Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Bye, bye federation, if republicans had their way

This week's edition of Maclean's features a piece on the cost of the Canadian Crown. As you know, the League has just published its triennial survey that shows the cost of Canada's monarchy to be about $1.53 per Canadian per year. That's a heck of a bargain if you ask me when you consider the many benefits we receive...a sound system of government with a non-partisan Queen and Governor General providing stability and unity.

The one thing that jumped out at me, though, was the republican gentleman's suggestion that the Lieutenant Governors are more or less "redundant and obsolete." Wow! This revelation should sound alarm bells to anyone who believes in the Canadian federation.

What republicans are, in effect, saying is that provincial sovereignty means nothing. In Canada, where ultimate authority is vested in The Queen, we have eleven sovereign governments: one federal and ten provincial. Each has its very own representative of the Crown: the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governors.

Abolishing the offices of the Lieutenant Governors would leave the provinces with no counterpart to the Governor General. The provincial governments would become mere subordinates of the federal government. Probably not what Canadians would want for the governments which are so close to them and handle important things like health end education, eh?

The mere thought of abolishing the provincial vice-regals reeks of constitutional vandalism. Of course, no province is ever going to voluntarily give up its sovereignty to Ottawa. But, if the republicans had their way, we would have a President (with no provincial counterpart) and a federal government that could run roughshod over the provinces. Bye, bye federation!

Until next time,

BTW, please vote in the poll on the right hand side of the Maclean's article.

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