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December 12, 2022
Here’s a compromise for our monarchal catch-22: Cut ties with the Crown, keep the royal accoutrements and have future heads of state be Indigenous.
The ascension of King Charles III has predictably revived the question of Canada’s ties with the monarchy. Quebec’s National Assembly just adopted a bill making the oath of allegiance to the Crown non-compulsory for members. Whatever the outcome of Quebec’s gesture, Canada is not about to cut its (constitutional) tie to the British monarchy. However, at some point in the future, Canada will undoubtedly wish to give itself a head of state who is not a foreign sovereign. But replace the British monarch with what?
Constitutional complications aside – any change would require the approval of all provinces – Canada is caught in a conundrum. Ties to the British Crown have strong historical roots, far stronger than in the other Old Dominions (Australia and New Zealand). As well, the simple republican solution – replacing the Governor General with a president, as countries such as Ireland, India and more recently Barbados have done – is not (except in Quebec) a politically palatable option for the same reason. So, we do what? We don’t want a republic but would like a Canadian head of state. A classic catch-22.
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