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!

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7 Comments to “The cost of maintaining a charade”

  1. “And at a far lower cost than the 50 mill that the monarchy is costing us!”

    Considering the activities currently undertaken by the gov-gen & LGs would likely continue under a republican system of government there does not appear to be any savings there.

    The salary of the gov-gen is $283,300. The PM has a total salary of $327,400. Checking a selection of presidents and prime ministers/chancellors in Europe didn’t give a clear case for salaries being less for an elected/appointed president. France(executive): both paid the same salary. Germany(ceremonial): president is paid $3000 less than chancellor. Ireland(ceremonial): president is paid nearly double the PMs salary.

    So with the duties carried out likely to remain and it being very unclear why the GGs salary would suddenly drop under a presidential regime I’d ask where your evidence is a presidency would cost less.

  2. One other issue about the GG that is seldom brought up. The GG is *supposed* to be a non-partisan, but when has that been the case in the last 60 years? The GG is appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the prime minister. Traditionally, the prime minister picks party faithful (Ray Hnatyshyn, for example, was a flaming Tory, Jeanne Sauve was Liberal IIRC, as was Adrienne Clarkson). Our GG may be non-partisan on paper, but in practice the position is steeped in party politics.

    On the strength of that alone we should abolish it.

    • “Our GG may be non-partisan on paper, but in practice the position is steeped in party politics.”

      This is one of the reasons the creation of the Advisory Committee on Vice-Regal Appointments is so important. The committee is comprised of:
      -the Canadian Secretary to the Queen (presently Kevin MacLeod)
      -two permanent federal delegates,
      –one Anglophone (presently Robert Watt, citizenship judge and former Chief Herald of Canada) and,
      –one Francophone (presently Jacques Monet, constitutional scholar and member of the Canadian Institute of Jesuit Studies)
      -A representative from the Office of the Prime Minister acts as an observer only.

      For the appointment of a lieutenant governor or commissioner, two additional members drawn from the relevant province or territory are be temporarily added as members; A representative from the Office of the Prime Minister acts as an observer only.

      The committee creates a short list and the PM selects the final recommendation. I’d like to see the entire shortlist go directly to the Queen but I’ll take improvements where I can get them.

  3. re: Olympics

    That’s a phenomenal waste of money that serves no useful purpose to Canada whatsoever beyond what amounts to a two-minute national orgasm and proverbial cigarette. For that matter, with 30 million people in the country and at $100 a pop, you could hire 30 million hookers, give EVERY Canadian that orgasm still save half the money.

    re: Senate

    Think what you want about it, I feel a bicameral parliament is necessary in a country as geographically diverse as Canada. Representation by population is good (it would be better if we actually HAD representation by population) but since Canada’s population is concentrated mostly in Ontario, do we really want Torontonians calling all the shots? The way to get around that is representation by region – hence the Senate. It serves the same purpose in the USA.

    Now, it would be a LOT nicer if those chair warmers were elected…

    re: Monarchy

    A quaint relic of our past. We’re long overdue for following in the steps of the former colonists to the south: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofYmhlclqr4

  4. XUP says:

    $50 M is a drop in the bucket compared to all the other foolish money being spent in this country. Do I need to mention $6 BILLION for the Olympics?

  5. trashee says:

    Not again!!!! Yikes!

  6. Ken says:

    Just think… we could gain back $4 per person if we scrapped both the Senate and the Monarchy.

    That would be awesome. Less taxes being paid by everyone, or, as you suggested, plough that money back into the economy by building houses. The hockey equipment… not so much, though. People need housing & food… padding & helmets can be bought by the parents.

    Anyway… you must be making sense, Trashy – I’m agreeing with you again 😉

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