Sunday, May 8, 2011


Democracy means governance by & for the people. Democracy implies equal representation, equal opportunity for individual expression and equal opportunity for economic advancement. Is this the experience of the citizens of the world's republics? Are the citizens of the world's republics more free than those living in a constitutional monarchy? I would say no!

Republics are based on the myth that everyone is born equal. Well guess what, not all men ARE created equal! Some are more equal than others because of the advantages they have inherited. Having money means better health, better education, greater confidence & a better network of contacts who can provide opportunity & assistance. Republics are more characterized by the survival of the fittest than equality. If society advocates survival of the fittest, as a virtue, altruism comes at a premium.

Altruism is a hallmark of civilization and accounts for the success of mankind as a species. Society suffers from the lack of contributions from it's less able citizens. How many great statesmen, artists, entrepreneurs, teachers, inventors have been unable to realize their potential because of our system of inequality? For one thing, the social sciences are undervalued. A community that doesn't know it's history is more likely to repeat it. Civilization is built on the blocks of past achievements, experiences, shared through the generations. The arts are what enriches our life experience. Survival of the fittest reduces the human genome and therefore the variety that is the leaven of civilization, creativity, innovation.

It should not surprise anyone that republics are much more likely to experience dictatorship than any modern constitutional monarchy. Those who climb to the top and dominate are admired. This is viewed as success! As we move toward a completely secular, atheist society no one is answerable to anyone other than the gun or the wallet. I believe that a variety of forms of legitimacy for government can offer some balance.

A constitutional monarch can represent all the people, equally when they aren't beholden to contributors or a portion of the electorate. Peace, Order & Good Government is better for society than jolts from left to right based on the winds of the day. I would suggest that citizens living in the world's constitutional monarchies have enjoyed greater equality than those in republics. A constitutional monarch can present a more paternal/maternal, familial image of the state than the 'self made man' imposing his will on us until he is replaced by another. This more familial government has naturally been more likely to instigate programs to help the less advantaged in our society. Royal patronage of charities & educational institutions have resulted in better social equality in constitutional monarchies as well. Loyalty to a person or family is easier to instill in a multi-ethnic society than a particular philosophy. Canada's concept of monarchy from ancient times has been primarily of a familial, mutual responsibility style, rather than feudal. The absolute monarchs are as alien to us as any other dictatorship. Canada has always been multi-ethnic & had a variety of religious adherents. There is no social cohesion other than our mutual desire for freedom to be who we are and our respect for the rights of our fellow citizens to do the same. French/English, Catholic/protestant, common law/Quebec civil law, dualism has always been a feature of Canada. Our monarchy has, in part, made this possible. As we move away from our system, closer to the experience of a republic, there is increasing alienation of minorities, less populous regions & underrepresented polities. If Canada is to enjoy the kind of freedoms we once had & continue to evolve as a society, for the better, we must improve on the institutions we have.

A constitutional monarch can only be effective if they are seen to be a part of and working on behalf of their country. Canada needs our own, unique, resident, effective monarch. Lets have a royal commission study the best way to reform the succession to acquire our own Heir Apparent as soon as possible. Patriating our crown would be the logical final step in our historically peaceful, incremental move toward full independence, a process not dissimilar to the experience of each citizen.

The House of Commons can not properly represent Canadians in a first past the post electoral system. How can a majority of MP's represent Canadians when they are elected by a 40% of voters, themselves a fraction of the electorate? We need proportional representation and a system that encourages governments to incorporate the views of opposition members.

The Senate cannot be effective if it's members are appointed by the government of the day and organized into political caucuses. Senators would better serve Canadians if they where organized into regional caucuses, therefore providing an equal voice regardless of the population of each unique region. Senators should have terms long enough to span at least two government terms, say 10 years, but no longer. This would allow the members to provide that intended sober second thought. Electing a senator would encourage party politics in the chamber more so than we have now. It would create a competing house for the Commons and encourage legislative deadlock between the houses, each claiming legitimacy. I don't think this would be an improvement! Members should be appointed by the monarch from a short list approved by their respective provincial legislatures.

Democracy is only effective if the people are informed and active in that democracy. The federal government should use it's spending power to encourage national standards of education in government & Canadian history.

If democracy is government by & for the people then we need to limit the possibility of government by and for an individual & his coterie of associates. I believe the best chance for this is a variety of sources of legitimacy; elected, appointed, inherited, not unlike the organization of families & neighbourhoods. That system exists in Canada's constitution. Lets see what we can do to make what we have work better. We don't need to throw it out and adopt the system of some other country!