Prince Charles, Quebec and Separatist Monarchists

with 74 comments

Prince Charles in Quebec

As the Who’s Who of Québec separatistati is getting ready for what promises to be the gala event of this year’s season:  the November 10th demonstrations against the Montréal visit of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Parker-Bowles, I have a confession to make:

I am not a republican.

Now, no citizen of the Commonwealth should deny him or herself the delightfully anachronistic privilege of demanding the head of their king (in waiting) from the safety of a carefully cordoned off perimeter protected by the police,  and hereditary monarchy certainly is one of the most retarded institutions of 21st century politics, no argument here.

But I believe an independent Québec should keep the Queen (or Chuck or that other kid) as head of state, at least for a while.  Not for their own sake, but for the sake of political stability and the British parliamentary system.

Québec has been governed according to the rules of the Westminster system since 1791, way before Australia, New Zealand, or modern Scotland or Ulster ever got their own parliaments.  The British parliamentary system is the only one people in Québec have ever known and I see no reason why Québec should be in any rush to get rid of it.

It might not be the best system out there, what with the confusion between the legislative and executive branches of government and the uselessness of MPs (We call ’em Members of the National Assembly in Québec) who are told what to vote by the whip.  But that said, it also has the sturdy robustness of a 1973 Buick Regal and there is that very healthy tradition of letting opposition parties yell at the government for 45 minutes on Tuesday afternoons.

The thing is, the British parliamentary system need a head of State who is not the Prime minister and if Québec became a Republic, who would get that job?

Now, the Head of State does not absolutely have to be a King or Queen.  India is a republic that kept a version of the British system.  Québec could elect some sort of honorific president as Head of State like Israël or, say, Russia, but electing someone might give that person the impression that they have the legitimacy to use the powers technically theirs under the constitution and those powers are pretty awesome.

Alternatively we could nominate a king or president like we nominate the governor-general, but then he or she would be so weak that governments would feel entitled to push them around.

Only the Windsors have both a centuries old tradition of protecting the stability of the governments under their dominion and a well established irrelevance that makes it impossible for them to actually use any of their powers.

I know there’s few people on my team who feel the same way I do. Most of my peeps are really into massive reforms of the Québec democratic system and things like public initiative referenda, proportional representation, fixed-date, state-funded, two-round elections.

That’s all good, but you and I know it would be a disaster.  People are still confused about the three ballots—one to elect a Mayor, one for the borough mayor and one for a city councilor—in last Monday’s municipal election in Montréal.  Try to explaining to them the subtleties of a German-style hybrid system and party lists.  No fun at all.

I also think that in the context of change and confusion—I believe the dear leader called it turbulence—that would inevitably follow Québec’s accession to the concert of free and independent nations, it wouldn’t hurt, if only from a public relations point of view, to maintain it’s ties to the Commonwealth and the monarchy who would then be obligated to stand up and protect their brother State.

That and we would also be able to reassure nervous investors by showing them the face of Queen Elisabeth (or King Charles) on the 20 piastre note.

May the oecumenical spiritual being save the symbolic head of State!

Written by angryfrenchguy

November 5, 2009 at 5:39 pm

74 Responses

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  1. Acajack,

    I could not care less what cultural minutiae may or may not attend the “Quebecois” experience.

    I am profoundly serious when I assert that my view is by no means uncommon in the rest of Canada; when Quebecers aren’t threatening to separate they are busy crawling on bended knee to Ottawa to get more than their share of transfer payments, while simultaneously shaking their fists at their evil Anglo oppressors. I am going to make a donation to the PQ in the hope that they may form the next provincial government and finally get Quebec out of confederation. When that day finally arrives, I will declare: Good riddance to bad rubbish. Vive le Quebec Libre!


    November 15, 2009 at 1:15 am

  2. Il a bien appris son mantra


    November 15, 2009 at 1:33 am

  3. jacqsminuit

    your aphorism cuts both ways.


    November 15, 2009 at 8:58 pm

  4. Brit1, you’re right that is quite a common perception of Quebec. But when was the last time we saw Charest making demands, on his knees AND shaking his fist all at the same time? Either literally or figuratively?


    November 16, 2009 at 8:01 am

  5. Le système n’est pas parfait, mais au moins il est simple, fonctionnel et on sait le résultat des élections le soir même. Au U.S. c’est tellement complexe que dans certains cas qu’on a vu, ça peut prendre des semaines…

    Quand aux protestataires, c’est une belle brochette d’idiots. Si ça aurait été une noblesse française (si ça existait encore) ils aurait mouillés leur culottes. Il n’ont protesté que par haine de tout ce qui est anglais.

    Christian Rioux

    November 16, 2009 at 10:41 am

  6. Brit1: “I could not care less what cultural minutiae may or may not attend the “Quebecois” experience.”

    Well, you’re the one who brought it up, so don’t get your knickers in a knot over it!


    November 16, 2009 at 4:19 pm

  7. My “knickers” remain unknotted! Nonetheless, I alluded to certain perceptions of Quebec, and Quebeckers, to make the point that perception is reality in matters of this kind. The enmity that has long existed between a large segment of Quebec and the rest of Canada continues unabated as evidenced by Jacques Parizeau’s reemergence and the recent hooliganism attending the royal visit. Therefore, it is quite clear that it is past time that Quebec be exorcised from this dominion.


    November 16, 2009 at 10:35 pm

  8. I don’t want to buy this boring duceppe t-shirt. Have realised that ‘angry french guy’ is a BQ ideological department project.


    November 18, 2009 at 10:56 pm

  9. “Brit 1

    you make a good point about perceptions being reality in these matters. The fact is that about 100 out of 7.5 million Quebecers actually cared enough about the British monarchy to bother showing up. If your calculator can figure out what infinitessimal proportion of the population actually gives a damn about such matters ( mine goes off the chart at 7 demicals) you will begin to understand just how ridiculously exagerated your comments are.

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for the groundswell of opinion wanting to kick Quebec out of Canada.


    November 20, 2009 at 12:06 pm

  10. “Don’t hold your breath waiting for the groundswell of opinion wanting to kick Quebec out of Canada”

    They are free to go…They just can’t make up their minds on the issue as to what is better for them.


    November 20, 2009 at 9:27 pm

  11. …is this blog dead?

    Jimbo Larue

    November 21, 2009 at 9:02 am

  12. Jimbo:

    The blog isn’t dead, just this thread.

    Most of us are still commenting on “Bill 104: the Supremes got it right” which is two threads ago.

    Tony Kondaks

    November 21, 2009 at 10:31 am

  13. Dave,
    You sre dead wrong! Try driving through Toronto, or better yet Alberta, with a Quebec license plate…keep your head down if you know what’s good for you.

    As Mr. Dylan’s song says it so well, “The times they are a changing” and tolerance for Quebec is gradually but perceptibly diminishing in Real Canada.


    December 7, 2009 at 10:42 am

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