Justin Trudeau attended a
youth forum in Toronto where
he was asked about the value of
Canada being a monarchy. His
answer raises some questions.
the relevant section starting at the one hour mark: "What are
your thoughts on monarchy? And also, do you see us freeing
ourselves from paying the English Royal Family taxes in the
future?" Now, this is pedantic but since it comes up so much
I will again note that there is no 'English Royal Family' as
there is no government of England for there to be a royal
family of. It would be more correct to say the 'British Royal
Family', or even the 'Jamaican Royal Family', but in the
Canadian context it is most correct to say the 'Canadian Royal
Family' or simply the 'Royal Family' (since I think most
people will get what you mean). If I were a bit more cynical I
would assume the question is framed this way to deny the
Royal Family's legitimacy as a Canadian institution or to
imply it only matters to one of Canada's ethnic groups. But I
Trudeau's answer goes off the rails immediately, however.
"Canadians pay minimal amounts to the British Monarchy.
When the Queen is here she becomes the Queen of Canada
and there are costs associated with that." As I was about to
facepalm at the reference to paying taxes to the British
Monarchy Trudeau goes a step further and states that the
Queen somehow only becomes Queen of Canada when she is
here. That is false and Trudeau ought to know it is false. But
I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt since its the
last question of an hour-long Q&A session. He does point out
that he doesn't think eliminating the monarchy is an effective
cost saving measure. Ok, that answer was a little rough
around the edges but he might do better as he goes on.
"The question needs to be; do we need to eliminate the
monarchy from Canada in order to succeed more as a
country? Is the monarchy holding us back in things we
would like to do but are unable to do and succeed as a
country?" He then answers that he is a pragmatic in that he
doesn't see what benefits having a Canadian-born head of
state would bring. He then goes into the more standard
argument that having a head of state that does not involve
themselves politically is a good thing. He touches on how the monarchy's setup today is a tradition going back 150 years
and if we started up a new country today called Canada we
might choose to not have a head of state that lives in a
different country (interestingly he doesn't say he believes we
wouldn't choose to have a monarchy again).
"It isn't harming us or preventing our success." If you want to
listen to the full answer Justin Trudeau gave the link is at the
top of the article. Lets be clear, his answer was an argument
for Canada remaining a monarchy and I will give him credit
for that. But as the Monarchist League of Canada has
pointed out Trudeau seemed to rely more on negative
arguments for the monarchy's defence (ie. arguing against
change rather than arguing for monarchy in its own right).
This is unfortunate as there are a lot of positive arguments for
monarchy. People have made those arguments. Prominent Canadians have made those arguments throughout our
history. It shouldn't be too much to expect our prime minister
to be able to make a positive case for not only keeping our
monarchy but celebrating it.
Perhaps more worrying is his final statements that future
leaders might decide to ending the monarchy is important. If
he made that statement at any other event I wouldn't raise an
eyebrow. But this was a youth forum which presumably has
those future leaders Trudeau was referring to. Was this
statement added in to encourage them to pursue this? I don't
know but the Prime Minister's answers should raise concern.
A Kisaragi Colour