Canadian MPs overwhelmingly reject effort to ditch UK crown

Opposition motion urging Canada to cut ties with the British monarchy is shot down in 266-44 vote in parliament.

Profile of Trudeau and King Charles wearing black suits, Trudeau taller than the king smiling.
King Charles III shakes hands with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Buckingham Palace in London, September 17, 2022 [Stefan Rousseau/Pool via Reuters]

Canadian MPs have rejected an attempt by a Quebec opposition party to push the country to cut ties with the British crown, voting down the Bloc Quebecois’s parliamentary motion by an overwhelming margin.

The tally in the House of Commons on Wednesday was 266 against, to only 44 votes in favour.

The effort stood little chance of success as Canada — a constitutional monarchy that has King Charles III as its symbolic “head of state” — requires the consent of both houses of parliament and all of its provinces to split from the United Kingdom’s monarchy.

But Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said earlier this week that the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II provided an opportunity for Canadians to “free themselves” from the crown, an institution he described in a statement as “dilapidated”.

“It’s an anachronism. It’s a coat of paint in a living room that is starting to fade in the corners,” Blanchet said during a news conference on Tuesday ahead of a debate on his party’s motion.

The push comes amid a debate in several Commonwealth realms, especially in the Caribbean, over the future role of the British monarchy in the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth’s death in September.

The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda said in September that the island nation planned to hold a referendum on the matter in the next three years, while similar conversations have gained steam in Jamaica.

Barbados in November of last year also renounced the queen to become a republic.

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday rejected the Bloc’s push, saying in parliament that his Liberal Party was focused on more pressing topics.

“Canadians are concerned by the issues they are facing, whether that’s climate change, global instability or the cost of living. And that’s what we choose to discuss,” Trudeau said.

An Ipsos poll released in September showed that Canadians were divided over the monarchy’s future role in the country, with 54 percent saying they agreed that Canada should “end its formal ties to the British monarchy” in the aftermath of the queen’s death.

Forty-six percent disagreed with cutting relations to the crown, the same poll found.

Source: Al Jazeera