Canada’s Head of State should be Canadian.

Recently, the Globe and Mail published an editorial recommending that the British Monarch remain Head of State in Canada, after the current Queen croaks.  I sent the following letter in response.  It was not published, but I still think the point needs to be made.

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There are many reasons to praise our constitutional system of government, but tolerating a foreign monarch is not one of them. Regardless of the Globe’s cute “monarch extra-light” rationale, for the moment the titular Head of State of Canada is a foreign national, a person whose heritage and history represents neither our indigenous peoples, nor all of our ‘founding nations’, nor the myriad ethnicities of the immigrants who have enriched our nation. The Head of State should embody our national heritage, values and aspirations; this is something a foreign non-resident monarch cannot possibly do and something an appointed surrogate can only do by proxy. We do not need a ‘fake’ Head of State, cloaked in abstractions and noble lies. Our Head of State should be Canadian.

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There is scope for discussion on how Canadians would select a Head of State, and for how long that individual would serve.  I would favour a term limit for the office holder, something like five, seven or ten years.  On balance, I don’t think the Prime Minister should select the Head of State.  Perhaps the Privy Council Office could prepare a vetted short list, and some body of august individuals – perhaps companions of the Order of Canada – could make the final choice.

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