On the occasion of Her Majesty’s diamond jubilee, this newspaper would like to thank Elizabeth Windsor for her decades of service as Canada’s head of state – sincerely – but her services will no longer be required.
We have no illusions: the monarchy has plenty of supporters in Canada, and plenty of supporters among our readers. There are practical and historical reasons to maintain Britain’s monarch as our country’s titular leader. But there is one overwhelmingly powerful reason to make the change to a republic.
At the risk of being blunt, it should offend every believer in freedom, democracy and enterprise that we have a hereditary leader.
“She’s just a symbol, though. She doesn’t have actual power. It’s the Queen that leads us, not Ms. Windsor.”
Except symbols either matter or they don’t. If the symbol of monarchy doesn’t matter, then monarchists won’t mind if we dethrone the Queen. If symbols do matter, then it’s valid to challenge what they stand for.
The Queen stands for centuries of tradition and a long history of English-speaking peoples – none of which changes if, in 2012, we open a new chapter and move forward without the Queen. History books won’t be rewritten, and the proud moments – and ugly – will still have taken place.
But the monarchy also stands for one person being better than another because of their bloodline. The Windsors are human beings. Fallible human beings. Yet for numerous ceremonies in this country, one human – perhaps you – needs to swear loyalty to another: a woman living in England that you’ve never met and wouldn’t be allowed to meet if you called for an appointment.
Only a Windsor will get to be the head of state. Not a Smith or Kirkpatrick. Not a Belliveau or Doucette. Not a Sappier or Chen, Sharma or Azzi.
The monarchy isn’t reflective of the diverse, modern, egalitarian society we’ve created in Canada. We should elect our head of state because it’s the right way to lead a 21st century nation.