Daily Archives: October 1, 2010

Monarchy: A Body That Should Be Put to Rest

You might gather from that title that I’m anti-monarchist, and you’d be right. Today, Canada swore in its new Governor-General. What is the governor-general? It is the person who stands in for the queen of England for Canada. The person with that title wields a vast amount of power. He/she is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and also convenes parliament, or in the case of proroguing parliament (something that Prime Minister Harper is fond of using to evade the tough questions) must agree to it. In practice, it is a symbolic figurehead position where the governor-general dances to the tune of the prime minister.

There are many Canadians who love the monarchy and many who don’t or don’t even know the queen of England is still sovereign over our nation. I think England is called a constitutional monarchy, and Canada is a sovereign nation, independent…yet…kinda not. I’ve been told that having this figurehead protects our democracy, that it limits the power of the prime minister, which is not as all sweeping as a president’s but I don’t know. I get rankled that someone from some other country, who is called the “Queen of England and the commonwealth, defender of the faith,” etc. is really the true ruler of our country.

Should she, or  her commander on Canadian soil, ever exercise true power over Canada we would see people suddenly not that for the monarchy. There would be wholesale rebellion if England told us what to do. So, why do we have a queen or king? I don’t like paying lip service to this ruler (even nominal) of another nation.

On top of that, monarchies are really a thing of the past, of the feudal era, and in most cases we’re past that style of culture. Sure, there are various cultures that still have kings and queens, some of them like Britain’s queen (the king of Thailand for example), but to what purpose? A democratic (or communist country) has other ways of governing.Go ahead and call yourself king, grand potentate, god or emperor if you rule a tyranny or dictatorship because there, the will of the people is definitely suppressed.

People were made king or queen in past eras because they killed everyone else, had the strongest arm or the biggest army. Then their descendants, who raked in the tithes and taxes and gifts, got to rule, or someone overthrew them. So who is royal? Anyone who gets to the top. There isn’t different blood that runs through their veins, they are not dropped onto the planet by some god, and they are not born more perfect, intelligent and wise than you or me. It is only by dint of their privileged status and money that they get to be humanitarians, travel in style, hobnob with the creme de la creme and get the best of everything. With that upbringing I too could be a goodwill ambassador for whatever I chose.

I do not object to being rich and I do not object to people rising to the top but I think they should earn it or inherit from their family. Sure that’s happened to the monarchs of various kingdoms but right of inheritance doesn’t really give you the means to be a good ruler. And gosh, everyone gets to vote in their rulers in the commonwealth countries.

So, although I think Canada should stop knuckling under to an outmoded form of government where the queen and god get to rule, I guess it’s up to each country to decide if they want to keep their monarchs. Canada should stand on its own two feet. We should vote on it and hey, maybe I can be governor-general sometime and stage a coup against the prime minister. I wonder what would happen then. Would the armed forces (as they’re sworn to do) follow such a coup, and would the Queen step in? It would make it interesting and probably get our constitution re-evaluated. Ah, for the colonial days. Time to get rid of monarchies the world over.

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