King Charles

The Monarchy

The question on Reddit:

Are you in favor of abolishing the Constitutional Monarchy system? Do you feel a Federal Republic would make more sense, if not which system would make more sense?

One good thing about a constitutional monarchy: the right of the monarch to abolish parliament or to refuse to give approval to a government bill or law. In practice, this power is very rarely exercised. In Commonwealth countries like Canada and Australia, the power of the Crown has been transferred from the King or Queen of England to the Governor General; there is no remaining connection in law to the British Crown.

The Crown is also the person who in name owns all government property. Parliament makes laws regarding that property, which the Crown is obligated to obey, but the public service works for the Crown, not for Parliament.

These nuances are important distinctions between a constitutional monarchy and a republic, in which the President – who replaces the Crown – is an overtly political figure. In a republic, there is always the danger that the president will abuse those powers, while in a constitutional monarchy

These differences are why I support a constitutional monarchy over a republic. We have seen in history too many cases where a president becomes a strongman and subverts the democratic process for the purpose of retaining power and rewarding his supporters. This power is supposedly moderated by “checks and balances” but if power becomes too concentrated and the system stops working, there’s nothing in place to prevent the slide into authoritarianism.

In Canada, as mentioned we have Governors General. These are appointed by the Prime Minister, who in turn is elected by members of Parliament (so, typically, the leader of the party with the most seats in Parliament becomes the Prime Minister). Traditionally, this is an apolitical appointment, but nothing would prevent a highly partisan Prime Minister from making it a political appointment.

It would not surprise me if at some point in the future that we abolished the British monarchy. There’s no reason for a British monarch to appear on our currency.

In such a case, though, I would prefer to see a Canadian monarch, not a republic, for the reasons I’ve stated above. Such a monarch could, perhaps, be appointed in some way by Parliament or by the Prime Minister, but I would rather see the appointment be completely non-political. A lottery might be too random, but a lottery from, say, Order of Canada recipients (who in turn were selected by the previous Monarch) might be an option.

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