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In defense of our monarchy

By in Opinions

ERIK CAREY

monarchy

As Canadians, we should support the constitutional monarchy — including the recent birth of our future king, Prince George of Cambridge.

Prince George was born over-a-month ago and, while I agree such extravagant media coverage is unjustified, pointedly rejecting the monarchy merely gives more publicity to a family who already gets enough attention because of their status. Further publicizing the issue only serves to legitimize the American media’s bizarre celebrity worship of a monarchy they have nothing to do with.

It is no secret that the Royal Family is not overly fond of the media — paparazzi had a heavy hand in the death of Princess Diana — so why on earth would Prince William want to have his new family subjected to the same media circus his mother endured? This kind of attention is not asked for.

Canada has been legislatively independent of Great Britain since 1931 and as of 82’ is fully independent of Britain. The myth that Canada is not an independent country because we share a monarch with Britain is simply untrue. Canada shares the Royal Family with 14 other commonwealth countries.

Last time I checked these countries were all mature, self-governing sovereign nation states. To say Canada crowns a “Brit” as our head of state would be the same as saying we crown the Queen of Tuvalu as our head of state! In the age of globalization we are fortunate to have a Royal Family that are outward looking and committed to the goings on of the commonwealth as well as the outside world.

By continuing our relationship with Britain, we are not signalling to the world that we need to be looked after. In fact it was during the early years of the World War II that Canada, along with the rest of the commonwealth, kept Britain fed and supplied. We need not forget that this was shortly after Canada obtained legislative independence. We as a country have proved we can take care of ourselves and our friends.

This concept that our monarchy is somehow foreign is the product of biased interpretations of our history and the lack of a proper Canadian history curriculum in our schools.

Nobody is less patriotic because they believe in the continuity of an institution that has helped shape our country so profoundly. Indeed without loyalty to the Crown, Canada would have succumbed to the American invasion of 1775 or the American invasions during the war of 1812.

To those of you who discount our British history, I say baloney!

Our British heritage — along with our First Nations, French and multicultural identities — are what make Canada such a unique and diverse country. The Canadian identity continues to evolve and change but this doesn’t mean we should regard our own history and traditions as foreign. Our county and its identity owe much to Britain — whether we like it or not — and we as a nation should continue to reflect this truth.

Purging Canada of its British roots would be no simple task. Canada’s national colours were proclaimed to be red and white by His Majesty King George V in 1921. Many of our provincial flags contain the union jack or a stylized version of it. Canadian heraldry is full of English, Scottish and Irish symbols; indeed the Canadian coat of arms bears the royal union flag along with the fleur de lis.

The Mounties are royal; the legion is royal; the mint is royal; the navy is royal; the air force is royal; we even have the Royal University Hospital on our very own campus.

The city of Prince Albert was named after Queen Victoria’s husband; Prince Edward Island was named after her father — the first person to describe the French and British colonists collectively as Canadians.

Canadian taxpayers only pay for the office of the governor general and the lieutenant governors with the occasional royal homecoming by members of the Canadian Royal Family. The Monarchist League of Canada puts the cost of head of state in Canada at approximately $1.53 per person. Compare that with the Library of Parliament ($1.02/person), the National Gallery of Canada ($1.43/person), the Senate ($2.45/person) and the CBC at $33 dollars per person.

According to The Daily Mail, the cost of the elected president of the United States is $1.4 billion a year. Compared with all these rival institutions, I’d say we’re getting a pretty good bang for our buck.

Canadian taxpayers do not buy members of the Royal Family fancy cars, designer clothes, corgis or trips to the Bahamas.  Any spending outside the duties of head of state are paid for by the royal family themselves.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s recent visit to Canada was to present new colours to the Royal Regiment of Canada of which the duke is colonel-in-chief. This is considered by the Government of Canada to be a private working visit. Funds for this trip did not come from the Government of Canada or the Royal Regiment of Canada. Only official tours around the country are paid for by the Canadian government.

The point of a monarchy is that it’s hereditary; the next in line becomes the monarch after an existing monarch dies. If a monarchy were to become elective, then it’s no longer a monarchy. It’s more of a popularity contest, much like the elections of political leaders.

Hereditary succession is a safeguard against partisan appointments and goodness knows we’ve had enough of that in the Senate. But I also challenge readers to think of it this way: from the moment an heir is born his or her life is dedicated to their country or, in the case of our Royal Family, the 16 commonwealth realms.

Growing up alongside the king or queen is the best possible education for a future monarch. There is no vacation from being king; from the cradle to the grave our monarch is dedicated to Canada and the commonwealth. As for merit, every monarch since Edward VII — including our Queen — has served in the armed forces of the United Kingdom.

Canada, being part of the NATO defence pact with the U. K., benefits from these joint alliances. Indeed many Canadians and citizens from other commonwealth countries continue to enlist and serve in the British armed forces. Members of the Royal Family also have honorary positions in the Canadian Armed Forces and are the patrons of countless charities. The Prince of Wales alone is patron to over 350 charities including many in Canada.

Our Royal Family have served us faithfully for hundreds of years. It would be foolish and contradictory to Canada’s loyalist history to throw away such an important part of our Canadian identity.

I for one welcome the birth of our future king. With all the horrible things going on in the world these days, it’s nice to have some good news once in awhile.

So yeah, let’s hail the new King Baby.


Graphic: Stephanie Mah

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