to learn what the candidates for leadership of
the NDP think about the monarchy. This time
the response is from Mr. Jagmeet Singh. I had
previously received a reply directing me to
look at Mr. Singh's platform. I decided to
pester a bit longer to get an actual answer and
late yesterday I received the following reply
from a campaign staffer:
"Jagmeet respects that Canada is a constitutional monarchy and the roles and
responsibilities that go hand in hand with that."
monarchy. The only problem is that it is vague. It is rather
unclear what 'roles and responsibilities' are being referred to.
This may be a result of an aide only being able to get a very
brief reply from the candidate. Given how busy the candidates
are I am not surprised. The other policy questions I sent had
answers that were similarly brief and to the point.
As always I checked the internet to see if Mr. Singh had made
any comments about the monarchy. As he is a Member of the
Ontario Legislature I held out hope there might be one or two.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to find any. I did find one person
on Reddit who stated that they would vote for Mr. Singh and
the NDP if they were more supportive of the monarchy. This
sentiment has popped up quite a bit and I would hope all the
candidates are paying attention.
UPDATE: During the leadership debate in Montreal Mr.
Singh received a question on the monarchy. Below is a
translation of his reply:
"I don’t support the Monarchy at all. So I want Canada to
remain a democracy without having a link to the
I also contacted his campaign team for an explanation. Here
is the message I sent:
During the debate in Montreal Mr. Singh received a question on the Canadian
Monarchy and gave an answer much different than the one you sent me:
As spoken: Je ne suis d’accord pas de tout avec la monarchie, donc je veux que le
Canada reste une démocratie sans avoir un lien avec la monarchie.
Translation: I don’t support the Monarchy at all. So I want Canada to remain a
democracy without having a link to the Monarchy.
This is greatly disappointing and displays a lack of understanding about the
benefits of the monarchy to the well-functioning of Canadian democracy.
This is unfortunate as monarchy has been shown to have advantages over
republics in a number of areas including the quality of democratic norms. In a
2008 study titled "Presidents with Prime Ministers: Do Direct Elections Matter?"
by Margit Tavits she found that directly-elected presidencies did nothing to lower
voter apathy and were in fact associated with increased voter fatigue and a 7%
drop in voter turnout for legislative elections. Likewise, she found that indirectly-
elected presidents were not as non-partisan as we tend to believe them to be (since
they are still an electoral asset). The recent Austrian election shows how a
essentially powerless presidency can become divisive with the far-right challenger
being barely defeated late last year. Further, a 2009 study titled "Constitutional
Power and Competing Risks: Monarchs, Presidents, Prime Ministers, and the
Termination of East and West European Cabinets" by Petra Schleiter and Edward
Morgan-Jones found that constitutional monarchies had a marked preference for
using elections when governments lost confidence of the legislature. Both legislative
and (especially) executive presidencies had a marked preference for shuffling the
people in cabinet and continuing to the end of term. If you feel the people should be
consulted when a government falls this is not a good thing.
A Canadian democracy without the monarchy would be a degraded democracy.
"Thanks for writing in. I respect your opinions on the matter
and your beliefs in what makes an effective democracy. This is clearly at odds with Jagmeet's opinions on the matter."
~Brian, Team Jagmeet
These new remarks are worrisome and completely change my
assessment of Mr. Singh's stance on the monarchy. And not
for the better.
A Kisaragi Colour