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Is that the royal “presume?”


 

Somewhat disconcertingly, Buckingham Palace seems somewhat less than certain who Canada’s head of state is.

“I know this comes on the back of what might have been said recently in the press, and obviously we’re not getting involved in anything that was said,” said palace press officer Nick Loughran. He then added, a bit hesitantly: “In terms of her official title, I presume the Queen is head of state in Canada.”


 

Is that the royal “presume?”

  1. In other words, Her Royal Highness is telling/imploring her son, Canada, to move out of the house already, but we won't/can't leave.

  2. The Queen is quite properly avoiding becoming involved, but that answer is clearer than you your title implies.

    Try saying the quote with an upper class English Accent tinted with bemusement as opposed to a Canadian accented uncertainy (which is the way Canadaians use the phrase "I presume")

    The Queen is the Head of State by title, which means she is, because the title matters….she is also the head of state of the United Kingdom by title. The Queens office is being respectful by saying "by title" which preserves her agents authority so she doesnt need to be involved in these ridiculous disputes.

    • It can also be read "by tittle" as hinting at a recognition of our part in her role as head of state. In other words yes she is, but she clearly realises it's at our discretion, no longer at hers. The monarchy has done an admireable job in Canada, but its justification for being is rapidly coming to a close. Time for Canada to grow up.

    • Yes, I see sarcasm/bemusement in this statement.

      The Queen is the Queen. If the Queen isn't head of state, there are some real issues here.

    • The concept of being 'above politics' is certainly difficult to grasp for some.

    • My first impression, from reading the quote, was that the word "presume" was inserted to avoid the appearance of "getting involved in anything that was said". If the press officer had said, "In terms of her official title, the Queen is head of state in Canada”, it would have left a very different impression.

  3. The by title is correct and definitely acknowldges that she isnt day to day.

    I am certainly not arguing that having the Head of State reside out of country is a good thing. When Canadians have the discussion and come to broad consensus on what the model to replace it is then you change it formally. I am certain the Queen or her descendents would be more than happy to do it when we have our decision.

    So rather than trying to slip in de facto's and creeping precendent the current GG should do her job, which is stay out of controversial areas. The change to that office will be part of the big package of changes that will inevitably come with Senate reform and whatver change would entice Quebec to sign the constitution.

    The time it takes us to solve those problems is how ever long we will have a formal Head of State that resides out of the country.

  4. she clearly realises it's at our discretion, no longer at hers

    That is not how the Crown works. Its powers exist independently of the wishes or opinions of the reigning monarch.

  5. she clearly realises it's at our discretion, no longer at hers

    That is not how the Crown works. Even if that premise was being expressed by either the Queen or her spokesman – which is less than clear – that's irrelevant; its powers exist independently of the wishes or opinions of the reigning monarch.

  6. Allow me to translate the euphemized rhetoric that has allowed the royals to speak for centuries without inciting civil wars and populist uprisings…

    "“I know this comes on the back of what might have been said recently in the press [trans: we've got corgis better versed in constitutional law than the blowhard morons who have been sounding off],

  7. Allow me to translate the euphemized rhetoric that has allowed the royals to speak for centuries without inciting civil wars and populist uprisings…

    "“I know this comes on the back of what might have been said recently in the press [trans: we've got corgis better versed in constitutional law than the blowhard morons who have been sounding off],

    and obviously we're not getting involved in anything that was said [trans: We're frigging royals here, people. We sit in the palace with the jewels and gin, you commoners build roads, watch Dancing With the Stars, or make little laws as you please – just leave us the hell out of it – capiche?!]

    "He then added, a bit hesitantly:"
    [trans: He waited a moment for the full effect of his recent double gin to wash over him…]

    "“In terms of her official title,"
    [trans: Which part of "Queen" is unclear to you? Look it up in the f*cking dictionary – I assume a few of you colonials can read.]

    "I presume the Queen is head of state in Canada.”
    [trans: By "presume," I mean it's a clear and obvious fact to everyone but the unwashed Molson swillers dumb enough to hang around in that frozen, godforsaken hunk of tundra that lost all interest and appeal to us once the beavers had been trapped out. Well, Philip still gets mileage out of beaver jokes whenever Canada comes up, but you get my point. Now kindly fly back home and pound oil sand up your arse. (And god save the Queen.)]

  8. Allow me to translate the euphemized rhetoric that has allowed the royals to speak for centuries without inciting civil wars and populist uprisings…

    "“I know this comes on the back of what might have been said recently in the press [trans: we've got corgis better versed in constitutional law than the blowhard morons who have been sounding off],

    and obviously we're not getting involved in anything that was said [trans: We're frigging royals here, people. We sit in the palace with the jewels and gin, you commoners build roads, watch Dancing With the Stars, or make little laws as you please – just leave us the hell out of it – capiche?!]

    "He then added, a bit hesitantly:"
    [trans: He waited a moment for the full effect of his recent double gin to wash over him…]

    "“In terms of her official title,"
    [trans: Which part of "Queen" is unclear to you? Look it up in the f*cking dictionary – I assume a few of you colonials can read.]

    "I presume the Queen is head of state in Canada.”
    [trans: By "presume," I mean it's a clear and obvious fact to everyone but the unwashed Molson swillers dumb enough to hang around in that frozen, godforsaken hunk of tundra that lost all interest and appeal to us once the beavers had been trapped out. Well, Phillip still gets mileage out of beaver jokes whenever Canada comes up, but you get my point. Now kindly fly back home and pound oil sand up your arse. (And god save the Queen.)]

    • Bingo.

    • LOL!! When dicyphering fraffle one always has to pay attention to the subtext. Don't you know!

    • unwashed Molson swillers – what a way with words ROFL

  9. Time for the Queen to replace her representative, methinks. Put Prince Harry in Rideau Hall. That'll give everyone a good reminder. He might as well just stay on in the job permanently and become King later on. No more PMs choosing GGs, no more GGs causing spats, no more "foreign" monarch.

    • Harper's next surprise? Harry shows up with Harper at the last Senators' game this spring (won't be a playoff game) and let's drop that Harry will be moving in to Rideau Hall Sept. 2010.

  10. Since it bothers Canadians to consider any change that makes us more like Americans, I suggest we consider the French system. Highlights are a 2 ballot run off system to ensure the Head of State President has majority of votes cast and elected, multi-party upper and lower legislative chambers.

    • Firstly, a 2 ballot run off is a stupid system. When many candidates run, it is the few that can galvanize hardcore supporters that go on to the second ballot. In 2007 the UDF candidate was the clear pareto optimal candidate, who would have beaten Sarkozy or Royale in the runoff. However, he didn't have the first ballot support to get there. In 2002 the socialists were knocked off after the racist front nationale barely edged them out.

      Secondly, the French system is similar to the American system. Being unicameral, it is prone to the same gridlock that paralyzes the US (I mean look how much trouble they are passing health reform, with a better than 2/3rds majority in the house, a 2/3rds majority in the senate, and a popular president.

      I think the most Canadian way to select a head of state (if we severed our ties to the monarchy, and ended PM appointment of the governor-general – and we shouldn't do either) would be through a non-partisan commission.

      • I'm no fan of run-off style voting, but in this particular case would it alter things that much? (I'm envisioning a scenerio where the GG becomes our President – even if we keep calling her the GG – but has the same role and responsibilities as now.) I don't follow how gridlock might result.

        • If you are talking of electing the GG, you can't elect someone to a public office without giving them a mandate. Given that the GG gives royal assent to legislation currently, you would certainly get gridlock, since it would essentially be the same as a presidential veto.

          I'm not too keen on having the ceremonial head of government be chosen by a non-partisan commission either. Who would you choose to sit on that commission?

          I'm telling you, the easiest thing to do is declare our fealty to Prince Harry (or some other junior royal) as "King of Canada", have him marry some cute Quebec girl, and start our own Canadian Royal Family.

          • Let's get Julie Couillard on a plane and see if we can't get this rolling!

            Good point about the idea of mandate. I'm getting way out of my depth here, so humour me and explain why we couldn't draft a mandate that maintained the current role and limitations of the GG? We could even make it a one term position, if that would help maintain neutrality.

            I'm sure you're right – I'm just trying to think all the permutations through.

  11. I don't think that's disconcerting at all, except in the sense that it shows that between the two offices of our two largely ceremonial figureheads, the office of the friggin' QUEEN is less desirous of titles (and the possible usurping thereof) than the office of the Governor General!

    It's a real evolution in the monarchy. There was a time when if some pretender claimed to be Head of State they'd shortly be proven wrong by their lack of an actual head.

  12. We need to legitimize the GG with a modern process for the appointment. Of course that means a new reality TV program … Who wants to be the GG? Candidates display their mastery of protocol, eitquette and seal consumption, while a panel of partisans critiques their performance, and we all watch at home and text in our votes. Consitutional crisis averted. Next?

    • So You Think You Can Be Governor General?

  13. she clearly realises it's at our discretion, no longer at hers

    That is not how the Crown works, constitutionally. Even if that premise was being expressed by either the Queen or her spokesman – which is less than clear – that's irrelevant; its powers and limits thereupon exist independently of the opinions of the reigning monarch.

    • avr – To say or imply the monarchy hasn't or can't evolve is to simply deny reality. The Queen is our Queen until we say she is and not a day more, or a day less. When or constitution was being repatriated, some traditionalists said the British parliament didn't have to return it unconditionally. Trudeau's response was: 'they'll just have hold their nose then.' [ paraphrasing] We are masters in our own house – as we should be.

  14. I'll take the Australian system. Single member STV and by pop by in the house, Multi member STV and EEE in the senate.

    • Doesn't sound like a bad system to me!

      Also doesn't seem like it has anything whatsoever to do with this post, but whatever.

      • LKO, I was trying to post that where Ian' suggested we replace the GG (and everything else) with the Fifth Republic. But since I mentioned Australia which is very close to our system, I'll mention I'm of the same mind as the Aussies about the monarchy. Don't like it but it sure beats the alternatives.

  15. And come September 2010 the next harper photo-op is a pub crawl with G-G Harry. A little karoke. A few pints. And lots of big smiles for the press.

  16. If the Govenor General is the Queen's representative in Canada, then let her pay for it's operation instead of the taxpayer. Otherwise get rid of that office.

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