Canada ends constitutional links to Britain

Yes, it’s true.  Way back in 1982 Canada ended the pro forma necessity for the Parliament at Westminster (UK) to ratify amendments to its constitutional law.  In Canada this is commonly referred to as the patriation of the constitution, ‘bringing it home’ so to speak.  This includes the Monarchy, because it is part of Canada’s constitutional system.  Therefore, Canada is most clearly no longer ruled by the Sovereign of the UK, but by the Sovereign of Canada.  Canada agreed in a way extemely difficult to change, to continue sharing its Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II and her heirs and successors, with other interested countries, such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Belize, etc.  In fact, Canada freely and democratically adopted the strongest pro-Monarchy constitution in the Commonwealth, stronger even than the UK itself.  The fact that Canada’s Monarch is shared, and resides in the UK, diminishes this not one iota, since Her Majesty is represented in Canada federally by the Governor General of Canada, and separately in each province by that province’s Lieutenant-Governor, all appointed on the advice of the democratically-elected federal Ministry, ie, the prime minister.  Furthermore, for the last half-century, all Canada’s GGs have been Canadians, not Britons or Australians or anything else.

My headline is a poke at Canada’s few thousand (small-R) republicans, who tend to get disproportionate MSM coverage there (while the Monarchy, the GG, the LGs, and monarchists get very little, usually negative or stereotyped, such as relatively unimportant “gaffes,” or “tea and crumpets” Anglophilia), and who claim to desire to “end constitutional links to Britain” by abolishing Canada’s Monarchy.  They clearly either don’t understand Canada’s constitution, or deliberately obfuscate the issue for ulterior motives: Many want to make Canada a clone of the United States (though others claim not to).  The fact is that Monarchy vs. Republic is not an issue as far as the general Canadian public cares; they’re content with the status quo.  If some MSM “journalist” or pollster asks a leading question like a bad prosecutor, then sure, they think about it, because they’re caring, intelligent people, less likely than Yanks to tell them to do something unpleasant to themselves.  But for the Canadian democracy — as opposed to the Canadian (U.S.-influenced) punditocracy — constitutional change of this magnitude is a non-starter.  They remember how a whole generation from the mid-1970s to the mid-90s was consumed with constitutional questions, and they just want to get on with normal life.

Do some Canadian politicians want to dump the Queen of Canada and become President?  Canadians are wiser to the ways of politicians than most Americans I think, perhaps because they have an option to deny them absolute power: the Monarchy.  Even the most powerful politician in Canada is nothing more than Her Majesty’s Canadian chief servant or advisor; “The Executive Government and Authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen” (Constitution Act 1867, paragraph 9 [formerly known as the original British North America Act that created the Canadian confederation out of 4 UK colonies]).

So it’s true, Canada has ended constitutional links to Britain … as of 1982.  In fact, HM came to Ottawa and signed it herself!

PS: I wonder if at least some who oppose Prince Charles succeeding his mother perceive her as having been weaker than some of her recent male predecessors, whereas His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is well-known for having definite opinions that call into question the accumulation of power — to society’s detriment — by politicians, businesspeople, ideologues, gratuitous anti-traditionalists, even ‘regressive’ pseudo-traditionalists, and such.  I certainly don’t agree with everything HRH has said or done publicly or personally, but he does strike me as sometimes a real ‘progressive conservative,’ or Red Tory in Canadian terms!

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Elitists II

I’ve got news for ya.  America’s been in the hands of “elitists” since they wrested it out of the hands of King George III!  OTOH, is the Queen an elitist?!

Channel Island abandoning Feudalism?

That’s what media are saying (this news link will go stale), but I don’t believe they are correct to say so.  The heart of feudalism, or manorialism if you like, is the combination of holding land from and closely regulated by, the feudal lord (in this case, the Seigneur of the Isle of Sark) … and the obligation of service to him or her by those who hold their property from him or her.  The reforms will replace a legislative body made up mostly of the 40 main “tenants” ex officio (out of a current permanent population of 600) with one of 28 totally elected councilmembers.  But land tenure will be unchanged, and apparently the 40 main tenants will still be obligated to keep “muskets” to provide the first line of defense of the Isle, not unlike Switzerland’s requirement (not “right” as claimed in the U.S.) to keep and bear arms [for civilian defense, not revolution!]

One of the lesser-known “services” also required of feudal tenants was Counsel, advice.  So whether that counsel is provided by ex officio landholders or elected representatives of *all* the landholders doesn’t change the feudal system.  (As the sources say, there are two kinds of landholdings on Sark, the 40 main original and largest ones, and a number of smaller, newer ones, with traditionally fewer rights and obligations.)  Actually, electing hereditary representatives is not unprecedented in ‘the British system’: after suborning the Irish (Protestant) Parliament to merge itself into the British Parliament in the 1800s, Irish Protestant noblemen elected “representative peers” to the House of Lords, rather than theoretically admitting all of them to that House; and since Tony Blair’s “reforms” in the 1990s *all* United Kingdom hereditary peers elect 90-some of their number to the House of Lords for the time being (though the “ruling” Labour Party anticipates abolishing a hereditary right to sit in that House before long, though allowing those who also have Life Peerages to sit there, and others to run and vote for the powerful House of Commons like they traditionally could not – because they are not Commoners).

So democracy is no more incompatible with “feudalism” as it remains on Sark, than it is with certain forms of Monarchy itself, as in many First World countries.  In fact, think of Sark as a tiny subordinate monarchy: the Seigneur holds the whole Isle on loan from the Queen, conditioned upon annual rent of something like five dollars U.S. (the rate hasn’t been inflated since Queen Elizabeth I originally made the grant over 400 years ago) and maintenance of a first-line defense arrangement – the guys with the “muskets.”  The only way Sark’s “feudalism” could be abolished under Her Majesty’s Monarchy as currently constituted there would be if the Queen revoked the Seigneur’s tenancy of the Isle, or abolished the Seigneurship as it were.

Although, remember that the Queen is considered to legally own nearly all of the land in her Realms.  *All* “landowners” merely hold their property from her; hence the Sovereign right of Eminent Domain, which of course is asserted by all sovereign States, including the American States, not only Monarchies.*  This is a worldwide remnant of feudalism, although under Rule of Law, the sovereign power should only be used according to previously-publicly-passed and written-down laws or well-known/attested custom, and property’s ostensible “owners” actually own real rights in respect of the land, which the sovereign power is considered required to honor.  So the situation on Sark is not different in genus, only in species, so to speak, from that elsewhere in the UK or even in the US.

Why do I care?  The coverage of the Sark reforms is yet another manifestation of the historical and constitutional ignorance that plagues much of the English-speaking world, within and outside the Commonwealth, imperiling not only the Monarchy there but the legal tradition itself, everywhere.  If law becomes merely what ignorant or partisan judges or politicians say it is, they will ride roughshod right over the rest of us, just like has been happening in the U.S. since 12/12/00 (PDF).  And if WE are ignorant, or successfully fed propaganda by the likes of Rupert Murdoch/Sky News/Fox News, or his Sarkese comrades the Barclay brothers, we will let them.  And the biggest threat to our freedoms will have come not from abroad, but from right here at home – right inside each of our countries.

And now for something completely different … if you’ve gotten this far, you’ve earned it. 😉

(*–In America the “sovereign” is considered to be the people of the State … though as I always say, If everybody’s sovereign, nobody’s sovereign – or the sovereignty is being usurped by one or a few, known or unknown!)