The Queen of Canada visits. We’re delighted to see her. And then she leaves.
It’s odd, isn’t it? Our Head of State resides in a distant land. The French Head of State lives in France. Where else? The Israeli Head of State lives in Israel. That’s the norm.
Sure. But remember what the Queen said when she touched down in the Maritimes. “I’m glad to be home.” Home?
I consulted Wikipedia. It’s true. The Queen resides in England, but is legally, “at home” in Canada. This is her country.
She’s also “at home” in this legal sense in fifteen other countries. We share our Monarch with fifteen other “realms”! Wikipedia is firm on this point. She’s not just “at home” in those fifteen other places. She’s “equally at home.”
And then there are the other bits and pieces of the old Empire-Commonwealth, the ex-colonies and so on that don’t have the status of “realm.” The Queen’s not said to be “equally at home” in them. But she visits. She has obligations. She belongs.
Spell it all out and you begin to see why some people are suggesting that Canadians break away and establish our own Lives-In-Canada-Full-Time Head of State.
It would be a mistake. The present system works well. In the Queen’s absence the Governor General assumes her obligations. It’s been our system for a long time. In breaking away we’d be cutting loose a lot of history.
In the 1960s Canadians threw out the flag under which our forces served with distinction in two world wars. We changed the name of our country. (We used to be the Dominion of Canada.) We changed the name of our national Parliament. And in 1982 – this was the worst crime – a true crime against history – we changed the name of our founding Constitution.
Dear friends, think! In the entire history of the human race there’s been only one country with the right to call its founding constitution, the British North America Act. The constitution remains; it’s still the law of the land. (It’s been amended, but only in minor ways.) It’s now called the Constitution Act.
Any country can have a Constitution Act.
[From The Idea file]