Canada: Quebec Sovereigntists' Motion to Cut Ties With British Monarchy Fails

On Wednesday, lawmakers rejected a motion by the Bloc Québécois party to end Canada's relationship with the British monarchy following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III, now the ceremonial "head of state" of the North American country.

Canada: Quebec Sovereigntists' Motion to Cut Ties With British Monarchy Fails
Image credit: Markus Spiske / Unsplash

Facts

  • On Wednesday, lawmakers rejected a motion by the Bloc Québécois party to end Canada's relationship with the British monarchy following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III, now the ceremonial "head of state" of the North American country.
  • Although the constitutional monarchy serves a largely symbolic role in the Canadian system as the country's government is entirely autonomous, the beginning of the new monarch's reign this year has renewed debate about the sovereignty of nations in the Commonwealth.
  • The calls to remove the monarch as head of state come as, in a recent swearing-in session in Quebec's provincial legislature, 14 newly-elected politicians refused to recite the oath of allegiance to Charles III — something required by law to become part of the official body.
  • Yves-François Blanchet, the Bloc party's leader, tabled the motion on Tuesday. "It's archaic," Blanchet told Canadian politicians of UK royalty's ongoing role, "It's almost archeological."
  • Although Canada is split on its relationship with British royalty, many Quebecers support provincial republicanism over constitutional monarchy. Despite two referendums that saw Quebecers reject independence, many have continued to push to distinguish the region from English Canada.
  • To cut ties with British royalty, Canada would need to amend the constitution, which would require the support of all 10 provincial legislatures and both houses of parliament. Canada was colonized by Britain in the late 1500s and continued to be part of its empire until 40 years ago.

Sources: Independent, BBC News, Guardian, Yahoo! News, and Reuters.

Narratives

  • Left narrative, as provided by The Guardian. Blanchet's motion is evidence of the weakness of the Commonwealth in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II's death. The constitutional restraints imposed on British monarchs mean the institution is perpetually antiquated and that Charles III is unable to move politics in a progressive direction in the UK, let alone abroad. Dissolution is now lapping against the shores of the UK.
  • Right narrative, as provided by The Telegraph. The accession of Charles III is an opportunity to further strengthen the commonwealth. This international union has the opportunity to redefine itself and carve out new purposes by appointing professionals to help members deal with domestic problems and by turning itself into an economic entity. Leadership from the UK can facilitate the development of the Commonwealth into an enforcer of a rules-based international system — something crucially needed in an era of authoritarian regimes ambitious to expand.

Predictions