As with Australia, the Crown is integral to the Canadian nation. In his sermon which we introduced in an earlier column, Fr Janzen says the Crown is an integral part of “who we are as a nation and a people” This is central to our understanding of the role of the Crown in our constitutional systems. He says:
“However, the Crown is more than just an historic link to our past; it is an integral part of who we are as a nation and a people. The Canadian Crown represents all of the people of Canada, as well as the authority of our governing institutions. The Crown is above and outside of party politics, able to represent all Canadians and not just a particular political party or faction. It joins together the component parts of government: executive, legislative and judicial.
The power to govern resides with the people of Canada, represented by the Crown, and is delegated to the political party which holds the support of an elected majority in Parliament. Our laws are enacted and administered in The Queen’s name, and all judicial proceedings are conducted in the name of the Crown. When the Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers, judges and generals bow to the Monarch or her representative, it is a reminder that they serve the people of Canada; and that all stand equal before the foot of the Throne, regardless of power, position, or wealth.
The Crown is an expression of collective emotion and national pride which gives citizens a sense of real identity as Canadians and provides a real and visible link to the past. There is a mystique and prestige which surrounds the Monarchy which cannot be duplicated by any other institution and its value is difficult to quantify.
The fact that this institution represents an historical lineage and tradition stretching back for over a thousand years does much to give it legitimacy.”
Father Janzen points to the fact that the emotional support many have for the Crown should not make us overlook the fact that there are sound practical constitutional reasons for preferring the present constitutional system. He observes:
“Nonetheless, it must be admitted the deep feeling which many people hold for the Monarchy is often a thing of the heart rather than of the head and ceremony helps to express this.”
Until next time,