With the failure of republics around the world to promote social progress, unify diverse populations, and nurture democracy it is becoming more evident with each passing day the importance for the prime minister of Canada to be a strong supporter of Canada's monarchy. From previous experience the NDP has not been overly supportive of our monarchy.
This is unfortunate as monarchy has been shown to have advantages over republics in a number of areas including the quality of democratic norms. In a 2008 study titled "Presidents with Prime Ministers: Do Direct Elections Matter?" by Margit Tavits she found that directly-elected presidencies did nothing to lower voter apathy and were in fact associated with increased voter fatigue and a 7% drop in voter turnout for legislative elections. Likewise, she found that indirectly-elected presidents were not as non-partisan as we tend to believe them to be (since they are still an electoral asset). The recent Austrian election shows how a essentially powerless presidency can become divisive with the far-right challenger being barely defeated late last year. Further, a 2009 study titled "Constitutional Power and Competing Risks: Monarchs, Presidents, Prime Ministers, and the Termination of East and West European Cabinets" by Petra Schleiter and Edward Morgan-Jones found that constitutional monarchies had a marked preference for using elections when governments lost confidence of the legislature. Both legislative and (especially) executive presidencies had a marked preference for shuffling the people in cabinet and continuing to the end of term. If you feel the people should be consulted when a government falls this is not a good thing.
On the economic front things are much the same. In 2008 a study was published titled "Economic Growth and Institutional Reform in Modern Monarchies and Republics: A Historical Cross‐Country Perspective 1820‐2000" by Christian Bjørnskov Peter Kurrild‐Klitgaard which found that while both republics and monarchies handled small institutional reforms the same when larger reforms were undertaken republics tended to suffer a period of economic downturn or 'valley of tears' while monarchies did not. While republics would generally recover and catch up this effect should not be under-estimated. If large institutional changes are needed its not the size of the change that is the biggest hindrance to success; its the blow back from those negatively effected (see America). By lessening this effect monarchies are more adaptable than republics. Another study of interest was conducted in 2004 titled "Determinants of generalized trust: A cross-country comparison" by Christian Bjørnskov. Professor Bjørnskov studies 'generalized trust' which is best described as the trust you have for people who are neither your kin nor your friends. It has a large number of positive economic benefits (and a few social ones, see refugee crisis). He found that one of the factors most highly correlated with greater levels of generalized trust was whether a country had a monarchy or not. In a second study published in 2013 titled "Trust, Welfare States and Income Equality: What Causes What?" by Andreas Bergh and Christian Bjørnskov found that welfare states did not increase generalized trust but that higher levels of generalized trust helped welfare states survive. It is no accident that the most successful welfare states have tended to be monarchies.
With the increasingly divided USA to our south and the increasingly extreme views being embraced in France, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Poland (to name a few) we should remember the words of our first prime minister: "By adhering to the monarchical principle we avoid one defect inherent in the Constitution of the United States. By the election of the president by a majority and for a short period, he never is the sovereign and chief of the nation. He is never looked up to by the whole people as the head and front of the nation. He is at best but the successful leader of a party. This defect is all the greater on account of the practice of reelection. During his first term of office he is employed in taking steps to secure his own reelection, and for his party a continuance of power. We avoid this by adhering to the monarchical principle – the sovereign whom you respect and love. I believe that it is of the utmost importance to have that principle recognized so that we shall have a sovereign who is placed above the region of party – to whom all parties look up; who is not elevated by the action of one party nor depressed by the action of another; who is the common head and sovereign of all." ~John A. Macdonald
Our monarchical constitution has produced a series of heads of state (and related members) who have worked to make Canada great. For instance you have Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn who in 1792 famously broke up a riot between French and English saying "Part then in peace. Let me hear no more of the odious distinction of English and French. You are all His Britannic Majesty's beloved Canadian subjects.". This is, I might add, the first recorded instance of someone using the term 'Canadian' in a civic rather than ethnic sense. And of course you have our Queen who has managed to avoid in her 65 years on the throne either calling a large portion of the population deplorable (which Hillary Clinton couldn't manage over a one year period) or being a total jackass (which Trump can't go a day without doing).
We should be proud of our system of government and you should lead the way as prime minister. As you can see I believe our monarchy provides tangible benefits to Canadians. Its not too much to ask our elected leaders show the institution well-deserved respect.
I would like to address the points raised by Chris Banfill.
"The idea that one person is superior to another by birthright is contrary to Canadian values"
This comment presupposes that support for the monarchy isn't itself a Canadian value. Which is odd as not only is the monarchy the only form of government Canada has ever had it is the only government form both the colonies of British North America and New France ever had. Even the First Nations through the wide-spread hereditary chief tradition had experience with birthright determining some form of leadership. It is one of the few institutions all of Canada's founding peoples share. Further, the role of hereditary chief among Canada's First Nations and the monarch serve similar roles. You can't oppose one without by necessity opposing the other.
And while we are talking about rights lets consider that cherished Canadian values like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to vote, etc are all subject to limitations as "the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society". The monarchy can be seen as one such 'exception' as it demonstrably improves how Canada functions. Speaking of which...
"Even if your proposed correlation of monarchy with stability and “quality of democratic norms” actually exists today, correlation and causality are not the same thing."
You are correct, in a limited sense. Correlation does not equal causation, but it does point suggestively in a certain direction. Secondly, you made an assumption that the researchers quoted didn't try to take the issue of causation into account. As an example I contacted the authors of "Economic Growth and Institutional Reform in Modern Monarchies and Republics: A Historical Cross‐Country Perspective 1820‐2000" to get an idea how they dealt with the causality issue. Here are their responses:
Christian Bjørnskov "We got that from the reviewers. That's the reason we're doing the IV estimates in the paper that - so far as is possible - deal with the causality issue. Besides, if we had claimed that monarchies create growth, it would be a plausible argument that growth just allowed monarchy to survive. But since we claim that monarchy only affects growth around major institutional changes, I think it's much more difficult to claim the reverse causality. Anyway, we did what we could to make sure that our estimates are not biased."
Peter Kurrild‐Klitgaard "I understand your point but I am not sure I understand why it should be a particular problem here rather than in other regression studies (and this is in fact a panel study with a large number of observations). As you can see we have controlled for a very wide variety of other factors (including a very large number of controls suggested by various reviewers), and the results have remained robust. We may still need to fully understand the precise 'link' but I have no doubt that there is a connection."
"We have suffered no harm by having our own flag, anthem or constitution. Abolition of the monarchy would be a logical extension of what was already done to make Canada “a real country” in the minds of others."
We have suffered no harm from Canadians being allowed to have dual citizenships, or live (and work) outside the country. Supporting our monarchy is an extension of that open-minded attitude. But the crux of your point relies on the Queen not really being 'ours'. I'd point you to the Queen's comments regarding Canada. These are not the words of someone who has a casual relationship with her country. Your final statement is a classic example of cultural cringe. Why exactly do we care so much what other countries think about our traditions? Its a sign of immaturity that the smallest of ignorant comments by others leads some to question bedrock values of our country.
"Abolishing the monarchy would not require us to have a US style President who is also the Head of State or even to rid ourselves of the rule that the government must have the confidence of the House."
And I never said it would. But I did link studies that showed legislative republics having their own difficulties. A legislative republic would be better than a presidential republic but 'better' in this situation is akin to it being better to be shot in the foot rather than the head. I for one prefer not being shot at all.
"Most Canadians are not of British ancestry and most who are have no connection to the UK and are cultural Canadians who know the rules of hockey and not rugby."
This is irrelevant. The Queen is ruler of all. Former Liberal Member of Parliament Hubert Badanai noted during Queen Elizabeth II's 1959 tour of Canada that "non-Anglo Saxons are more keen about the Queen than the Anglo Saxons.". Former NDP candidate Michael Valpy argued that the Crown's nature permitted non-conformity amongst its subjects, thereby opening the door to multiculturalism and pluralism. W. L. Morton felt that because Canadians owed their allegiance to a monarch, rather than to a concept like "the People", there was no pressure on anyone to conform to a singular Canadian way of life; he said "the society of allegiance admits of a diversity the society of compact does not, and one of the blessings of Canadian life is that there is no Canadian way of life, much less two, but a unity under the Crown admitting of a thousand diversities."
As for hockey and rugby; I can't say I care much about either of those sports. And isn't it a little silly to base a cultural test on how well you know the rules of sports you can only play half the year?
"Even if we did need a monarch, there is no reason why that person cannot be a Canadian rather than a foreigner who inherited that title gained over us by colonial aggression."
Her Majesty's title is Queen of Canada. I don't think you have much room to say she's not Canadian. And holding a conquest, that occurred in the 1700s, against the present monarch is just a tad petty. By the logic you used in the above statement the French and English should hate each other because way back when we killed a lot of each other. Rather, it is better to remember the past with a little detachment.
"The symbolism of this foreign monarchy supports an anti-French mentality and false Anglo-oriented vision of Canadian history. For instance, Franco-Ontarians are thought of as recent immigrants from Québec even in communities that were originally French settlements, and have not always been free of discrimination."
As I noted with the quote in the original post the monarchy has treated its subjects in an equal manner. If you have a problem with history being misinterpreted you would do better to address the poor state of history education across Canada.
"Nathan Cullen did no damage by proposing a referendum on abolition in his 2012 leadership bid."
Nathan Cullen did no damage because he lost the leadership race and his idea was stillborn. You are right that that the NDP has no duty to defend the monarchy. But then again the NDP has no duty to exist at all. But, like the monarchy, Canada is better for having it.
For the second time I would like to address the points raised by Chris Banfill.
"At any rate monarchy and people born equal are contradictory values and we can make the change that eliminates the contradiction."
I will note that I made two points and you only addressed one of them. But lets examine the premise of the comment you made here. You have an implied argument here that Canada would be more equal (at least symbolically) without the monarchy. I wonder about that. Sweden, arguably the most egalitarian country around, gets along well with its own monarchy. By contrast both America and France (the two oldest revolutionary republics) are socially and economically stratified to a degree Canada is not. Colby Cosh argued last summer ("Why Canadians are better republicans", May 30th, 2016) that Canada's particular arrangement prevents "our domestic political leaders can never be glory-hunting priest-emperor types, as long as there is someone above them, far away, who is called “Majesty” and possesses the regalia of state." ie. we have a monarch in order to preserve Canada's egalitarian nature. Which is why monarchists often remark that in Canada 'freedom wears a crown'. And if we were to make any sort of change it should have some concrete justification for doing so. This you have not provided.
"I have argued that that correlation with political stability is not true and given examples of stable republics and unstable monarchies."
Putting aside your cherry picking you are arguing a point based on anecdotal evidence rather than any sort of statistical or empirical evidence.
"In this case correlation would be coincidence which could be reversed at any time."
If year after year global temperatures increased at what point would you stop labeling it as a coincidence? I checked the studies again and confirmed that most cover a period between the 1850s and the present. That is over 200 years of 'coincidence'. You would certainly never allow a climate change denier to claim a time period even half that was coincidental. I fail to see why you expect me to give your view similar consideration.
"As for economic growth, constitutional monarchs of today have zero control over monetary or fiscal policies or the behaviour of corporations that are large enough to have any macroeconomic effect."
This actually reminded me of a study I read a while back regarding honesty. Dan Ariely in his TED Talk 'Our buggy moral code' noted that he once conducted an experiment where participants would have the opportunity to steal (which the participants did at an oddly predictable rate). In an effort to see if he could lower the theft level he had some participants swear on the Ten Commandments. This lowered theft levels. But what is really interesting is that it even lowered theft rates for declared atheists who you'd think wouldn't care what they swore on. Dan determined that the mere act of reminding participants to be moral did so.
Now, I would argue the monarchy serves a similar purpose in government. From the symbolism of the PM sitting on a little chair off to the side during the Speech from the Throne to the PM having to ask for prorogation, dissolution, and a few other things politicians are repeatedly reminded that they too are servants no matter how high they rise. You argue that Canadians don't need people over them. I'd argue politicians certainly do.
By the same token I was once told about an interview with a Chinese official who remarked that the presence of the Emperor in Japan has helped keep the appearance of stability amidst the frequent change-overs in cabinet. Unfortunately, it was a fairly small American station which the interview appeared on and have been unable to find it. It should be noted that corporations are not completely rational actors. The mere appearance of stability matters and they base decisions on it. People have remarked that Britain's economy has not fallen as much as experts predicted. The counterpoint is that Britain has not left yet. But maybe its the fact Her Majesty is there doing the same royal routine she always has that makes people feel a little more at ease. With more exits possible maybe we will get to see a monarchy vs. republic comparison.
"If you’re consulting these authors, try asking them why they would even bother to study such a small group of persons to find a relation between them and what they do not control. I think Monarchists being selective about evidence to fit a pre-determined conclusion is visible here."
You really shouldn't give away that you aren't even reading the studies being presented to you. In "Economic Growth and Institutional Reform in Modern Monarchies and Republics: A Historical Cross‐Country Perspective 1820‐2000" the author stated "But despite the important historical and contemporary role of monarchy as a particular constitutional form, social scientists have so far been quite uninterested in studying the consequences of a state being monarchical or republican in nature. Even public choice scholars, who otherwise have analyzed constitutions and a large set of different political institutions, including autocracies, have—with a few and rather limited exceptions—strangely neglected the potential role of monarchical arrangements."
So to turn the point around I'd ask why people think they can go 200 or so years founding republic after republic without any sort of empirical basis for their actions. That there is now researchers starting to look at monarchical and republican government models is long overdue.
You need to present your own evidence before you get to critique what evidence I've posted. But as far as that goes I haven't even posted all the studies I have. "The Logic of Hereditary Rule: Theories & Evidence" by Timothy Besley and Marta Reynal-Querol (2015) argued that "The logic that we have exploited is essential that conjectured in Olson (1993) that hereditary rule is a way of creating better inter-temporal incentives. To test this idea, we collected information which allows us to classify rulers as hereditary. In line with the theory, hereditary rule increases growth but only when executive constraints are weak." I did not link it previously as it is unclear whether this applies to Canada. Arguably it would but I've been needed to confirm a few things first to say anything definite. I could also have also cited the work done André Bank, Thomas Richter and Anna Sunik in "Long-Term Monarchical Survival in the Middle East: A Configurational Comparison, 1945–2012" but that is more situational to the Middle East.
What I have not cited is studies that favour republics. Not because I have some hidden stash under my bed but because I haven't found any and because the republicans I have debated have not presented any such studies. But what disturbs me more is they seem completely unconcerned that they have no ard evidence to support their views.
"Why don’t you blame the bad economic conditions of Kuwait, Lesotho, Saudi Arabia on the institution of monarchy when that institution has more control there? If monarchy has any economic effect, we should expect it to be negative."
I suppose you'd have to ask "bad compared to what?". Obviously, comparing Saudi Arabia to Finland isn't a fair comparison and ideally you'd have an exact duplicate to compare. But barring that comparisons with neighboring countries that share some climate, geography, and history would have to suffice. Not that such comparisons aren't problematic. While Saudi Arabia does better than republics in its region that isn't hard with Iran under sanctions, Iraq criss-crossed with sectarian divisions, Syria & Yemen in a state of civil war, and Egypt under a military strongman. But for the sake of argument lets look at the Corruption Perception Index 2016 put out by Transparency International. In the case of the gulf monarchies there is a clear trend of monarchies (absolute or not) being less corrupt than dictatorial republics. A similar trend can be observed fairly consistently with the neighbors of monarchies being more corrupt than the monarchies themselves. That is not to say democracy isn't important. Absolute monarchies tend to be out-performed by democratic republics. But between democratic states the monarchy tends to beat the republic. The same pattern holds (with exceptions) for Reporters Without Border's Press Freedom Index 2016, or The Good Country Index. At this point I'd be more surprised if you found a cross-country comparison that showed consistent republican superiority.
As for Lesotho; it is a constitutional monarchy which kind of detracts from the point you were trying to make.
"Dual French citizenship was made an issue regarding Michaele Jean and Tom Mulcair but not regarding John Turner’s UK citizenship."
To an extent that depends on the partisan politics involved but also that Turner never won the only election he contested as PM. And he in fact provided enough fodder during said election without needing to bring up his citizenship. Its also unclear to me whether him being a dual citizen was public knowledge (partly because private affairs used to be more off-limits).
Funny enough, I had contacted former NDP MP Pat Martin sometime before the election about the monarchy. A main reason he gave for not supporting it was that because the Queen reigned over multiple countries she could never really 'be on Canada's side'. That Mulcair then had the same charge leveled against him during the election was an amusing juxtaposition. To this day I wonder how he would square supporting Mulcair on one hand while opposing the Queen on the other over basically the same issue.
"Acadians were burnt out of their homes"
As Deepak Obhrai noted during parliamentary debates on this issue in 2003 the authorities in London were not aware of the Deportation being carried out by the governor of Acadia until it was well underway. And had they been do you think Parliament would have opposed it?
"the creation of Upper Canada out of Québec territory for the Loyalists, which contained French settlements at that time, violated the Québec Act."
For starters, the Quebec Act expanded Quebec to cover southern Ontario (ie. the territory in question). Second, as the Quebec Act was an act of Parliament it could be altered - which it was. There was no 'violation'. Thirdly, Quebec received 50,000 refugees fleeing a terrorist republic. Had Quebec remained one province French law, language and culture would have been drowned out and the Quebecois reduced to a minority. And the problem you have described before would likely exist on a larger scale. Or Quebec could have kept the refugees out. But I'm sure you wouldn't support that.
"I’ll agree that you would have lost the referendum that he proposed."
Oh, I never said the monarchy would have lost. Polls consistently show the monarchy being around 50% support. Its not inconceivable the monarchy would win. But if it broke along the French-English divide it would be just as harmful as the Brexit vote has been for British unity. And this is before the provinces even start discussing the issue. If a province's population supported the monarchy but the country did not what right do the other provinces have to force it to go along with anything?
With the Australian referendum seeming to have revitalized monarchism down under its arguably a lot of bother for republicans with little to be gained for them or the country.
I'll leave you with a message that came to my blog recently on the topic of the monarchy:
"I really can't thank you enough and the stuff I've been reading about on this site has changed my view of some politicians that I previously might have disliked. For example, while Elizabeth May and I might not be on the same page when it comes to how to run Canada, we find common ground in that we are both monarchists. And I think that there lies the importance of the Crown in Canada. That it is above politics and brings people together from across the political spectrum in Canada. As a Conservative it really makes me happy that I can at least find something in common with the (most) Liberals, NDP, and Green Party." ~K. Wong