Long Live the Prince

A new member of the Royal Family was born yesterday, now third in line to the throne. We could say he is one of the few people in the world who knows what he will be after he grows up: King.

With all the hype and royalty watching, there will be the usual grumpy naysayers who say we should abolish the monarchy. They usually claim it is an archaic institution and not worth the money. I do not agree with them. I could say “in a perfect world.”

One aspect of government in a democracy is balance: giving balance to the various branches and arms of government. In a perfect world, there is balance, governments manage the land, the rights of the individual and the minority are not trampled. If one arm of government gets oppressive, one of the others, with the support of the people, can counterbalance. In this country the Prime Minister’s office wields the most power, including, in a majority government, control of the House of Commons. Much as we malign the Canadian Senate (only a minority of senators abusing their roles), it can work as a balance to the House of Commons. A PMO that had lost the support of the people would have a harder time making the usual threats to abolish the Senate, if the people agreed with the Senate.

With the Governor General, who is the Queen’s, and after her demise, will be the King’s representative, in Canada, also has that balancing role. The GG has the power to dissolve Parliament. This is done when the PM says so, essentially, giving the GG a figurehead role. But if the PMO went bad, lost the support of the people, and had become truly heinous, the people could appeal to the GG to dissolve Parliament so we could elect a new government. If the GG refused, we would have recourse with the monarch. If the monarch refused, we would be screwed.

It is nice to know, that the balance exists. We live in what is close to a perfect world in this country, much as we pick on our political institutions, and much as some of us become infuriated or dejected over government policies, we really don’t have much to complain about. Hopefully my points above continue to exist merely as fodder for a futuristic political intrigue Canadian novel.

Abolishing the monarchy, or the Canadian Senate, does not have my support. Modifying the Senate: yes.

As for the belief that the monarchy is expensive and not worth the cost, they are a huge tourist attraction. What do royal watchers, even the mildly curios, do? They spend money. They travel, they wait in crowds to view a Royal. They eat. They drink. They buy souvenirs. If they have traveled far, they will visit other tourist attractions. This is of great benefit to the tourist industries and their spin offs. Do not forget the security. All the overtime that gets paid to police, military, private security, and the spinoff industries of security devices and equipment. A chunk of this money, in sales and wages, is taxed back, so that ideally this money is much greater than what the government spent. The Royals are great at circulating money in an economy. Rather than abolish the monarchy, we should encourage them to make more trips, to make more official visits.
The little prince will visit one day.

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