What’s the deal with the Queen, anyway?

I recently showed my ignorance of the Queen over at J-Walk’s blog in a series of comments that began like this:

I would love to do away with the monarchy in Canada. It’s absurd how much money and resources we waste in accommodating the Queen.

Then someone responded with:

Exactly how much does the monarchy cost Canada? And how much would a domestic Head of State cost? I guarantee that the present system is cheaper than any alternative (mainly because the UK picks up most of the cost).

Then I said:

I don’t have the exact figure on me, but I know it’s a lot. And I’m pretty sure it’s Canadian tax dollars, not money from the UK, that pays for maintaining the Queen’s multi-million dollar official residence in every province — residences that are maintained just in case she visits, which is extremely rare in the first place, and when she does visit, she usually stays at a high end hotel instead. Seems like a silly waste of money to me.

The discussion went on and apparently became heated. I kept at it even though I didn’t know what I was talking about. Eventually I admitted my ignorance and skulked away with my tail between my legs.
queen elizabeth

I studied Canadian history all throughout junior high and high school and I don’t remember any teacher in any class, history or otherwise, ever providing an explanation of the monarchy in Canada. I have no clue how it works — or what clues I do have are minimal and probably misinformed. (To be completely honest, I don’t remember any of the Canadian history I studied in school. I know from a Rheostatics song that Louis Riel rode a horse. That’s it.) The Queen means nothing to me, never has, probably never will. “Much ado about nothing” seems the most appropriate description of the monarchy in my eyes. I just don’t see what all the fuss is about — or why we even bother having her around. I’m sure she’s a nice old lady. I don’t have anything against her personally.

But can someone enlighten me from my ignorance and explain why we, as Canadians, spend so much time and money accommodating the Queen? Why do we still have a monarchy in Canada when we are (I hope) a completely independent and self-governing democratic country?

I’m not looking for links; I know how to use Google. I’m interested in your knowledge of the monarchy of Canada. I have a feeling I’m not the only one without a clue.

About Phillip

Phillip Cairns is a beekeeper in St. John's, Newfoundland, who writes about beekeeping at mudsongs.org.

17 Replies to “What’s the deal with the Queen, anyway?”

  1. Okay, so here’s what I know: The Queen (or the sitting monarch) is the head of the Executive Branch of government. The Prime Minister is the head of the Legislative Branch of the government. The PM can pass all the legistlation he/she wants, but it must be signed into law by the monarch, or the monarch’s representative in Canada, the Governor General. As far as I know, no monarch or monarch-representative has ever failed to sign anything into law, since it has to go through the vetting of the Senate (aka – House of Sober Second Thought.)

    This is in contrast to the American style of government, where the President is the head of both the Executive and Legislative Branches.

    In both cases, the role of the Executive head is to sign legislation into law, and largely symbolic (if I remember that correctly – I could be talking out of my ass). It’s the Legislative head who does all the work.

    (And, in both cases, the head of the Judicial branch is whoever is the lead judge on the Supreme Court.)

    I don’t know if this answers your question very well. We accommodate her because she’s the head of our Executive Branch of government.

  2. As a typical self-absorbed American, I didn’t know Canada was a monarchy. I should have guessed since the queen’s portrait is on the coinage.

    I learn alot about Canada from this site. Regardless, I think its time for Canada to cut the apron strings. History is important but the time and money should be spent on the here and now…just sayin

  3. I think rebecca has it mostly…but and off the top of my head.. in 1982 we (canadian government) “repatriated” our constitution hence the monarchy does not have an official role i think…this was where we get the charter of rights and freedoms…as canadians not as british subjects…hey it took a while..but hey you could not vote in canada if you were a female until statute of westminster in 1931…help history farts…help me……the govener general is the monarchs representitive in canada.. i think…i only have a canadian history degree obtained 15 years ago…i can look the stuff up phillip i have the…dare i say…books here in the house…i know books … pagy things with nice musty smell..no batteries required…….as far as costs i do not believe there are residences for the queen here…perhaps…i know that as a kid in shearwater, a CF base whenever the queen or a royal came we got the day off to go and wave to some motorcade that drove through the base….

    omygod bryan learns about canada from this site…does he know we are only one degree away from the trailer park boys..literally and figurativly…

    ..jesus….this is probably the same as learning about christianity from david koresh and waco texas….

    bryan i assure you that everything on this site is exactly how all canadians think and feel :-)

  4. I knew STW was the source for the real scoop on the great white north but what I really want to know about Canada – besides the part about the polar bears in the streets – is do you occasionally get American nickels back in change and do they jam up your vending machines?…and

    do guys speak English or Canadian?

  5. Bryan, we might have to start a new service here on SWT called, “Ask a Canadian,” and then a Canadian (not just Jody or me) will answer the question.

    To answer your questions, we get American coins in our change all the time, and as far as I know, they work better in vending machines than Canadian coins. We speak the same language as you, but we spell some words differently. And the last letter in our alphabet is zed, not zee.

    As for the polar bears, Tommyboy is more qualified to answer that one. I’ll leave it to him.

    That was fun. I almost feel like an authority on something.

  6. As a hopefully-soon-to-be Canadian (maybe 5 years from now?) I know that I will have to pledge my allegiance to her if she’s still around but beyond that. I don’t know where the queen’s expenses are paid from but surely Michaëlle Jean’s salary and expenses are paid for by my tax dollars. If she’s just a rubber stamp for the government, why are we paying for her?

  7. The queen sucks, I became a Canadian citizen last year they made me swear allegiance to the queen, what’s the deal with that?, I agree with DAVE she is maintained by the government so she’s a parasite, her work is a joke.

  8. The queen of england owns about 40% of canada’s resources
    she is part of the NWO and the bank of england
    her agents make sure that our 800 billion dollar debt rises
    because we pay on the interest on the interest because were stupid

    our bank of canada could issue our currency debt free but no our kiss ass politicians make sure that we borrow from private banks and then rack up huge debt for their rich banker friends at our expense.

    If that doesn’t make you mad stop using those reuptake inhibitors.

    ie: 1938 to 1974 our national debt was only 18 billion dollars….and after 1974 it began to skyrocket to over 400 billion into 1987.

    Why? Because the world bank and IMF demanded that we borrow from private banks and pay interest. Feed the machine.

    Of course the talking heads will tell you if we used our BOC it would cause inflation. Lies Lies Lies

    It is not who issues our currency that causes inflation it is the amount of money in circulation and our BOC already monitors that. They laugh in their board rooms in how stupid we are regarding the power we unconsciously give to private bangk corporations.

    ck out: canadianactionparty.ca the only fed party that has a monetary reform platform.

    For more reading pls google:
    Canada shows that it works for the Private Banking Dynasties

    It amazes me how successfully they brainwashed us and hold their control in plain sight. I ask people on the street if they know what causes the 800 billion debt? 95% don’t know.

    Canada wake up because soon we will be under homeland gestapo security through the NAU/SPP

    Time to spread the message of freedom from oppressive monetary policys that want you to believe that you have to pay, pay, pay, pay your fair share according to their idea of pay and fair?

    Time to spread the message of liberty for all….. free from those digusting lies about giving up our liberties so the government can save us from terrorism.

    Time to spread the message that we can share our wealth and prosperty for all and force our leaders to repatriate our debt and make those thieving bankers pay and once again utilize our currency powers to benefit all our people.

    Time to revolt

    Time to lay new ground

  9. Heres an answer to your question as to how much we pay the queen every year. Its in the Bank of Canada Act
    The Bank of Canada Act

    Bank constituted
    (2) The Bank is a body corporate.
    R.S., c. B-2, s. 3.
    17. (1) The capital of the Bank shall be five million dollars but may be increased from time to time pursuant to a resolution passed by the Board of Directors and approved by the Governor in Council and by Parliament.
    Shares (wow you can start a country with only five million dollars)
    (2) The capital shall be divided into one hundred thousand shares of the par value of fifty dollars each, which shall be issued to the Minister to be held by the Minister on behalf of Her Majesty in right of Canada.

    Her Majesty owns the Bank of Canada. The personal and corporate income taxes paid by Canadians are the profits for the Bank of Canada. These profits go to Her Majesty and the Bank of England, absorbing more than 10% of the GNP of Canada every year.(GDP (PPP) : $1.274 trillion (2007 est) If you require detailed economic information on Canada, see StatsCan page at:http://www.canadianeconomy.gc.ca/English…)

  10. This is in contrast to the American style of government, where the President is the head of both the Executive and Legislative Branches.

    The President is not the head of the legislative branch. He is not even a member of the legislative branch.

    You may be thinking of the following:

    The Vice President is the “President of the Senate”. Note, however, that:

    (A) This is not “the legislative branch” – he has nothing to do with the House of Representatives;

    (B) His actual powers in this regard are merely the ability to cast a vote in the event of a tie, and (essentially) being the guy who does the “Roberts’ Rules of Order” kind of things (like saying “the Chair recognizes the distinguished gentleman from Rhode Island”).

    Despite his title of “President of the Senate”, he is not really “the head” of the Senate in any meaningful sense, and is certainly not the head of the legislative branch.

    And again, that’s the Vice President; the President (of the Executive Branch) has nothing at all to do with any of this.

    Also, the VP doesn’t actually attend the Senate very often; when he’s absent, the parlimentary stuff (“the Chair recognizes…”) is done (or delegated) by an actual Senator, known as the “President Pro Tempore” of the Senate; Senators will also refer to the PPT as “Mr. President”, as they would the Vice President.

    But none of these people are the President of the United States, who is absolutely not a member of the legislative branch, let alone its “head”.

  11. And neither the President, the Vice President or the President Pro Tempore wear hats of any type whilst they perform these duties and therefore are exempt from my leg wrestling challenge.

  12. Hello, I’m an American citizen and I find myself in a confused state of mind after reading this >>>>>

    ”The queen of england owns about 40% of canada’s resources”…….
    ”Her Majesty owns the Bank of Canada. The personal and corporate income taxes paid by Canadians are the profits for the Bank of Canada. These profits go to Her Majesty and the Bank of England, absorbing more than 10% of the GNP of Canada every year.(GDP (PPP) : $1.274 trillion (2007 est) If you require detailed economic information on Canada, see StatsCan page at:http://www.canadianeconomy.gc.ca/English…)” <<<<<<

    (if fact) How is it possible for you guys up there (34+ million) to continue to give ANY money to the queen?

    What do you get for the money you give?

  13. I’d much rather give 90% of my GNP to private citizens rather than the queen, cause that makes it fairer!.. cept to the 99% of the citizens who barely receive any money at all.. just sayin’

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