away.

          That said, if I were you I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the government of the day to open up the constitution and get the House of Commons, the Senate, and all ten provincial legislatures to agree to change our current system to something else. I really don't see that actually happening.

  21. Camilla has no more chance of becoming Head of State of Canada than I do. If and when Charles becomes King, he will become the Head of State of Canada. It isn't up for sharsies with a spouse, though, just as Prince Phillip isn't our head of state now. No laughingstocks here.

    • Goodness, will we all have to learn to talk to plants?

      But Jenn makes a valid point though.

  22. This parsing is pretty silly. Her Excellency goofed, because it is Her Majesty who is Canada's head of state. GG represents and assumes many of the Sovereign's duties in Canada. Mme Jean is Her Majesty's servant, not her replacement.

  23. Allan Fotheringham had an article in Macleans magazine some time ago entitled; "A tear, please, for Charles". He states in one place that; "We are asking the single-most-ill- equipped family in the country to provide us as a model. A modern monarchy is an oxymoron, like a modern slave, or a modern witch doctor."
    Two bad the twits(politicians) in Ottawa don't have the courage to admit the same.

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