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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!


Victoria – great name for my eldest kid, but not for a national holiday!

Here in Canada, the celebration of the birthday of a long dead and foreign Queen is more likely to be called the May 2-4 weekend, the May long weekend, cottage opening weekend or the “Holy shit, the blackflies are out” long weekend.

However you dice it, the three days away from the labours of labour are a welcome break for those of us that don’t slave away in jobs that really don’t get “breaks” like these… cops, firedudes, bartenders, hookers, etc.

And I, like everyone else, LOVE it! In fact, I’m taking an extra leave day tomorrow (Friday). The weather forecast is favourable to doing some much-needed lawn and garden work sans enfants et sans ma femme! I may even take a break and hit the gym too! A whole day to myself and then THREE more to boot!!!  Woo-ho!

But wait! What is that grumbly and gravely sound of discontent that is simmering just below my conscious glee? Oh yeah. I remember. I still get pissed with the fact that we have yet to find and agree upon a better occasion to celebrate other than a dead foreign Queen’s birthday! Plus, just look at her! If she was even a little bit hot or super smart or something, then maybe I’d ease up a bit. But just look at her!

vicYeah, yeah – I know a bunch of you neo-monarchists (ain’t that a contradiction?) are simply aghast that once again one of we republicans dare to mention foul things about the sacred monarchy – and only days from that special day itself! Oh, I feel my billowing petticoats singing in disaccord!

But c’mon. Get real. Get real as in 21st c. real.  Can we not celebrate something a little more, uh, Canadian for this most Canadian of days? Why do we and our elected representatives insist on avoiding this issue because we fear the wrath of the angered mobs of Monarchist League of Canada members riding their motorised scooters to Parliament Hill?

Aren’t they all or shouldn’t they be all dead by now?

I’ll answer by own question – no. They aren’t all dead and I know a couple of misguided souls who are sub-70 in years and who are simply enthralled by the pomp and ceremony that the monarchy offers.  I guess that might be a reason why catholics are attracted to the papacy… the white gowns, totally sick bling and totally pimped out cribs will do that to some folks.

Anyways, in the name of coming up with some more reasonable and less-dead things to attach to the weekend. And risking life and limb – I know – here are some suggestions… feel free to add and maybe I’ll compile a list and send it off to my MP.

o    National Hockey Day
o    National Blackfly Day
o    National Beer Day (after all – May 2-4 is the May 2-4)
o    National It’s Almost Spring in Manitoba Day
o    Pierre Elliott Trudeau Day (bet that would go over well in Red Deer!)
o    Cottage Opening Day