Trent: How Canada Can Evolve into a Constitutional Democracy

This is a rare opportunity for Canadians to decide the future of the political hierarchy. Do they want to continue their ‘rule’ from Britain, or do they want a Canadian head of state?

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In a recent Ipsos poll, 54% of those polled agreed it was time to end the British monarchy in Canada. I think the majority are correct. It’s time to transition from a constitutional monarchy to a constitutional democracy. Please tell me why and how.

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This is a rare opportunity for Canadians to decide the future of the political hierarchy. Do they want to continue their ‘rule’ from England, or do they want a Canadian head of state? I choose Canadians.

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First, let me make the case. This is about organization, not personality. Not whether we admire Charles. It’s about the billboard of Canadian democracy.

The British monarch as head of state no longer reflects Canada’s democracy, sovereignty, or ethnic diversity. How can a new citizen understand Canada when asked to pledge allegiance to someone from Britain? Using the British monarch as head of state inhibits the positive development of a Canadian identity. As the Constitutional Committee of the Canadian Bar Association reported in 1979, “In our opinion, if we want to promote confidence, pride, and a sense of belonging throughout this nation, the head of state should be a Canadian.” should.”

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We need Canadian representatives who represent Canada’s bilingual and multicultural character, serve as models for young people, and project Canadian values ​​on the international stage.

The British monarch should remain the titular head of the Commonwealth of Nations, and Canada will remain a principal member of it. The Royal Family may continue to be invited to visit Canada.

But the governor should be our head of state. This stunning and descriptive title has become part of Canadian tradition. In both written constitution and custom, all royal rights in Canada were transferred to the governor-general, avoiding undermining debate about their definition.

It is politically useful to maintain a separate body of ‘head of state’, separate from the prime minister’s position as ‘head of government’. The head of state also performs other functions such as: Appoint a new prime minister at a time of political ambiguity. Free the prime minister from many ceremonial duties. It serves as both a “humble presence” and a Prime Minister’s soundboard. And remind citizens that there are conditions that persist even if the parties in power don’t like them. Advantageously, the term of office is relatively long, for example he is five years, but renewable only once. Experience, knowledge and wisdom matter.

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the new governor No be elected; it would create overlap and conflict between the duties of governor-general and prime minister.

As a Toronto newspaper once suggested, the officers of the Order of Canada may serve as a nominating committee to develop a short list of candidates. and add benefits. T.Candidate lists for Canadian Presidential Orders must be submitted to the Electoral College. It is a joint federal and state electoral group consisting of members of Congress and state legislators. The final Governor-General will require ratification by her two-thirds of this group to ensure as much as possible all-party approval.

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Let us call this new regime a “constitutional democracy” rather than a “republic”. This underscores our tradition of trying to balance the constitutional protections of “peace, order and good government” with mass democracy “by the people.”

Before we reach this regime change, we as a country need to consider the details. That would require a national learning process. The government should appoint a special commission to investigate and clarify the matter.

Canadian leaders should discuss these possibilities. Neither their policies nor their ideologies are in jeopardy. The issue can be discussed without being “political”, as I do here.

Some have suggested that the constitutional amendment process would be too long, complicated, and mean-spirited. But it doesn’t have to be. We are asking political leaders that they ask a neutral body, such as the Royal Society, to provide the name of a panel of experts to deal with this issue, and implement its recommendations. to agree with that. Again, there is absolutely no need to politicize this issue.

Ultimately, we will be a true government for and by Canadians.

John E. Trent is a former Professor of Political Science at the University of Ottawa and former Executive Director of the International Political Association. He is a Senior Fellow at the University of Ottawa Center for Governance.

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Trent: How Canada Can Evolve into a Constitutional Democracy

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