Friday, January 6, 2012

The Monarchy Question as a Novelty

The media is a bit abuzz over the proposed resolution proposed by the Young Liberals coming up this January at the Biennial Convention to sever Canada's ties with the monarchy.

Now, this is mostly an abstract question because, let's face it, the monarchy is never a big part of our lives. Most Canadians either don't care or don't invest too much of their time in the antiquated traditions of our political system relating back to the authority of the British Crown. Unlike similar countries to ours, such as Australia, none of our major political parties since the early 20th Century has invested itself in the question of whether or not our ties to the monarchy should stay. Indeed, in Australia all major parties - Labor, the Liberal/National Coalition, and the Greens - have either the entire party or influential figures within the party supporting republicanism, which culminated in the 1999 referendum. It's somewhat similar in close-by New Zealand.

In Canada, we've done some polling on the subject. The HuffPo article even points towards an Angus Reid poll which stated that some third of Canadians feel we should sever ties to the monarchy (58% disagree), granted just on the even of the visit by William and Kate. The better question (in my opinion) is whether to replace the positions of Governor General and so, which the split is 40% agree and 48% disagree.

But even so, 44% of respondents to that poll stated they were "indifferent." And here we come up against a wall as we move towards this resolution. Not only does it seem that, in general, mostly Canadians are against the proposed change, but that right now they don't really care.

The question for Liberals is, are we prepared to draw attention to the issue of the monarchy, by which if that resolution passed we'd probably be on the wrong side of the tracks at the outset, and potentially make ourselves vulnerable? In other words, is it really something that we want to present to Canadians, wake them up on the issue, and face a probable blow back as people who may otherwise consider voting Liberal decide not to because we inexplicably became anti-monarchists?

Don't get me wrong, I think there is a debate worth having on the issue. I'm more or less a status-quo, as most Canadians seem to be. But is it worth the risk to throw the issue out at Canadians when they don't care? We can't become a novelty party, like the Bloc and its separatism. And this, frankly, is just a novelty issue in our political system.

7 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Is there not a more important issue in this country to take to this upcoming convention other than the Monarchy? An issue such as the fact, one in ten young people in this country are poor. This Monarchy thing seems so mundane as to be disturbing. Why is it, we cannot get to what is really at issue in Canada and stop presenting points leading to a non-decision. Discussion regarding the Monarchy is time, effort and money wasted. Besides...how much money does the Monarchy cost us??? And, how much money do we spend on the perils of poor people in this country???

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  3. "Is there not a more important issue in this country to take to this upcoming convention other than the Monarchy? An issue such as the fact, one in ten young people in this country are poor."


    Good god, what a bad argument.


    Just as people can walk and chew gum and the same time so can political parties so too can political parties debate more than one policy at a political convention. By the way, I can assure you that the 10% figure you cited is absurdly low. Unemployment among Canadians between 18-25 is well over 10% and then you can factor in a large number of university students who are not looking for employing and so not counted as being unemployed.


    As for the matter at hand, of course, Canada should dump the monarchy. The monarchy is the antithesis of everything the Liberal party supposedly stands for. As the Conservatives understand and the Liberals, who are too busy polling for policy, clearly do not, symbolic intuitions and symbolism, generally, matter.

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    1. Any sympathy I had for the monarchy ended when Joffrey had Ned Stark beheaded.

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  4. Koby: You plead my case by admitting my figures are off and much higher regarding poor children in a country as wealthy as Canada. The example was just that, an example. How about these: Drugs and young people; Poor children in Canada; Young people and guns reference: the recent murders in Alberta; Native young people and education. Alchohol abuse among young people....just to name a few.

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  5. By the way Koby: Read Curiosity Cat...a few more for consideration.

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