A Kisaragi Colour
Monarchy is humanity's oldest and most prevalent form of government. Despite this the academic study of monarchy as a form of government is surprisingly weak. While the philosophical study of monarchy has its noted thinkers you would be hard-pressed to find a scholar who has delved into the data to determine what effect, if any, monarchy has on a country in a practical rather than theoretical way.
The reason for this I believe is two-fold: Accounting for the myriad of competing factors (culture, history, government policy, religion, etc) needed to form a conclusion about monarchy itself and, until recently, an inability to access the data needed to form conclusions. The development of the internet and the explosion in country development indexes is making both problems, if not easy to deal with, at least manageable. It must be remembered that republicanism gained predominance in the aftermath of the First Wold War. You and I have access to far more accurate information than people of that era could ever hope to have.
Its not like there is a complete dearth of research on the institution of monarchy but you really need to search. Christian Bjørnskov & Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard of the Department of Political Science at Aarhus University produced a working paper in 2008 titled Economic Growth and Institutional Reform in Modern Monarchies and Republics: A Historical Cross-Country Perspective 1820-2000. Its primary argument was that while monarchies and republics handled small reforms equally well large reforms produced a 'valley of tears' in republics where economic growth decreased while monarchies actually experienced slightly increased economic growth.
This is the kind of thing that inevitably helps us monarchists. While historical, emotional, theoretical, and cultural arguments are valid they can only take us so far. I firmly believe that it is hard data on what having a monarch does for a country that is needed to confront republicans. Remember what I wrote earlier: many republics were formed before the tools were in place to critique their performance. Another way of putting it is they have gotten a free ride for far too long. Its not like the data isn't already interesting before you even get into it seriously but it can be very hard to interpret.
For starters, take a look at any number of development indexes and you will find that monarchies invariably occupy between 5-7 of the top spots and have a distinct absence from the bottom rankings. Now this by itself is not as useful as you'd think. Instability tends to favour the formation of republics and lower development across the board so a chronically unstable state would both be at the bottom of an index and likely be a republic. By the same token it is difficult to say whether stable monarchies are stable because they are monarchies or monarchies because they are stable. However, it is an interesting phenomenon which might have underlying causes connected to monarchism, if only people would look.
For university students this all presents an interesting opportunity. As university students they will be asked to research a wide range of topics. Many of these fields of study are very old and have long had the 'low-hanging fruit' discovered by others. As a result many arguments are retreads of earlier research. However, since the study of monarchy seems to be in its infancy there is a real chance to contribute meaningfully to our understanding of this government form.
A Kisaragi Colour
It is well known that the Royal Family is heavily involved in charitable endeavors but it is sometimes forgotten that these endeavors, while consistent with the beliefs of the family member in question, differ from realm to realm. The charities the Prince of Wales has set up in Canada are a good example of this. So I'd like to take a moment to shine a small light on The Prince's Charities Canada (PCC).
What Are They?
From the PCC website's About page:
"The work of Prince’s Charities Canada (PCC) is focused on The Prince of Wales’s core interests which have been well-established in the UK for more than 30 years. These include improving the lives of disadvantaged youth, education, responsible business, improving the built environment, regeneration of heritage, environmental sustainability and support for the armed forces. PCC works with existing Canadian charities already connected to The Prince and facilitates new opportunities for charitable organizations in Canada and the U.K. to work together."
The charities that make up the PCC include nine loosely connected initiatives: The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, Aboriginal Initiatives, Campaign for Wool, The Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur, The Prince’s Seeing is Believing, The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community Canada, The Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership, Learning through the Arts, & The Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry.
The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts
This program got its start in Canada after His Royal Highness’ visit to First Nations University in 2012. As a partnership between First Nations University and the Prince’s School for Traditional Arts the goal is to not only help students learn practical skills in the arts but also to explain some of the philosophy behind them.
Educational programs at PSTA including:
-Traditional painting techniques
-Ceramic ornament and surface design
Recently His Royal Highness became the royal patron of Willowbank School for Traditional Arts as part of this initiative.
The Crown and First Nations have had a long history, indeed, longer than Canada has existed. The Prince of Wales wants to connect on a more personal level with the First Nations through his charitable work.
-Developing a partnership between First Nations University (FNU) in Regina and the Prince’s School for the Traditional Arts (PSTA) in the United Kingdom.
-Supporting an Aboriginal employment initiative developed by CEO participants of the Prince’s Seeing is Believing.
-Developing an initiative to provide children’s books written in First Nations languages to support literacy efforts.
As you may notice there is some overlap between these initiatives and ones under different headings. This speaks both to the unique place of the First Nations in Canada as well as the unique challenges hey face.
Campaign for Wool
The Prince of Wales has long been an advocate for sustainable environmental & economic development (which earned him a fair amount of ridicule in his early years). As part of his efforts to encourage sustainability Prince Charles initiated the Campaign for Wool. A launch event was held in Pictou, Nova Scotia on Sunday, May 19, 2014 and included local sheep, farmers, artisans, representatives of the Canadian Wool Industry. The campaign aims to raise consumer awareness about wool as a sustainable clothing option. After all, most synthetic clothes are not made from renewable materials.
This initiative has already helped increased demand for wool and led to a threefold increase in the price farmers receive for their wool.
The Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship can be difficult value to cultivate not only because of the uncertainties with pursuing that path but because it goes against most people's work experience. Working in an office tends to instill a more rigid view than is desirable for starting your own business. I can just imagine how much more difficult it is like coming out of the armed forces where the rigid chain of command is necessary to keep you alive.
The Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur helps soldiers transitioning from the Canadian Forces with the education, financing and mentoring needed to launch and sustain successful businesses. Prince Charles has a close relationship with the Canadian Forces serving as Colonel-in-Chief to seven different regiments.
-Over 31 businesses started since 2012
-Three ‘Based-in-Business’ entrepreneurial boot camp locations delivered at Memorial University, University of Regina and a French language site at Universite Laval
-70 graduates of ‘Based-in-Business’ since 2012
-More than 145 participants have taken our one-day ‘Be Your Own Boss’ introductory workshops since 2013
The Prince’s Seeing is Believing
From the website:
"The Prince’s Seeing is Believing (PSiB) brings corporate leaders face to face with social and economic issues, and demonstrates the impact that responsible business can have by closing the gap between the boardroom and the community. Run in partnership with the Wellesley Institute, Prince’s Charities Canada has launched a series of PSiB programs in Canada. With PSiB, C-suite executives take a day out of their offices and gain a new perspective on social issues. With a focus in Canada on disadvantaged youth, we are breaking new ground in helping to develop training and employment opportunities for a sector of our community that is often overlooked and marginalized."
Like the old concept of noblesse oblige this program seeks to remind business leaders that they do have a responsibility to the community due to their position.
There have been six PSiB community visit days featuring 120 senior business leaders and 26 community organizations since 2012 in:
-Regina & Weyburn, Saskatchewan
-Toronto, Ontario (3 times)
-Halifax, Nova Scotia
The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community Canada
While there is a great deal of discussion about the environment (quite a bit of it from the prince himself) it is easy to forget the challenge of environmental protection is often very close to home. With this in mind the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community Canada (PFBC) works to encourage sustainable development and quality urbanization of the 'built environment' (ie. were people live).
The PFBC in partnership with PCC held a professional symposium in Toronto From May 13-15, 2013.
The Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership
Prince Charles has often been critical of modern architecture and failures to preserve historic buildings. This initiative recognizes communities that make the extra effort to preserve their past.
Owen Sound, Ont. (2013)
Saguenay, QC (2012)
Oakville, Ont. (2010)
Edmonton, AB (2009)
Quebec City, QC (2003)
Saint John, NB (2002)
Victoria, BC (2001)
Learning through the Arts
A rather interesting program that uses the arts to help teach standard school subjects.
Examples from the website:
-history through role-playing,
-multiplication through songwriting,
-math/geometry through visual arts,
-science through dance &
-language arts through global percussion.
Its been long known that there is a link between musical ability and mathematical ability and to try to create similar linkages with other subjects goes a long way towards engaging students (which really is half the battle).
The Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry
You may be detecting a theme of environmental sustainability running through these initiatives by now. This award is presented to recognize achievements of young forestry professionals in Canada and to encourage sustainable forestry practices. The 2013 award winner was Jocelin Teron of Campbell River, British Columbia.
How the Prince of Wales sees his work.
A Kisaragi Colour
This website is intended to be a resource for those arguing in favour of Canada's monarchy, researching Canada's royal past, or wondering what the various vice-regal representatives of the Canadian Crown are up to currently. As well, articles about other monarchies may appear from time to time.