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. Yawn.

    Write another Bill 104 editorial

    Tony Kondaks

    November 5, 2009 at 7:02 pm

  2. Why the heck would they want you :))) Aren’t they all supposed to be hardcore anti-French bigots hellbent on asssimilation?;)


    November 5, 2009 at 7:24 pm

  3. Bonne chance avec cette ecriture…AFG.

    Essayez un nouveau…avec un autre sujet.


    November 5, 2009 at 10:03 pm

  4. Plutôt d’accord avec ce billet. J’imagine t’as déjà lu Burke.

    Pas tout à fait évident comment bâtir le système de gouvernement d’un Québec souverain. Qui en a déjà pensé vraiment? A part Daniel Turp… en fait j’imagine il y a quelques articles quelque part par Alain-G. Gagnon, genre.


    November 5, 2009 at 10:58 pm

  5. I don’t really see the point… The monarchy is nothing more than a symbol that people (at least in Quebec) don’t want. An independent Quebec could certainly keep the exact same political system with a “president” as head of state with exactly the same duties and selected the same way as the current governor general (which means that he would have no more democratic legitimacy either). That might in fact be the least controversial proposal–merely keeping the symbol of the monarchy would get a lot of people up in arms pointlessly.


    November 6, 2009 at 12:27 am

  6. “Plutôt d’accord avec ce billet. J’imagine t’as déjà lu Burke.”

    Tres simplemant, le systeme du france..que dont vous aimez beaucoupe. non? Apres tout, vous avez la meme langue, le valeurs de culture, pour quoi pas. Vous pouvez appelez Sarkozy comme chef du state dans le nouveau natione. Une replacment pour le monarchiste du le prince des le anglos. :)


    November 6, 2009 at 12:36 am

  7. “That might in fact be the least controversial proposal–merely keeping the symbol of the monarchy would get a lot of people up in arms pointlessly”

    April fools doesnt come until the spring. You can’t be taking this as a serious topic?


    November 6, 2009 at 12:42 am

  8. if nothing is serious then everything can be considered serious.


    it becomes more difficult with each posting to take anything seriously.

    the king is dead. long live the king.


    November 6, 2009 at 2:13 am

  9. I dunno if your fellow Quebecers would agree, but I’d say you are right. Considering the amount of ‘turbulence’ this would cause and the number of lobsters being thrown in the pot, one of the last things to be considered is the monarchy.

    Mind you I’m no expert on this so perhaps our head of state needs to be at the top of the list simply for legal reasons.


    November 6, 2009 at 7:44 am

  10. And speaking of lobsters, Jacques “By Jove” Parizeau once opined that a sovereign Quebec might very well be part of the Commonwealth, though I am not sure he went so far as to say it would retain the Queen.

    In any event, retaining the British monarchy is not a requirement for being part of the Commonwealth, and many countries with republican systems are members.


    November 6, 2009 at 9:48 am

  11. Yeah, I don’t believe Parizeau ever went that far. And considering the US and even France are both eligible to join the Commonwealth it’s certainly plausible that a separate Quebec would choose to be a member.


    November 6, 2009 at 10:09 am

  12. I would actually be surprised if Parizeau did not want the Queen retained in an independent Quebec.

    Indeed, if it were up to him, Quebec would retain all things British as Parizeau is a well-known anglophile (why do you think he has dressed like an English country gentleman for the past 35 years?).

    Tony Kondaks

    November 6, 2009 at 12:18 pm

  13. The reason I don’t like “big ears” here is because the man is a complete idiot. Have you seen some of the total nonsense this guy believes in? What a first-class moron!


    November 6, 2009 at 2:11 pm

  14. Great article. Merci et vive la Reine!


    November 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm

  15. Marc writes:

    Have you seen some of the total nonsense this guy believes in? What a first-class moron!

    …have to agree with him on that one…

    Tony Kondaks

    November 6, 2009 at 3:01 pm

  16. “May the oecumenical spiritual being save the symbolic head of State!”


    Pure Laine

    November 6, 2009 at 5:17 pm

  17. Hmm, these people don’t think too much of Charles.

    Wonder how many Patrick B will get out to this rally. Only 75 or so last time at Tyler’s law office over having turned bill 104 back.


    November 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm

  18. I like the idea of electing a new monarch.
    I nominate Celine Dion.
    She’s just like Lady Diana would have been (loves children and looks good in heels).

    She could open each parliamentary session with a rendition of the new national anthem (which I assume will be either “Gens du Pays” or more ironically “Mon Pays” by Vignault) wearing sequins. The costs of installing a disco ball in the National Assembly Hall would be minimal.


    November 7, 2009 at 11:30 am

  19. Plus, for what we pay in taxes to maintain the Monarchy, we ought to get to see a little leg.


    November 7, 2009 at 11:41 am

  20. …and believe it or not both Celine Dion and Camilla Parker-Bowles are descended from the same French-Canadian Zacharie Cloutier (1617-1708).


    November 7, 2009 at 11:45 am

  21. I nominate Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings.


    November 7, 2009 at 11:49 am

  22. edit: they can fight over who gets to be King Consort :P


    November 7, 2009 at 11:50 am

  23. good morning edward – good to see you’re “en pleine forme.”


    November 7, 2009 at 11:53 am

  24. on a sombre note:

    just a little reminder that monday is the 20th anniversary of the “tearing down” of the berlin wall.

    and that wednesday is the day to remember all who gave their lives protecting freedom.


    November 7, 2009 at 1:25 pm

  25. Hello Johnny,

    I’ll gladly join you in a “prosit” to the fall of the Mauer.

    I will also mourn those whose lives were taken from them in the name of “defending freedom”.

    We should take these opportunities to periodically question what is being sold to us as “freedom” and what is being sold to us as “oppression”. Quebec is one of those perfect examples where one man’s oppression is another man’s freedom. It is so obvious, regardless of one’s political bias, that the idea of sacrificing human lives for the cause seems inconceivable. Yet we throw our children into Afghanistan with an inexcusable conviction.

    Perhaps the question we should ask ourselves on these occasions is “Is the benefit I will receive worth the hardship I will impose?” If we are told that there is no hardship or if we are handed marketing slogans like “Freedom isn’t free” then we need to do a bit more research.

    Peace & Poppies.


    November 8, 2009 at 11:20 am

  26. James

    November 8, 2009 at 4:05 pm

  27. Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings….

    The Lady of the Lake and Excalibur can be replaced with a death match of Guitar Hero.

    “Honi soit qui mal y pince”


    November 8, 2009 at 4:30 pm

  28. Or just a regular old death match. I’d pay for admission.

    But at any rate….I’m certainly no monarchist, but I am happy to see Charles didn’t give in to the protesters’ pressures. He’s likely going to be our head of state and here in 2009 Quebec is part of Canada. So good on him for making a visit.

    What’s unfortunate is this is the face of Quebec in the rest of Canada. If and when the protesters show up it’ll be seen in the rest of Canada as 7 million people being dickheads rather than just a few doing what they have the right to do. And I’m sure the CBC forums will go mad.

    You know, when was the last time we saw a nice feel good story about Quebec? A nice tale of John and Sally Smith from Calgary enjoying their summer holiday in Quebec City. And they enjoyed it so much that they went back with the kids for a ski trip to mont ste-anne. Nothing about silly political or language issues.

    Nope, all we hear about is protesting a battle re-enacment or a child being booted off the bus in eastern Montreal.


    Really, I’ve visited Quebec on numerous occasions and aside from a few arseholes I’ve always left very happy.


    November 9, 2009 at 9:17 am

  29. John has the merit to explaine us how public opinion in the ROC works towards Quebec:

    Behave, be quite and be docile… and the ROC will even pay a visit to his “Belle province”.

    But if SOME of you protest and if you dare smear our canadian symbols, then we will just call ALL 7 millions of you dickheads. (With the help of the CBC).

    So if I’m from Quebec and don’t want royalty in Canada, I have no choice than to accept it. Otherwise, I’ll be called a dickhead by my fellow canadian citizens.

    Wow, I really feel loved and part of this country, now.


    November 9, 2009 at 10:08 am

  30. Balthazar,

    I don’t think that’s what I said.


    November 9, 2009 at 10:22 am

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