OTTAWA, Sept 14 (Reuters) – A growing number of Canadians do not want a foreign monarch to represent them despite their deep historical ties to Britain and their attachment to the Queen, but the risks of constitutional reform mean that there is little political will to change.
Britain colonized Canada in the late 16th century and the country officially remained part of the British Empire until 1982. It is now a member of the Commonwealth of Old Empire Countries whose leader of the state is the British monarch.
Dozens of Canadian city names like London and Windsor reflect lasting ties. But according to an April Angus Reid Institute poll, 51% of Canadians don’t want the monarchy to continue to be its ceremonial figurehead, up from 45% in January 2020. Only 26% of respondents said that should be the case and 24% were unsure.
Moreover, according to a Léger poll released on Tuesday, about 77% of Canadians said they felt no attachment to the British monarchy.
“Canada is the only G7 country whose head of state is a citizen of another country,” said Flavio Volpe, president of the Canadian Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association.
“I prefer someone from Windsor to the house of Windsor,” said the head of state, Volpe, referring to a Canadian city across the river from Detroit.
“We should have serious discussions as a country about whether we can find a Canadian for a ceremonial position.”
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“The monarchy is outdated and it doesn’t matter to our government. I think it’s time for us to be on our own, said John Nielsen, 61, an Ottawa-based entrepreneur.
Quebecers, a predominantly French-speaking province, feel even less close to Britain: 71% of Angus Reid respondents say they no longer see the need for the monarchy, and 87% say they no longer feel attached to the royal family in Military Investigation.
One-fifth of Canada’s population are newcomers who have little connection to Britain, and Indigenous peoples tend to have little affection for colonial power. As an example of their feelings, Indigenous activists tore down the statue of the Queen inside the Manitoba Legislature in 2021.
“Apart from the many photo opportunities alongside the chiefs in headgear, Queen Elizabeth’s reign will forever be marked by inaction,” Niigaan Sinclair, a professor of Indigenous studies at the University of Manitoba, said in a statement. article for Winnipeg Free Press. after his death.
QUEBEC AND TREATMENTS
Pro-monarchic Canadians and analysts argue that a constitutional monarchy is a well-functioning democratic system and, more importantly, changing it would be both complex and politically risky.
Quebec, which has twice sought independence in referendums, has never formally approved a constitution, and most treaties with Indigenous peoples have been signed with the Crown, not the government. canadian. These treaties established reservations, guaranteed hunting and fishing rights, and sometimes included annual dues.
Both of these issues would be politically sensitive if Canada changed its constitution.
Constitutional disputes with Quebec were political poison in the past, and two attempts to change the constitution in the late 1980s and early 1990s failed while fueling a debate over Quebec sovereignty.
“The huge constitutional effort to remove the Crown would inevitably lead to many more proposals for constitutional amendment. Canada went down this path in the 1980s and 1990s, and the country almost collapsed due to all the competing demands,” said Jonathan Malloy, professor of political science at Carleton University in Ottawa.
At least seven provincial legislatures representing more than 50% of the population, plus parliament, must approve constitutional amendments.
Al Carl, 73, is a retiree from Ottawa who says the monarchy provides stability in a fragmented political landscape and “sets us apart from the United States.” Carl said a constitutional amendment would be untenable.
“How can we do with our political division? How would you get Quebec to accept anything? He said.
“As long as the rivers flow”
Asked about his stance on the monarchy on Tuesday, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadian democracy is healthy and while always open to “strengthening” it, “Canadians are almost entirely concerned about the big issues we face.” . climate change and economy.
Without endorsing the monarchy and closing the door on debate, Trudeau said his government would focus on issues important to Canadians.
Malloy said he was personally “uncomfortable” with a constitutional monarchy and “its feudal, colonial and extremely elite base”, adding however that “it fundamentally works” and therefore changing it is “a low political priority “.
Nations Leader RoseAnne Archibald dismissed concerns over the impact of the constitutional amendment on treaties, although she did not endorse the constitutional amendment.
“First Nations will always have a relationship with the Crown no matter what Canada does as a society,” Archibald told Reuters. “As long as the sun is shining, the rivers are flowing, and the grass is growing, these covenants are in effect.”
Reporting from the registry by Steve Scherer in Ottawa, additional reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto and Allison Lampert in Montreal, editing by Deepa Babington
Source: Reuters Trust Principles.