August 24

Australian election: how Canada sees us

[This is a column written by the dynamic young Dominion Chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada, Robert (Bob) Finch. He recently met The Queen on Her Majesty's recent homecoming to Canada.  Mr.Finch describes this as a "truly special moment in his life". Australians will understand that. ]


I couldn't help but ask myself what on earth are Australian republican politicians afraid of when it comes to championing their supposedly-beloved cause?   In case you weren't aware, Australians are in the midst of a federal election campaign pitting Prime Minister Julia Gillard (a republican) vs. Tony Abott (a monarchist, who is the former executive director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy).

Recently, the Prime Minister announced that she favours a republic but only after The Queen's reign ends.  In typical fashion she qualifies her republicanism by saying Australians respect and admire Her Majesty.  (So, why exactly are you a republican again?) 

It's become obvious that republicanism is no longer the chic thing it used to be Down Under.  Those advocating an end to the time-tested monarchy have replaced their "I am a republican" mantra with "I am a republican, but…"  Call 'em republican-lites.

Of course, republicans in Canada (yes, we've got a few here, too) also cite the end of The Queen's reign as the time when they think Canadians will all of a sudden wake up and magically become republicans.  Their thinking is flawed.

Republicans in both Australia and Canada are counting on one thing and one thing only: an unpopular Prince Charles.  Their assumptions are based on the idea that people will reject Prince Charles as their king.  The problem with this strategy is simple: who says Charles will be unpopular when becomes King?

When the sad day comes and The Queen passes on, Charles will become King of the 16 Commonwealth Realms immediately.  Sorry, no time to debate and change the constitution in that brief second of transition.

Nobody can predict the emotional state of the people during this time.  No doubt, there will be profound sadness at the passing of the only Sovereign most of us have ever known. 

And, I suspect many people will have an enormous amount of sympathy for the Prince of Wales and will be impressed with the way the he and Prince William present themselves during what will surely be a difficult period of time. 

Ultimately, there will be less hostility and more sympathy – coupled with a "let's give this guy a chance" mentality. 

If republican politicans were true to their words, they would champion their cause now instead of putting it off.  In other words, don't talk the talk but rather walk the walk. 

Could it be that they are afraid that their cause is simply doomed to failure?  Yes.  They're scared.  So, they cling to a flawed strategy that pays lip service to the declining republican movement while allowing them to still boast, "I am a republican" – sorry "I am a republican, BUT…"




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