Myths about the Monarchy of Canada

Some people believe that Canada should have a head of state because the Queen is a foreigner. Others assume that national unity will be strengthened if the monarchy is to be abolished. Here are some common myths about the monarchy of Canada.

The Queen Is Not a Canadian

Monarchists point to the fact that in a multicultural, inclusive society, individuals should not be judged based on ethnicity, race, or place of birth but by the contribution they have made to society. Given that the Queen is the guardian of the Canadian Constitution and source of law, the Queen is as Canadian as everyone else.

The Monarchy Wastes Taxpayer Money

The monarch only uses Canadian funds while acting as a Queen of Canada on her visits to other countries and when performing duties in the country. No funds are used to support the monarchy when Queen Elizabeth II is acting as the Queen of the United Kingdom or the Head of the Commonwealth. In fact, the monarchy costs taxpayers less than the Canadian Tourism Commission, Canadian Museum of Civilization, and Senate. It costs taxpayers the same as the Federal Court of Canada and the National Library of Canada. Citizens contribute about $50 million a year or about $1.60 each. Costs are mainly related to honouring citizens who made important contributions and for the maintenance of historic buildings.

National Unity Will be Strengthened

Some people also argue that if the monarchy is abolished this will help strengthen national unity and cohesion. In democratic states, however, the political system and its structure, functions, and characteristics will always be subject to debate. This doesn’t mean that the founding principles of Canada must change, be it that the country is a federal state or a constitutional monarchy.

The Charter of Rights Takes the Functions of the Queen

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Queen have different functions and roles. The role of the monarch is symbolic as she is the personification of the state. The Queen is also the patron of different organizations such as the Royal Canadian Humane Association, Canadian Red Cross Society, and Canadian Cancer Society. Queen Elizabeth II and her representatives also participate in different traditions and ceremonies such as celebrations, anniversaries, and royal tours. Her role in the country’s armed forces is only symbolic, and all accompanying duties and responsibilities are performed by the Governor General. The Queen’s approval is only necessary for certain matters such as creating Senate seats, the appointment of the Governor General, and patent letters.

While the monarch has more of a symbolic role, the Charter of Rights is actually a political document that parties or constituencies may seek to amend. The Charter is a bill of rights, including language, equality, legal, mobility, democratic, and fundamental rights that all citizens are entitled to.

Canadians Approve of Abolishing the Monarchy

In fact, there is a debate whether Canada must abolish the monarchy. A 2020 Ipsos poll shows that 81 percent or 8 in 10 Canadians believe that the Queen is performing well in her role of a monarch. The share of those who strongly agree has actually increased from 30 percent in 2016 to 36 percent in 2020. Approval rates are the highest in Quebec (72 percent), Manitoba and Saskatchewan (75 percent), Alberta (82 percent), Atlantic Canada (84 percent), Ontario (84 percent), and British Columbia (85 percent). Men (77 percent) are less supportive than women (84 percent).

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