Sentimental citizens will line the streets of five Canadian cities this summer, to wave at Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip as the Royals celebrate Canada Day.
They’ll be greeted as the celebrities they are, and perhaps by some die-hards as the living embodiment of the traditions they represent.
Few will greet Queen Elizabeth II enthusiastically as our rightful Head of State, but constitutionally, that’s her role.
As Prime Minister Stephen Harper notes,
“Royal tours present a wonderful opportunity for Canadians to learn more about our constitutional monarchy, one of the pillars upon which our country is founded… They are an important part of our history, traditions and institutions.”
True enough. But ornamental pillars make a poor foundation, and the monarchy is long past being essential to the Canadian political structure.
The venerable English monarch has become a figurehead, with only titular power.
But that doesn’t mean we should maintain the status quo. The vestiges that remain of the British Monarchy in our political system still matter in important ways. The Governor General decided the outcome of a constitutional crisis, for example, and was accountable to no one for her decision.
Now the word is the next Governor General is on the way, and there’s chatter about who’s up for the Governor General job. There’s even some suggestion the Queen may appoint the next Governor General while she’s here.
But let’s be clear: The Shatner Factor notwithstanding, we won’t be voting for the Governor General, any more than we vote for the Senate, or the Queen herself.
The most enlightened of the institutions that came to us from Britain (the parliamentary system), is trumped by the most archaic (the monarchy).
We can’t have a truly representative democracy under a constitutional monarchy.
It’s time for Canadians to choose the way forward. If we must have a regent, let it be a Canadian, chosen from among the citizenry: the next Governor General can be our Head of State.
Suppose when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is here, she does appoint the next Governor General.
Thanks for a job well done. We’re grown up now. We don’t need to be ruled from abroad.
The constitution or the crown? The royalty, or the royal WE?
Who’s in charge around here, anyway?
The principle of democracy is simple: the people rule.
Who rules Canada?
We do. Don’t we?
(Photos: Sun Media/Craig Roberston; AP Photo/John Stillwell)