A new king, old symbols that might be left behind

The death of Queen Elizabeth II shocked Canada as much as the rest of the world. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he regretted “losing one of them [ses] Favorite People”. The monarchical protocol was settled up to the quarter turn, and the new King Charles III immediately ascended the throne. However, if this change of government only results in a name change in Canada, the symbolism associated with the new monarch could be checked on the other side , predicts an expert on the issue.

Ministers and MPs will no longer have to take another oath to His Majesty the King than to Her Majesty the Queen in the coming days. Federal laws do not need to be changed. Parliament is not dissolved and the governor-general remains in office. “King Charles has the same legal personality as Queen Elizabeth II. It is essentially a levy, a legal entity that remains. This avoids all these aspects of the transition,” explains Philippe Lagassé, an expert on the Westminster parliamentary system at Carleton University.

The same goes for passports and coins bearing the Queen’s image, whether coins or $20 bills. These coins remain legal tender, the Royal Mint confirmed last year. The banknotes will be in circulation “for many years to come,” the Bank of Canada has warned. Later it will be up to the finance minister to approve the new chart.

However, Canadians have shown less affection for Charles than for his mother for months. A poll by Angus Reid in April found that 29% of Canadians had a favorable opinion of the prince before he became king, compared to 63% of Queen Elizabeth II.

“Regarding the symbolism, decisions have to be made,” says Professor Lagassé. Canada will not deny the monarchy. Only 51% of Canadians would like it, according to Angus Reid. Most importantly, such a constitutional amendment would require the approval of both houses of Parliament and all provinces and territories. These, as well as the indigenous communities, would follow in the wake of other demands.

The debate about the place of the monarchy in everyday life in Canada, according to Mr. Lagassé, could therefore be revived when the mourning period is over. “The government might tell itself it can’t change the monarchy but choose to make it less visible. »

By asking King Charles III. fails for its currency, he cites as an example. Or by following suit in Quebec, where the prime minister himself delivers his opening address in the National Assembly while the governor-general recites the Speech from the Throne in the federal legislature. Queen Elizabeth II herself recited it twice, in 1957 and 1977. Canada could also waive its citizens from taking the oath on Her Majesty, as Australia has already done. Netizens also reported on Thursday that the oath of citizenship under King Charles III. had been modified.

Philippe Lagassé notes that Justin Trudeau’s government was less monarchical than that of his predecessor Stephen Harper – who notably distributed thousands of medals to Canadians to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

National mourning and ceremony

Pondering Canada’s bond with its new king is far from over. The Trudeau government is still deciding on the protocol for the next few days.

A 1968 regulation allowed the government to declare the day of the sovereign’s funeral a public holiday. The prime minister must also address parliament, which is in recess until September 19, to offer his condolences and recognize the new king’s accession to the throne.

Prime Minister Trudeau, who canceled his political announcements scheduled for Thursday and Friday, was visibly moved an hour after the Queen’s death was officially announced. “I have a hard time accepting that the last time I see her will be the last. I’ll miss his talks a lot,” he said. “She was interested, interesting, engaged, curious, funny. She advised me a lot, helped me a lot,” said Mr Trudeau, who first met her as a child when his father was prime minister. “Canada mourns. »

Queen Elizabeth II will have reigned for more than 70 years, seen 12 Canadian prime ministers and made 22 official visits to Canada. During her last, in 2010, she said her mother once referred to Canada as a second home. “I am pleased to report that this is still the case,” she told Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

A ten-day period of mourning was declared. The flags were taken down. Buildings such as parliament, museums, town halls and the seats of the legislative assemblies are illuminated in a royal blue hue.

A national memorial service will be held at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on the day of the funeral in London. This is preceded by a commemorative parade. An overflight closes it.

Governor General Mary Simon signed the book of condolences at Rideau Hall on Thursday evening. “Right up to her last days she remained committed and devoted to her country, the Commonwealth and her family. With his departure, we mourn the end of an era,” said the representative of the monarchy in Canada.

The incumbent leader of the Conservative Party, Candice Bergen, mourned the death of the Queen “with unspeakable sadness” and spoke to the new King Charles III. her condolences, “may he reign long”. The party said it was looking for a “reasonable and respectful” way to replace the rally planned for Saturday to announce the election of its new leader.

Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet, whose party is opposed to the monarchy, tweeted his condolences to the British people and royal family but, like Parti Québécois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, believed that the flags were pulled to half-staff by Québec. A bit too much”.

For his part, New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh praised the sovereign’s “life of history and duty”.

With David Noel

To see in the video

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