Jamaica's new PM vows to ditch royal rule

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73 Responses to “Jamaica's new PM vows to ditch royal rule”

  1. If Jamaica really becomes a republic I hope that Australia will at least move towards a vote on the republic again. I fear that after the original vote was lost the country regressed quite a bit into monarchism.

    • Jeeze, leave us with some resemblance of an Empire.

      • niktemadur says:

        Off with their heads, I say!  Cheers, nice one, stiff upper lip, etcetera!

        BTW, have you noticed a meme that’s been bouncing around?
        Say “beer can” in a British accent, it sounds like you’re saying “bacon” in a Jamaican accent.

        Although that may not apply in Bristol, that’s laying it a bit on the thick side.
        Hmmm… a thick slab of “beer can”.

  2. czak ivanovic says:

    There isn’t a snowflake’s chance in hell of amending the Canadian constitution to remove the GG or the Queen. Trudeau barely got it patriated and had to force the Charter down Quebec’s throat.

    Are you arguing that using the reserve power to dissolve parliament would have been a good thing?

    • In which country? Do you mean Canada or Jamaica?

      • czak ivanovic says:

        This was in response to Cory’s editorial about our GG before the article – I meant Canada.  Section 41 of our constitution makes it pretty much impossible to do in Canada what is being proposed for Jamaica:

        In order to change something to do with the monarchy or the GG all of the provinces in Canada and the feds have to be on board.  The federal government would never agree to the sort of concessions the provinces would try to extract and Quebec would try for independence again before agreeing to any ammendents on anything ever.

        Even if you could get the the provinces to sign you would also likely require a countrywide referendum – unwritten constutional convention.

        • Oh okay. In Australia the federal government could become a republic and leave the states as monarchies to take care of themselves. The constitutional change would have to pass in a referendum (the last one failed) but there is a clear process for that. It needs a majority of voters in a majority of states but we will get there in the end. We just need to continue to dilute the original English descended population. Hopefully King Charles will give the population the kick they need to take action.

          • Brad H. says:

            Hah, you should visit the northern suburbs of Perth or the Gold Coast. No chance there. 

            States wouldn’t become monarchies or anything like that. Technically though the Commonwealth to Republic shift could be ignored on the state level. 

            But realistically each state would progress to the republican model and continue with the current autonomy it has, including the timeline into which it devolves itself from the Crown and which system it adopts, but it would probably be a reform of minimal expenditure ie. the Governor would be voted in by state parliament and nothing more. The territories would pass over to the new federal government as governed by both territories last referendum on the matter. 

  3. Aleknevicus says:

    More to the point, if the constitution were amended, it would certainly include provisions for the ruling party to continue to pro-rogue parliament. (In other words, nothing would change on this issue.) How often do governments pass laws reducing their powers?

    I’m all for removing the monarchy, but doing so won’t prevent the problems Cory outlines.

    • Martijn says:

      I’m rather amazed that it was apparently possible in Canada for the GG and/or president to send parliament home. The entire concept goes directly against the core of democracy. Parliament is supposed to check the government, and is only answerable to the people. If the people that parliament is supposed to keep an eye on, can send it home, and thereby remove the people’s representation from government, then it’s not really much of a democracy, is it?

      • Isn’t it technically a constitutional monarchy and not a democracy anyway?  I always figured that countries with a ruling monarch aren’t ‘true’ democracies by definition, maybe I’m wrong.

        I didn’t vote in our House of Lords for example; so it’s hardly democratic.

        • HeartsinaBox says:

           >Isn’t it technically a constitutional monarchy and not a democracy anyway?

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index

        • niktemadur says:

          I’ve come to believe there are advantages to having a symbolic monarchy, although the House Of Lords is another issue.

          My point, criticizing or protesting the policies of El Presidente in a “standard democracy” may cause you a lot of grief, because you are confronting the absolute and unquestioned face of a nation.

          In the UK, however, a Tony Blair, Gordon Brown or David Cameron can be publicly questioned and shredded to bits, while the face of the nation (Queen Elizabeth II) remains beyond reproach in the minutiae of policy making and enactment.

          Unfortunately, homo sapiens sapiens is not as rational as the term suggests, we keep putting a flag and a face to our nations and holding both sacred.

          So in a world of pros and cons, a symbolic monarchy strikes an interesting balance.

  4. Brad H. says:

    I wish Australian Republicans in government had the cojones she’s got.

    That’s shite hearing about Canada’s past government (and current as well) troubles. It’s hard getting news about international politics on Australian airwaves unless it involves Taiwanese parliament fights, David Cameron or US politics.

    We had a crisis in 1970′s Australia when a reformist Prime Minister was challenged by the opposition controlled upper-house (Senate), who blocked supply for the policies (such as universal healthcare) made in the lower. It took a stalemate that consisted of a double dissolution and then a joint sitting of both houses. Deadlock still didn’t break, and the PM was dismissed by the GG.

    Sir John Kerr, the man who dismissed PM Gough Whitlam, was reviled for life. But at least his power was used as a serious last resort, when the constitutional crisis could go no further. The Canadian dilemma was more of a parliamentary dispute rather than a constitutional crisis. Since Kerr, aussie GG’s have gone back to do what they do best; cut ribbons, meet heads-of-state, and chaperone the royal in-breds when they come into town.

  5. prentiz says:

    In UK terms, I am a monarchist.  In comparison to various presidential systems, they’ve provided this country with unifying  and cost effective non-political figureheads.  I don’t believe that President Thatcher or Blair would ever be seen in the same broad esteem both by most people in the UK and abroad as HMTQ is.

    That isn’t to say that the same would be true of all countries of which the Queen is the head of state.  However, I think Cory is conflating the actions of on Royal appointee – who will have been chosen with considerable input from the Canadian Government, I suspect, with a broader opposition to the Monarchy.  Would an elected President have acted any differently?

    • atimoshenko says:

      I don’t believe that President Thatcher or Blair would ever be seen in the same broad esteem both by most people in the UK and abroad as HMTQ is.

      And the value of this “esteem” is?

    • howaboutthisdangit says:

      I can’t speak for other nations, but in the U.S. “esteem” would not be the word of choice.  “Fascination,” maybe, just as with any other celebrity, but no one actually takes the royals seriously or holds them in esteem.

      • Of course they do, what a silly thing to say.  You and I might not, but there are plenty of royalists in the UK.  Old people LOVE the Queen!

        And in terms of value they keep telling us it’s tourism, but I don’t buy it, they use that card for bloody everything.  Either way, she costs me like 30p a year or something, she’s very much at the bottom of my list of cost savings.

    • Deidzoeb says:

      “In comparison to various presidential systems, they’ve provided this country with unifying  and cost effective non-political figureheads.”

      I would try to compare democratic systems, not necessarily “presidential systems” (which might include Papa Doc or any dictator who gave himself the title of “president”). But setting that aside, are you looking at relatively recent UK monarchs, or a longer survey of monarchs in and outside of the UK? Is a “monarchist” in UK terms a supporter of democracy? (I concede that the US govt opposes democracy in many other nations, and maybe even in the US, but that doesn’t help me understand how/whether monarchy is compatible with democracy.)

      Sorry if this would be a ridiculously long topic to convey in a comment thread. Is there a webpage link that would help explain it?

    • AnthonyC says:

      I think there is definitely value in separating the head of government and the head of state (PM or president vs. monarch). There is no realistic way for one individual to adequately handle both the details of governing and the ceremonial functions of state- US presidents try, and end up not getting as much done as they ought to.

    • Tzctplus - says:

      I know what comes next: the Monarchy is good for tourism. And Princess Kate is hot.

      I despise monarchy by its inherent dismissal of the concept of equality of all in the eyes of the law, the most silent characteristic of a proper democracy.

  6. Kevin Sweeney says:

    I wonder if you might like to know that, in Canada, the Governor General is appointed by the Prime Minister and not the Queen. This is hardly Royal oversight in anything but name
    I am also uncertain why you would imagine that Selling Jamaica out to foreign corporations and other private interests might somehow be an improvement on an uninvolved, objective third party with no ownership claims.
    I’m sure it will be just as good as any leveraged buyout has proven.
    Stay tuned in Canada. More fire sales of national assets coming soon

    • Jardine says:

      I wonder if you might like to know that, in Canada, the Governor General is appointed by the Prime Minister and not the Queen. This is hardly Royal oversight in anything but name

      Technically, no. The PM advises the Queen on who to appoint and the Queen actually does the appointing. In practice, yes, the PM is the one who picks the person and the Queen rubber-stamps it.

      In the incident Cory refers to though, the Governor General was appointed on the recommendation of the leader of a previous government (Paul Martin, Liberal Party). So it’s not like the Governor General granted the request because she felt she owed the Prime Minister a favour. She granted it because the Governor General pretty much does as the Prime Minister asks.

  7. caipirina says:

    BTW .. she is not really a ‘new’ prime minister … she had that post before

  8. atimoshenko says:

    Good for Jamaica. Passing down privilege and power by birth is a completely crazy concept. If I had to predict what from today will, 100 years from now, be seen the same way we presently see, say, the suppression of a woman’s right to vote, monarchy – any monarchy – would be close to the top of my list. 

    • retepslluerb says:

      So you advocate hight inheritance taxes?   

      • atimoshenko says:

        Without question. Few things distort the equality of opportunity, conflict with free market principles, and drive the concentration of wealth and power more than the hereditary transfer of assets. One of the few things that does, is when political authority and prestige are transferred alongside.

        Just like, in a democracy, the political capital you start out with is independent of the political capital of your parents (one person, one vote), so should the economic capital one starts out with be similarly independent.

        • togi says:

          So you believe that things we own are essentially on loan from the State, which reclaims ownership (at least in part) of these things when we die? We should not have the ability to dictate to whom we pass possession of property?

          And what about gifts? It’s not just after death that rich parents provide economic capital to their children.

          I’m not necessarily disagreeing that hereditary transfer of assets keeps the rich rich (though I’d argue that it’s nowhere near the most important factor – if simply passing the money on was enough to keep power, we’d not have centuries of violence, religion and laws designed to keep it), but I’m not convinced that taxing what has already been taxed is morally justifiable, especially when  not applied to everyone. If a law is good for one, it is good for all, no?

          • I’m with you on this.  I don’t like how much the government get from me when I’m alive, the mere thought that they might get something from me when I die makes my blood boil.  They’ll only spend it on bombs and Olympic stadiums anyway.

          • atimoshenko says:

            So you believe that things we own are essentially on loan from the State, which reclaims ownership (at least in part) of these things when we die? We should not have the ability to dictate to whom we pass possession of property?

            Good questions, but, IMHO, they miss the heart of the matter. Capital accumulation drives progress. This is why the first great civilisations emerged once nomadic hunter gatherers (who never accumulate much capital) began to settle down. In fact, the only way for society not to start from scratch with each generation is for each individual, on average, to produce more capital over his or her lifetime than he or she consumes. Furthermore, control over capital – over productive tools – is something that strongly amplifies one’s ability to create value, and the more advanced our tools (and hence our society) become, the more true this is. The best neurosurgeon and aeronautical engineer would be quite useless on a desert island, for instance.

            So, we have people leaving behind surplus capital when they die, capital control being central to one’s capacity to create value, and people being born into this world capital-less. The question then becomes how to allocate the surplus capital from the departing to the arriving. It is not an easy question to answer. Most of the earliest societies for which this first became a problem, decided to keep as much peace as possible, by creating a simple (but arbitrary) rule, and basically answered “the capital of the father goes to the eldest surviving son”. Hence a self-reinforcing need for the disempowerement of women, hence the glorifying of the family unit as the central building block of society, hence the obsession with pre-marital virginity and “till death do us part” unions.

            No less importantly, I am sure it was quickly noticed that because of the virtuous cycle of capital acquisition (the more you have, relative to others, the easier it is for you to get more, so the even more you have, etc.), keeping wealth within the family was the best possible way for the elites to maintain their status across generations. Since this would obviously strike the ever-increasingly impoverished majority as unfair, religions sprung up declaring either that “the kings and aristocrats are special people anointed by God” or that “even if you are born to be the lowest of the low, be content with your station in life for you will be greatly rewarded upon your death”. The exploration and conquest of foreign lands would also relieve some of such an imbalanced society’s internal stresses – instead of the anger being used to dispossess the internal elites, why not have it dispossess external elites, or simply find new lands and resources to which the advantages of the existing elites did not yet spread? This is why the junior sons of powerful families tended to be sent to the military.

            All of the above is a very long way (sorry!) of saying that the problem, especially the logistical problem, of intra-generational wealth transfer is hard. The ethical problem, however, is quite simple. Since people should not generally simply get something for nothing (both from the perspective of justice, and from the perspective of economic efficiency), every person should start their productive lives with roughly the same amount of capital. The State is not at all involved here (it may need to be in the logistics, but it is not in the ethics – nothing is “on loan”). Instead it is just the logical consequence of an ever-increasing capital surplus combined with the biologically imposed conditions of reproduction and death. So the idea to head towards is for capital (in the broadest sense of the word – economic, political, social, human) inequality among, say 18 year olds, to be as close to zero as possible, while at the same time being some non-zero amount (as determined by the surpluses left behind by those who die). The logistics of it all would not be simple, especially at first (you are right – how to identify and prohibit unfair gifts?), but then our democracy also took a long time to evolve to its current form, and is still imperfect. Nevertheless, it is clearly better than the autocratic feudal monarchies that preceded it.

            The inheritance tax is only a tax for logistical purposes. It is not a tax in the sense of being (as most other taxes are) a way to pay the State for the provision public goods. Rather, it is simply a way to ensure the fair intra-generational transfer of surplus capital from those who have died, to those that have yet to be able to do anything to earn it. Considering the previously-discussed importance of capital to one’s ability to create value in an advanced economy, such a transfer results in the creation of a much more virtuous chain of events. If people start out with no capital, but need capital to be productive, the chain is:
            Borrow -> Produce -> Pay back -> Left with very little -> Borrow -> Produce -> Pay back -> etc.

            when starting with capital the chain is:
            Invest -> Produce -> Re-earn (with surplus) -> Invest (more) -> Produce -> Re-earn -> etc.

            Hell, imagine even the change in employer-employee relationships if every employee could come (and leave with) not only his or her human capital, but with some chunk of shareholder capital as well? Or the increased scope for entrepreneurship? Imagine the scope for decreasing child abuse, human trafficking, etc when no one has to start in a poverty trap of having nothing to their name? Imagine how much more flexible immigration policies could be if immigrants did not just bring their (potentially) hungry mouths and (potential) talents with them, but also cold hard cash? Etc., etc.

            Hence my conclusion that the current inheritance set-up is a calamity upon the human race.

          • togi says:

            Wow, gotta say that’s an amazing answer, even if I’m not sure I agree with it all :-)

            Simple thoughts are:

            - The processes you identify whereby the powerful enforce, through various socio-religious codes, a means to keep the grasp of power within their control… Without inheritance, do you believe they’d not be able to maintain this grasp? In your ‘everyone has an equal economic start’ world, could the powerful not manipulate the system? 

            - While money is obviously a great starter, wealthy children often receive an education from their parents in how to earn and keep money. Even allowing for a universal education system, unless one raises children commune-style, those who’ve been brought up by capable money earners will receive an advantage in knowledge and attitude when compared with those who aren’t.

            - Your assessment seems to depend on inheritance-after-death, but, at least in our age, people’s parents largely don’t die until one is firmly into adulthood. If they are receiving ‘economic preference’ that gives them an unfair advantage, then they are doing so before inheritance-proper comes into the question. This, along with the above point, leads me to think that the ills you speak of may in fact be more due to our current mode of ‘family’, with upbringing mostly performed by biological parents. Of course, you ascribe this situation to a need for control of inheritance, so it may be a bit chicken/egg.

            - ‘people should not generally get something for nothing’ – Considering that we all of us got ‘something for nothing’ when we were born, I’m not convinced that it’s that great a principle.

            - I may be wrong, but you seem to subsume the individual under the collective, or even under ‘progress’ – a utilitarian position that we ought to base our economic thinking on ‘what’s good for everyone’. For historical reasons, this tends to make me nervous.

            Definitely stuff to ponder on though…

          • @atimoshenko:disqus 

            (Can discuss not continue to thread comments but ‘visually’ stop threading them at a certain point, thus making replying possible in these situations?  Even WordPress’ default comments system can do that…)

            A possible solution to the problems you outline (which are slightly above my head and too eloquent to argue anyway) to give all surplus assets to a chosen Charity upon death?  As I mentioned above, the government has done nothing to deserve my money (I already overpay for what they provide), even if it does balance economics; however maybe if the money were to be distributed to registered charities it could have the side effect of balancing the playing field for those born into poor families.  Not to mention all the other causes it could benefit.  

            For example, Sir Rich Wallinsworth dies and leaves £10m to Barnados, helping to ensure that children in need have a better start in life, while neutralising any of his heirs advantage.

            That’s something I could get behind. I have no desire to inherit my parents leftovers, and hopefully there won’t be many; but I have even less desire for corrupt lizard men to get their dirty mitts on it.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Can discuss not continue to thread comments but ‘visually’ stop threading them at a certain point, thus making replying possible in these situations?

            No. Feel free to contact them about it. I have.

    • HeartsinaBox says:

      Constitutional Monarchies dominate the world in the democracy stakes and GDP per capita. Constitutional Monarchies are one of the most efficient, democratically safe systems in the world.

  9. chenille says:

    I’m confused. The Governor General could act as a check on the Prime Minister, but shamefully didn’t when he wanted to shut down parliament… so Canada would be better without that check at all?

    I can’t help but think that in this case, it seems more like getting rid of the Prime Minister would be a good thing.

    • DoubleTee says:

      It it worth noting that current Canadian PM Stephen Harper’s Conservative party only received about 40% of the popular vote, but has the majority of the seats in the House of Commons due to the first-past-the-post electoral system for MPs (Members of Parliament).

      It would have been (by definition) a constitutional crisis if the GG had gone against the PM’s wishes for prorogation and either appointed a new parliament or called for a general election.

      • Nadreck says:

        At the time of Canada’s “Mugabe Moment” when Harper dissolved Parliament he did NOT have a majority in the House of Commons. He had a minority government.  Parliament was in the process of ordering the government to provide it with various pieces of information such as how guilty we were of various war crimes and the cost of the proposed gigantic prison building program (to house the unknown perpetrators of unreported crimes).  One senior government official was already on the lam from the parliamentary bailiffs and using private security guards to stop them from serving him a subpoena.  A “Contempt of Parliament” motion had  either already been passed or would have been passed for sure (I forget which) – unprecedented in Canadian history.

        In no way, shape or form would it have been a constitutional crisis for the GG to then ask the majority of the Members of Parliament to  elect a new Prime Minister and form a coalition government.  Instead what we got was a cowardly caving in to the PM without consultation with the majority of the members of parliament or even any explanation after the fact of why parliament was dissolved.  The entire government’s legislative agenda was then cancelled by the shutdown (also unprecedented in Canadian history) to start over again from Square One.  Apparently there was nothing going on, like say a financial crisis or anything, that needed any legislative action.

        Of course, now that he has a majority of seats due to the distortions of the “First Past the Pole” electoral system those same pieces of legislation are of vital concern for the well-being of the nation and are being rushed through with little to no debate.  The merits of any particular proposed law are only evaluated as to their effect on the personal power of Dear Leader Harper.  Certainly, as is the case with the Mega-Prison and other law enforcement bills, evidence as to their effectiveness towards their stated goals is not a consideration: in this case, despite constant challenges, no evidence at all from anywhere in the world has been provided.  Thus we see why, in a rare act of truthful disclosure, memos have gone out to instruct government officials to refer to “The Harper Government” and not “The Canadian Government”.  It is a government for and by Dear Leader Harper: “Canadians” are not a consideration.

        • DoubleTee says:

          Nadreck is mostly correct, but (IMHO) the GG was in an impossible spot.  Prorogation was a poor decision; a coalition government might have worked, but as many Canadians pointed out at the time, it was not something they explicitly voted for.

  10. Mookerchief says:

    As a Brit, I have to say good for Jamaica. They should have done this decades ago. I can’t understand why any country would put up with this kind of interference from a former colonial power. I just wish we in the UK could get rid of the monarchy too. 

    • DoubleTee says:

      (See my note below about the concentration of power in the Prime Minister’s Office.)  Canadian PM Stephen Harper’s government recently reverted the names for the different branches of the Canadian Armed Forces back to their previous (pre-unification) designations:  Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army.  Note that the formerly-named Land Force Command is now called the Canadian Army…not “Royal Canadian Army” because the royal family have long memories of Cromwell’s New Model Army.

      • AlexG55 says:

        In Britain too the Army is the one branch of the military that isn’t “Royal”, but it’s not because of Cromwell. It’s for more complicated reasons.
        Basically, the Navy is “Royal” both as the Senior Service (ceremonially the most important due to Britain being an island) and because the ships were owned and equipped by the monarch even when other people could raise and equip army units.

        Certain units of the Army also have the “Royal” title because they have been granted it. For example, the Royal Artillery, Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Regiment of Scotland, Royal Army Medical Corps, etc.

        The Air Force is “Royal” because it was formed by the amalgamation of two “Royal” units- the Army’s Royal Flying Corps (given the “Royal” title by George V in 1912) and the Royal Naval Air Service (“Royal” because it was part of the Navy).

    • Wreckrob8 says:

      The message being put out by The Palace in response to Simpson Miller is that the choice of head of state is a matter for the government (not parliament) and the people. So that shouldn’t really be much of a problem in Jamaica or the UK should it? We got rid of the monarchy once before.

  11. Just_Ok says:

    Okay, first…IMF would serve people better than HRH?????

    Second, yah, let’s break ourselves into even smaller groups in this age of (almost) global communication.

    • Wreckrob8 says:

      And what does the nation state do for us?

      • Just_Ok says:

        better to ask what you do for the state.

      • guanto says:

        The nation-state makes it possible for me to travel and work all over the world with minimal effort and few restrictions as well as to contact an embassy abroad should I encounter serious problems. It also provides a comparatively stable currency for all my transactions private and public.

        Ask somebody from a place that doesn’t have a working government; or good diplomatic relations with the rest of the world; or a usable, central currency. Seriously inconvenient.

        • Wreckrob8 says:

          The nation state seems to be coming to the end of its useful life. It is an eighteenth/nineteenth construct. Globalisation and digitalisation require the creation of supranational legal frameworks which need to be offset by a corresponding shift downwards to the local level. Europe seems to be moving in this direction with the recreation of a united Europe of non-national ‘states’ even if people seem unsure of what they are doing at the moment. I don’t think it will be easy. Sometimes progress is inconvenient for everybody – we’ve not reached perfection yet.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          That’s like saying that a wall makes it easier for you to walk wherever you want because it happens to have a door in it. The wall is an obstruction; the door is a wee bit of leeway in the obstruction. Nation state; passport.

          • Wreckrob8 says:

            It’s a one way wall. If I am poor and born in rural India I don’t think either the Indian state or any embassy/consulate will assist me to move anywhere where I might be able to make an even basic living.’ What did the post WW1 German republic do to guarantee the value of it’s currency?

    • DoubleTee says:

      Link to Wikipedia entry on Prorogation in Canada.

      Cory argues that the root cause is royal governance, but it seems to me that the concentration of power in the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) is the main issue.

  12. Bradd Libby says:

    “…Canada’s complicity in the indefinite detention, torture and murder of Afghani war prisoners…”

    There are no Afghani war prisoners because the Afghani is the currency of Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan are Afghans.

    • MrJM says:

      Bradd, have you considered the possibility that Mr. Doctorow is referring to prisoners who speak the  Pashto language (also referred to as “Afghani” or “Afghani language”) and not those who’s country of origin is Afghanistan?

      Me neither, but as long as we’re being recreationally pedantic… 

  13. toyg says:

    I wonder if this move might impact their trade status, especially regarding the  Commonwealth. I know that membership is not tied to having the Queen as official Head of State, but surely realms enjoy some degree of privilege in some treaty or other…?

  14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctOHo4RzZEc

    You know if all you colonies get rid of the crown we’re going to look pretty silly being the only ones with a Royal Family. So quit it.

  15. Thomas Rand says:

    considering what the UK PM’s have done so far I say go for it Jamaica, disconnect yourselves from the UK asap before they force the social nappy on you too!

    The IMF will just destroy them & put them in debt just like they have with every other country.

    HRH is not all that great do you all for get that the name windsor is a fiction! Saxe-coberg Gother is the correct surname & the only 2 decent people in that family are Will’s & Harry & considering they effectively live outside/inside England in a separate state called the City of London should tell you more about what they do than what is seen!

    Add to that the fact that the real sovereigns of the UK are the people whom the monarchy we first set up to represent & then created a parliament which went on to create their own bills, statue’s & act’s just to enforce unlawful taxation then i really do think any country still under UK monarchical rule should find a disconnect path ASAP

  16. Camp Freddie says:

    The job of the head of state under the UK system is to rubber stamb whatever the PM wants.  It’s not the job of the monarchy to act as a check and balance or act like a president. At most, they exist to ensure that constitutional rules are followed. In Canada, I suspect the PM does have the constitutional power to dissolve parliament or whatever he did – so the GG’s job is to allow it.
    I wonder what Jamaica are going to replace the Queen (and her GG) with.  A president? And will the president be a real head of state like in America or France.It will be interesting to watch how they switch from the PM calling the shots to having a real head-of-state with the PM demoted to Nancy Pelosi/Francois Fillon (who?) status.

    Good luck to them anyway.

  17. Mujokan says:

    Cory’s argument would only make sense if he’s advocating replacing the Canadian Governor General with an elected President, I think.

    A better example might have been Kerr versus Whitlam, but generally the Governor General stays out of politics.

  18. lionelag says:

    Am I the only one who wonders whether, like in other Caribbean countries which have given up appeals to the Privy Council, whether this is a pretext for reinstituting the death penalty?

    • tortov says:

      That’s exactly what this is about.  Jamaica’s been trying to revive capital punishment, but the Privy Council keeps ruling against it.  While I’m generally all for republics over monarchies, republicanism in the Caribbean these days isn’t a happy, fuzzy thing.

  19. Jon Wasey says:

    As a British republican I am all too aware of the anomaly of an unelected head of state in an otherwise proper democracy. That said, it would seem we need to get a few facts straight: The Queen’s representative in any Commonwealth country is obliged to support the elected government in whatever they decide. The GG had no choice but to allow the closure of parliament in Canada. As in Britain, the Queen or her representatives have no actual power whatsoever. These sort of extremely outdated views of British, Commonwealth and many European democracies (that also retain a ceremonial monarch) are truly startling.

    • Nadreck says:

      The GG had the choice, and some would say the duty, of consulting with the leaders of the majority of the Members of Parliament as to how to proceed after the “Contempt of Parliament” motion against the minority government of Dear Leader Harper.  Instead the GG effectively stripped Parliament of even its last fig-leaf of power: that of acting as an electoral college for the 4 to 5 years reigns of a God-King.

      • Jon Wasey says:

        I disagree. The GG did not have the choice to make that decision. Similarly, the Queen does not have the authority to do so in Britain. Neither would anyone want her to. She is effectively an employee of the state with some theoretical privileges. If these privileges were ever actually used the outrage would firmly remind the Windsor’s of their place and may even bring about the end of the monarchy. Many years ago, Charles I found out the hard way that interfering in the affairs of Parliament will simply not be tolerated. This remains so.

        Am I really to believe that Canada actually turns to a representative of Mrs. Windsor in moments of crisis? I suspect that, as in Britain, most Canadians would be utterly disgusted at any political  intervention whatsoever from her or her GG. It is for that reason that I find the criticism of the GG in the article somewhat strange. By all means declare a Canadian republic but not for these ill thought through reasons.

  20. Ryan Lenethen says:

    I think the argument he is trying to make is that the GG isn’t really all that useful, and doesn’t really do anything except spend taxpayer money on trips etc… The few times the position might have had purpose, it basically didn’t do anything, so what is the point in keeping the position around, other than simply tradition.

    It is one thing to stay “out of politics” but when the ruling party does something that basically puts the government and Canada at risk, entirely for political reasons, you should do something. At the very least, do nothing, but write a strongly worded letter chastising the offenders.

    As it is, what function do they actually do, other than attend/host parties, and jet around. Anyway considering that the post is an APPOINTMENT, that is given by the PM, there is a bit of a conflict of interest there as well.

    • Mujokan says:

      Though they are (effectively) appointed by the Prime Minister — in this case of the party now in opposition I believe — they are technically the Queen’s representative, and the Queen isn’t elected. Constitutional monarchy was all about getting the monarch out of politics. Generally, the less the Governors General have to do with politics the better. The Governor General appointed by the previous government criticizing the policies of the current government would not be a good look. Quick route to the Queen getting the heave-ho.

      As for what they do, they are a bit like the Queen in the UK but without the dosh. They do ceremonial and diplomatic stuff.

  21. TokenCapitalist says:

    I’m always a fan of secession, in all it’s forms.

  22. Andrew Bennett says:

    As someone who actually lives in Canada, I would argue that the Governor General performed the role she should have, and demonstrated the benefit of her post.  The only reason I would suspect Cory mentioned this is because he likes Party A and not Party B.  The Canadian Parliament has been prorogued numerous times before, and surely for equally “political” reasons.  In 2006 a more left wing party did it.  But Cory didn’t mention that, did he?  Let’s look at the two examples given…

    Points to remember:
    -The Governor General in question was chosen by another Prime Minister of another (more lefty) party
    -In minority parliaments in Canada the party with the most seats has always chosen the Prime Minister

    Case 1: December 2008 – Financial Crisis. 
     
    After losing an election less than a month before, the opposition parties thought they should band together and choose their own PM.  The PM asked to prorogue (ie suspend) parliament.  The request was granted with conditions that parliament was to be resumed quickly and have a budget passed at that time.  During the break the opposition found Canadians were not in favour of forming a coalition to bump off the Conservatives.  Parliament resumed, a budget was passed.  

    Short version: Canadians got what the majority of them wanted, and a strange situation at a perilous time was averted.  Score 1 for the Governor General.  

    Case 2: December 2009 – The Olympics.  

    The Prime Minister asked to prorogue parliament until the Winter Olympics (which were in Canada) were complete.  Some may argue that this was done for political reasons.  Fair enough, could be the case. What difference did it make though?  All the same people were still in office when parliament resumed.  If the opposition really wanted to, they could have passed a motion of non-confidence and triggered an election.  They did not.  

    Short version: Canadians got to watch the Olympics without being interrupted by yammering politicians trying to score partisan points.  

    Conclusions:
    Case 2 is pretty irrelevant.  Case 1 may could have averted a catastrophe.  Sometimes people just need a few days (or weeks) to calm down and think straight…   …democracy is mob rule after all.

  23. Wreckrob8 says:

    The more populist/popular elements of the British press are belittling the whole thing, treating it more as a lapse in etiquette. How could you suggest such a thing in the Queen’s jubilee year? How fucking patronising/(racist?) can you get? Sometimes I hate this fucking country. Of course, amongst other things, the state wouldn’t seek to manipulate discourse, would it?

  24. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Buckingham Palace says, “…”the issue of the Jamaican head of state was entirely a matter for the Jamaican government and people.”

    • Wreckrob8 says:

      They maintain the facade of disinteredness. Others can be relied upon to do the dirty work. What else is patronage for? – we have the honours system to take care of things.
      The monarch is constitutionally barred from expressing political opinions – he/she personally appears politically defenceless. In a thousand years you learn a lot.

  25. I fail to see Cory’s logic. He doesn’t accuse the GG of actively doing anything. So how would Canada be better off without he GG?

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