It is time to say “bye-bye” to the monarchy in Canada.
No, I'm not allergic to British institutions. In fact, I am a life member of the Queen's Privy Council and I am informed that as such, when the day comes, I will be entitled to participate in ceremonies in London marking her departure and commemorating her reign.
Very well, because I believe that this queen, Elizabeth II, is a truly remarkable person, worthy of her office and who deserves our respect. I also hope, despite her great personal qualities, that she will be the last person to occupy this antiquated role, at least as far as Canada is concerned.
When I met Her Majesty several years ago in London, I was introduced and told that I was from Quebec. She then spoke to me in French (and it was very good French).
A foreign tradition in Canada
Yes, I understand that many of the most progressive countries (think Sweden or the Netherlands) are monarchies. Very often this form of government creates more stability and that is part of the reason why it persists.
But Canada is first and foremost a democracy. The root of this word means "rule by the people". We decide. The people who govern us and make (and break) the laws should be chosen by us, not by chance birth into a royal family.
Canada has its own characteristics. A very great diversity is one of them. Today, people from all over the world share this territory with the descendants of the first peoples who have held it for millennia.
To say that no Quebecer or Canadian could ever be our head of state offends our self-esteem and, above all, keeps us subservient to a tradition and rules completely foreign to today's Canada.
No thanks, Charles and Camilla
It is by seeing the empty spectacle of Charles and Camilla on a royal visit that I realize this evidence: it is high time that we say “no thank you” to the monarchy in Canada.
Elizabeth II is already the longest-serving British monarch. His journey is as admirable as it is enduring. But I don't think I'm alone in saying that I can no longer bear the idea that Prince Charles will be the head of state of my country. It just doesn't cross my mind.
There are many things to improve in our institutions. When I was Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition in Ottawa, I presented a campaign platform that called for constitutional change to get rid of the Senate.
By what right, in fact, do non-elected people allow themselves, in a democracy, to make and unmake laws despite the opinion of the elected members of the House of Commons?
It's time to ask the same question about the monarchy depending on a foreign family to determine our head of state. It's totally absurd.
Repeal the monarchy and get rid of the unelected Senate.
This is a project to democratize our institutions that could rally the vast majority of Quebecers and Canadians, regardless of their origins.