today. Both came back with a response without unnecessary
badgering (which is always appreciated). The first was Brian
Graff. Mr. Graff's candidacy has previously been rejected by
the NDP but he is pursuing legal means to be allowed to run.
So what has Brian Graff have to say about the monarchy?
"I used to believe that the monarchy was a good symbol of our heritage and how
we achieved independence peacefully, unlike the US. IT clearly set us apart from
the US. But, a Head of state should be a unifying figure, and the Monarchy is very
unpopular in Quebec – this is unlikely to change, even with immigration –
Quebecois see the monarchy as a symbol of defeat and past oppression, and despite
the Queen’s long and loyal service, I doubt this will change under her reign, and I
don’t see Charles being any more popular. It’s the institution, not the person, that is
Even though my mother was born in the UK, I am now of the belief that we should
stay in the Commonwealth but should have a Canadian head of state. However,
that means opening up the Constitution, which is something that is unlikely to
So regardless of my views, we are stuck with it for many years."
the monarchy in an official capacity. But on the negative side
there is the belief that the monarchy doesn't do its job. Well,
one of its jobs.
Next, I checked whether Mr. Graff has made any other public
statements regarding the monarchy. I don't usually hold out
much hope of this if the candidate has never held public office
but in this case there was something. Back in 1991 Ontario
had a committee examining several different constitutional
issues. Brian Graff appeared as a witness. Below is a
transcript of his statements related to the monarchy:
"One thing is, in doing such a thing, we should start from the top down, and perhaps
the first thing for me is that it is time we should finally have a made-in-Canada
head of state. For many French Canadians, the British-based monarchy is not an
endearing institution. As well, it is not a symbol of great relevance to the increasing
number of Canadians of non-British heritage, including the aboriginal peoples. The
Queen has no real power as such, most of it having been transferred to the
Governor General. This was made abundantly clear with the GST bill, in which she
had no choice but to sign it into law despite the controversy over the way in which it
In the past, I tended to support the monarchy, as I believed it to be a symbol which
helped to distinguish ourselves from the US as a nation which gained independence
peacefully. But now I feel that other things are more important, namely that we
must create national institutions and symbols that are equally valid and relevant to
all Canadians, regardless of their ethnic origin or their religion. You should
remember that the Queen is of course a religious symbol as the head of the Anglican
Twenty-five years ago we did this sort of thing with the flag. We got a brand-new
flag. No one individual group, British, French or anybody, could claim that it had a
special relationship to it, that it was its symbol more than it was anybody else's,
with the possible exception of course that the maple leaf does not grow in all parts
of the country.
Anyway, I hope that by such reforms as creating a new head of state that
everybody equally can identify with, it will have an effect of unifying the country.
Recent events have shown us that while the American system has too many checks
and balances and power is too decentralized within each level of government, such
as the budget process in the United States where they could not agree on anything,
our Canadian system is the exact opposite. There are not enough checks and
balances in our parliamentary system as it has evolved to the current time. Power
within each level of government is centralized in the head of government,
particularly when that is a majority government. I believe the greater power
should be given to bodies which are independent of interference from the
government so as to prevent abuse of power by the government and otherwise
make government more responsive to public needs. This is a role of the Senate, the
head of state and so on.
Unfortunately, the current institution of Governor General is not adequate to this
task, as it is currently an appointed head of state, or it would be an appointed head
of state if you made that the head of state, and it is quite likely that whoever was
appointed Governor General the government would of course be completely
sympathetic with government policy. I also believe you cannot give an appointed
person or body any real authority in a democracy. So I think that, importantly, it is
becoming increasingly clear that there is a need to provide more checks and
balances on the exercise of power by the Prime Minister, because increasingly
power is centralized in his office.
I believe we should replace both monarchy and governors general with an elected
president, but I would not want anything like the American President, which so
totally dominates things. I would, though, require that any aspirants to the position
of president previously have held elected office so that they be familiar with
parliamentary procedures and also that they be competent in both official
languages, again so that they can communicate with all Canadians."
A Kisaragi Colour