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November 11th, 2009:

The cost of maintaining a charade

I have commented a couple of times about Canada’s attachment to the archaic institution that is the monarchy of the United Kingdom.

The Ottawa Citizen says that:

Canadians pay about $50 million a year — about $1.53 per person — to maintain the monarchy, a figure on a par with the $1.43 we pay for the National Gallery of Canada, and significantly less that the $2.45 each shells out to keep the Senate warm.

Robert Finch, the Dominion chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada, argues that the monarchy brings political stability to Canada.

“It’s an institution that has given us a good system of government for generations and also provides us a symbolic sense of unity. That national unity and political stability that comes with it should be reason enough alone to want to maintain it.”

Finch points to last year’s parliamentary stalemate — when the Governor General agreed to Prime Minister Harper’s request to prorogue Parliament rather than allow a coalition of Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Québécois govern.

“Having that non-partisan head of state in the Queen, represented by the Governor General, was kind of like a neutral referee,” he says. “That’s the perfect textbook example of a monarchy working. The system stood the test.”

Finch calls this figure “peanuts” and “a drop in the bucket.”

“I’m a tax-paying citizen as well,” he says, “and we always begrudge spending money, but $50 million is not a lot.

It is often misleading to break down large expenditures to a per capita number. It is used primarily to either control for population – like what you see in solid waste stats, for instance, or to diminish the importance of a given number.

But I don’t know about you, but $50 million is not exactly “peanuts”, as the Monarchist League fellow claims. Figgering $200 K a unit, that money would set up 250 low-income houses. It would set up thousands of Canadian kids with hockey equipment. It would feed thousands of hungry families for a year.

The list goes on.

Finch crows with pleasure while stating that last year’s parliamentary crisis was a perfect example of the usefulness of the monarchy.

Poppycock! Any duly elected parliamentary president could have served the same function. And at a far lower cost than the 50 mill that the monarchy is costing us! In any case, having an appointed representative of a foreign monarch making critical, nation-changing decisions spits in the face of democracy.

Charles and the royal consort have met with some opposition during their visit here over the past couple of weeks.  And while I despise the Bloq and the separatists with every thread of my soul, their anti-monarchist statements ring true…. though I’m disgusted by the egg throwing and general rowdiness.

Maybe we Canucks will someday cut this cord to a bygone time. But I doubt it will happen in my lifetime. In the meantime:

Long Live the Republic of Canada!