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. Sorry if I misunderstood. You’re post did provide room for interpretation.


    November 9, 2009 at 10:34 am

  2. I suppose it did.

    I was saying it is unfortunate that the media in the rest of Canada tends to focus on sensational stories and NOT on real Quebec stories. And because of that I find people don’t always get a proper picture of Quebec.

    As an Atlantic Canadian I’ve always felt welcome in Quebec. And I’ll always keep coming back.


    November 9, 2009 at 10:43 am

  3. My point is:

    No mather what people in the ROC will say about ALL quebekers, SOME of them still have the right to show the finger to their king-to-be.

    And as co-citizens of this country, people in the ROC should try to understand them – and accept it – without calling them names.


    November 9, 2009 at 2:12 pm

  4. I hope this makes sense:

    I support Charles’ decision to be in Quebec. I also support those who protest his decision to be in Quebec.

    He has a right to be in Quebec and Quebecers have a right to not want him.



    November 9, 2009 at 2:32 pm

  5. Show him the finger or give him a big hug!

    It’s all good.


    November 9, 2009 at 2:33 pm

  6. I truly salute you’re open mind, John.

    But unfortunately, you’re part of a minority in the ROC (regarding Quebec, that is) if what you said before is true:

    “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.”


    November 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm

  7. Just curious, what’s the significance of the Montreal 2009 T-Shirt?


    November 9, 2009 at 6:35 pm

  8. come on guys…”honi soit qui mal y pince.”…
    That was pretty good, no?


    November 9, 2009 at 8:50 pm

  9. yes edward – tellement.

    and a royal pain in the boot — i mean wellington of course.


    November 9, 2009 at 10:22 pm

  10. “come on guys…”honi soit qui mal y pince.”…
    That was pretty good, no?”

    Yeah, I must admit it did make me chuckle.


    November 9, 2009 at 10:33 pm

  11. Balthazar,

    Nothing wrong with protesting and speaking your mind.

    I don’t have to like it, but there is nothing invalid about telling the Queen where she can stick her crown, or voting Bloc, or voting Yes in a referendum.

    Speak your mind and if you feeling strongly about something say it loud! Even if it goes against the grain.


    November 10, 2009 at 10:47 am

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

    “visited” is the keyword here. Come live here for a year or two, and we’ll talk…

    “Nothing wrong with protesting and speaking your mind.”

    Amen to that.

    Let’s also let people protest against 101 without being hounded by language ideologues…


    November 10, 2009 at 12:30 pm

  13. The federal gov’t and the 10 provinces can’t even agree on what day it is. Since the current constitution requires unanimous approval of all provinces to any changes in the status of the monarchy, whether we like them or not, is totally immaterial.

    It is easier for Great Britain to abolish their own monarchy than it is for Canada to abolish the British monarch’s status in Canada. Another reason why the 1982 Trudeau constitution is a straightjacket that will one day come back to haunt us.


    November 10, 2009 at 2:09 pm

  14. Yes indeed Dave. PET knew the Constitution of 1982 would be his enduring legacy and he made damn sure the amending formula was air-tight.


    November 10, 2009 at 9:59 pm

  15. It is past time that the provinces and territories, except Quebec, hold a referendum on the question of whether Quebec should be removed from confederation.

    The sooner the frogs take their baguettes, wine, cirque du so-gay, pea soup, carnivale and all the rest of their whining, snivelling crap and piss off, the better Canada will be.


    November 11, 2009 at 5:26 am

  16. @Brit1: I think that the last clause of your second paragraph should read, “…, the sooner Canada will be part of the United States.” :-)


    November 11, 2009 at 6:28 am

  17. Mr./Ms. Anonymous,

    You’re right. As an outsider looking in I don’t know what life is like for an anglo in Quebec. Maybe I’m missing the point. I flirted with the idea in the early 90s, but a few weeks before the move I decided to stay home instead. :P


    November 11, 2009 at 7:31 am

  18. Our baguettes and wine, Brit1 !?!?

    I think you’re mixing up Quebec with some other country in Europe.


    November 11, 2009 at 10:49 am

  19. johnnyonline

    November 11, 2009 at 7:17 pm

  20. @johnny—yeah, but where do I start?

    “Canada is British because it’s French”—my college history teacher. Just as true today, I think, as during the Revolutionary War.


    November 11, 2009 at 11:02 pm

  21. shmoos and nogoodniks – bah, humbug!

    what knocks me out is how 5 versions of the same time, place, event or person can exist concurrently. or that a favoured version can be doomed to ignominy in the blink of an eye.

    tonite i read some perspectives from a (former) card-carrying communist who had been teaching english lit at potsdam prior to events in berlin 1989. he despised the collapse of his society and the deprivations that followed.

    am i so thick that i cannot comprehend why someone could possibly want to be “not” liberated?

    l’autre cote de la medaille short answer: yes.


    November 12, 2009 at 2:51 am

  22. “Our baguettes and wine, Brit1 !?!?

    I think you’re mixing up Quebec with some other country in Europe.”

    Well, I live in Quebec and I love baguettes and wine!

    And so do many Brits as well. If you’ve ever been to an hypermarché in Calais you would know this to be true.


    November 12, 2009 at 10:35 am

  23. I also live in Quebec and enjoy souvlakis, shish taouks, fajitas, not to mention some vodka and mojito!

    That said, I do not accept the racist stereotype that Brit1 said about people from Quebec in this one sentence:

    “The sooner the frogs take their baguettes, wine, cirque du so-gay, pea soup, carnivale and all the rest of their whining, snivelling crap and piss off, the better Canada will be.”

    My comment was simply trying to highlight he’s ignorance. But maybe it’s just irony that I did not get. I’m pretty new over here.


    November 12, 2009 at 2:50 pm

  24. Oh I’m sure Brit1 meant his comments in a positive way, and not in the whining, snivelling tea-and-crumpets way you think.


    November 12, 2009 at 9:35 pm

  25. Baguettes, pea soup and wine for supper.

    And a nice cup of tea and crumpets with jam for dessert.


    November 13, 2009 at 6:41 am

  26. I have my own bouts of Anglophilia myself (though I love a lot of cultures, so this isn’t really unique, I just find a lot of things to admire and choose to focus on the positive) however when you see links to articles by the Sun and then I even saw a rather disappointing editorial piece in the Times of London this week about the protests at Charles’s visit… it just is frustrating. I mean clearly the press enjoys muckraking, and what better than a sensational story about poor Charles being attacked by rabid Frogs, but come on.

    Especially when, if any of these people took the time to try and read a Francophone paper (yeah right…) they’d have found that most people in Québec, surprise surprise, didn’t even care about the royal visit.

    And it’s not even along linguistic lines either. None of my Anglophone friends, most of English stock no less, could even muster up any enthusiasm.

    The attitude of most people in Québec was more of indifference. I don’t think that would be as fun of a story for English language papers to write though… So better to promote the views of 100 people as representing all French Canadians.

    Nothing surprises me anymore. I just get annoyed by ignorance in general. At least make an effort to not stereotype and educate yourself on a culture and people different from yourself.

    But it’s easier to just continue with the lame clichés. Especially the ones that always seem to involve Céline Dion being the only thing to come out of the province. Jesus christ that’s getting old.


    November 14, 2009 at 2:51 am

  27. I think we should all take this opportunity to wish our future king a happy 61st birthday.



    November 14, 2009 at 7:16 am

  28. I think he should take a well-deserved day off from his difficult job of spending taxpayer money on ridiculous costumes and polo horses (perhaps spend the day in the Lady Consort’s knickers which he appears to consider a kind of get-away).

    Happy Birthday Chuck, and thanks for everything you’ve done for us. Your enormous sacrifice has not gone unnoticed.


    November 14, 2009 at 10:56 am

  29. Raphael,

    I agree with you that William Shatner doesn’t get nearly enough attention.


    November 14, 2009 at 11:11 am

  30. Yeah, that was a pretty expensive visit. I hope he put in some. :P


    November 14, 2009 at 12:01 pm

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