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Quebec and the Queen

- August 9th, 2012
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Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois is taking on the Queen as she campaigns in the provincial election. (Photo: Annie T. Roussel/QMI AGENCY)

The Queen and her role in Canada have suddenly been thrown into the spotlight in the Quebec provincial election.

Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois has discussed the Queen in a number of speeches, saying the monarchy is a waste of money. When asked if she should be attacking the Queen during the Diamond Jubilee year, Marois said the fact that it’s a big year for the Queen doesn’t mean they shouldn’t discuss her role here in Canada.

“It doesn’t bother me at all to attack the royalty,” she has said.

Marois went on to say that money spent on royal institutions is wasted and that the monarch is symbolic of the Conservative government trying to impose the Crown on Quebec’s identity.

“I’m willing to make a deal with the Harper government,” Marois said. “I’ll trade him the royalty for Quebec sovereignty.”

Queen Elizabeth waves as she visits the Aquatics Centre at the Olympic Park in London on July 28. (PHOTO: Luke MacGregor/REUTERS)

In a Harris Decima poll in May, 76% of Quebec residents surveyed said Canada should separate from the monarchy (well above the 52% of Canadians in general).

Robert Finch, president of the Monarchist League of Canada, told QMI Agency he was hardly surprised by the comments. But he did take issue with some of Marois’ assertions.

“It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that someone who wants to break up the country would attack an institution that strives to unite it,” Finch said. “As for her complaints about the cost, holding another referendum would cost far more than the monarchy does.”

The royals rarely receive a warm reception when they visit Quebec – the only exception was when Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, visited in 2011. Then, there were crowds out who actually cheered to see them – “a giant step,” Finch told me in December.

But before their arrival, the Amir Khadir, leader of the fringe party Quebec Solidaire, called the young couple “parasites” and said their royal tour was a waste of money.

The Queen hasn’t been back to visit Quebec since 1992, when she was there to mark the 125th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, were in Montreal in 2009 and were heckled by protesters, which made them slightly late for an event.

But Quebec politicians aren’t alone in wanting to question the monarchy. In January, the Young Liberals wanted to discuss the role of the Queen and her family during the biennial convention.

Resolution 114 – titled Canadian Identity in the 21st Century – calls on the party to form a committee to “study the implementation of instituting a Canadian head of state popularly elected and sever formal ties with the British Crown.”

But 67% of voters said no to the resolution.

It’s not a surprise Quebec politicians are discussing the monarchy – there have already been separtists talks within a week of the election being called. The Queen is an easy target because they can say what they want, but never have to do anything about it.

As premier, Marois wouldn’t actually be able to do anything about Canada and the monarchy, but she can argue it’s wrong for the country and a waste of money, making some voters very happy with her views.

Quebec residents will be heading to the polls Sept. 4.

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5 comments

  1. J | August 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Shocking – I actually agree with quebec on something – monarchy is a waste of money and shameful. However both quebec and queen can take a hike as far as true Canadians are concerned.

  2. B | August 14, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I own a rental property in Quebec, and want to buy a cottage there, so for those reasons alone I don’t want separation. If I didn’t though, I couldn’t give a flyin’ *! I would LOOOOOVE to see them sink quicker than the Titanic though, I really question how a have-not province that spends more money than any other province (and gives less back) would suddenly be doing much better without the rest of Canada to prop them up!

  3. Ray | August 14, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    J, without the British Monarchy, there would be no Canada, maybe you should think before you write. But I do agree with you on Quebec, let’s not wait for them to separate, let’s kick them out.

  4. B | August 15, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    As far as Quebecers are concerned, you ignorant canadians can all jump off a bridge for all we care.

  5. PIERRE | March 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    iT says right in the constitution that anyone that tries to change the way the government works by kicking the crown out can be jailed for life for treason..

    don’t believe me look it up

    I could take that crown and wipe my ass with it,,
    That fat little troll we call a queen can lick my @$$

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