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How much does the Crown cost in Canada?

The Crown is cheaper per capita than the Senate or House of Commons—and more expensive than the Library of Parliament


 
Governor General David Johnston delivers the speech from the throne in the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday December 4, 2015. Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Governor General David Johnston delivers the speech from the throne in the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday December 4, 2015. Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Canada’s constitutional monarchy costs each Canadian $1.53 a year, less than a small coffee at Tim Hortons. That includes the Governor General, the 10 provincial lieutenant-governors, their official residences, staff, administration, travel, security and even office supplies. That’s way under the Senate ($2.38 per capita) and the House of Commons ($11.76). Heck, it’s just a bit more than the cost of the Library of Parliament ($1.16 per capital).

The data comes from the 6th edition of the Cost of the Crown Survey, a detailed, annotated breakdown from the Monarchist League of Canada. Its motivation was simple: “We needed a tool to counter any republican or anti-monarchy claims that the monarchy costs too much money,” explains Robert Finch, the league’s dominion chairman. “Second, we felt there was a real lack of understanding amongst the general population surrounding how much the monarchy costs Canadians. We want to convey the message that there is great value, rather than expense, in the service, significance, and symbolism of the Canadian Crown and the viceregal offices.”

In the so-called “post-truth” era, in which assertions are repeated ad nauseam while factual rebuttals are ignored, this survey is an exacting fact-check. No detail was too small. For instance, the lieutenant-governor of P.E.I. spent $1,500 on travel and training while Ontario’s office holder spent $81,020 on supplies and equipment. “We have a small team of researchers and editors,” Finch explains, noting that most of the data is readily available online. “Once the data is compiled, we send a draft report to all of the viceregal offices for their input” into double-checking the information or explaining anomalies.

The reaction from the public? “Usually, I get comments such as ‘Wow, that’s pretty cheap,’ or, ‘I thought the monarchy cost so much more,’ ” Finch recalls. Indeed, the total for the fiscal year 2014-15 is $55 million, of which $42.9 million was allocated to the Governor General, down from $47.1 million in 2012-13. In that same fiscal year, the Governor General and 10 provincial viceregal appointees undertook more than 4,000 engagements.

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Included in those costs are everything from the running two historic residences—Rideau Hall costs $6.7 million while La Citadelle in Quebec City is $730,000 and entertaining some 245,000 visitors and guests to those buildings. As well, RCMP security for the Governor General cost $6.6 million. There were also two royal visits (that the league calls “homecomings”) in the survey’s time frame: official visits by Prince Charles and Camilla, duchess of Cornwall ($650,500 or two cents per capita) and Princess Anne ($128,000 or 0.3 cents per capita). Those costs are for expenses; the royals are never paid, Finch emphasizes.

There were also 10 other so-called working visits by members of the royal family since the last survey, including Prince Philip’s two-day trip to Toronto to present new colours to the Royal Canadian Regiment. As they weren’t at the invitation of the government, expenses are covered by the organizations, not the government.

For those wondering about comparisons with other “head of state” operations, the survey has those numbers as well. The Netherlands’ monarchy cost an estimated $53.3 million ($3.14 per capita) while the scandal-plagued Spanish institution came in at a bargain $13.2 million (28 cents per capita). Republics weren’t a bargain. France’s presidency cost around $170 million ($2.20 per capita), while Ireland’s clocked in at an estimated $6.6 million or $1.22 per person.

“For the price of a cup of coffee, we get an institution that provides us with an excellent system of government and contributes to national unity and Canadian identity,” Finch says. “You can’t beat that.”


 

How much does the Crown cost in Canada?

  1. Isn’t that amazing……same as she costs the English

    But, as long as you don’t mind being a colonial…..

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  3. I don’t care if it’s $55 million or $55 thousand, it’s money we shouldn’t be spending on a monarchy we don’t need. There is absolutely no reason for Canada to need the British monarchy. We don’t need the supervision. We don’t need the support. We certainly don’t need a bunch of over-privileged, self-important, molly-coddled incompetents prancing around having a good time exploring the world on our nickle. That money could be put to better use in Canada, on anything that is not connected to the British royal family.

    How many of them could really have accomplished anything on their own were it not for the advantages of their birth. It has been centuries since anyone has truly earned a royal title. Since then there have been nothing but freeloaders living in the royal abodes. Including the present monarch and her offspring.

    • So many people ignorant of our history and constitution…The Queen is our Head of State, not our queen. We need a head of state, for things like dissolving Parliament, resolving disputes. Replacing the Queen with a local, say, would: (a) require the UNANIMOUS consent of all the provinces and (b) be way more expensive. (For example, right now the Brits cover her housing.) Hostility directed towards the present Royal Family is just…ignorant. Get educated, get back to me.

      • Yeah she’s the Queen of Canada….and she doesn’t resolve any disputes.

        We don’t need the Queen……she does nothing for Canada

        • Emily, evidently you have not read my comment. A minute on Wikipedia would establish that we have a constitutional form of government, one that requires a Head of State. By law. This person performs vital functions, such as accepting a PM’s resignation, and/or resolving constitutional disputes. I asked you, “if not the Queen, then who?” and you stamped your little feet and said “No Queen!!” I repeat, educate yourself.

          It may very well be that we have advanced (?) to a point where we can dispose of this link-but anyone proposing we do so should then suggest how we solve the constitutional crisis arising. The present PM could appoint a Head of State, with obvious problems of conflict of interest. We could have a nation-wide election, which would cost many times what the Queen costs.

          Don’t just whine, propose solutions.

          • We have a constitutional monarchy

            Change it.

      • Your comment is ignorant of the many negative aspects of British colonialism especially its entrenched and persistent racism. Not only did they import slavery to Canada but a special brand of discrimination for Irish Canadians. Certainly the inept management under Francis Bond Head and his policies of racial cleansing stand out as the epitome of British colonialism. In several wars, the Brits rewarded whatever loyalty Canadians may have had with mass annihilation of Canadian men and boys who the Brits regarded as more disposable than good china in the officer’s mess. The majority of British settlers that came to Canada were more often in effect deported to Canada in order to satisfy the economic interests of wealthy Brits. Even post secondary education in Canada was originally reserved for wealthy Anglos. Why spend any money at all on a celebration of subjugation?

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