Monarchy of Canada – What Wikipedia Has to Say
Republished from The Marxist-Leninist Daily – September 19, 2022
While the Wikipedia description of the Monarchy of Canada seems accurate enough, what does it even mean when it comes to the claim that we elect our representatives and thus have a representative democracy but the people who represent us owe their allegiance to the monarch? The Wikipedia explanation puts it this way:
“While the power for these acts (of the executive) stems from the Canadian people through the constitutional conventions of democracy, executive authority remains vested in the Crown and is only entrusted by the sovereign to the government on behalf of the people. This underlines the Crown’s role in safeguarding the rights, freedoms, and democratic system of government of Canadians, reinforcing the fact that ‘governments are the servants of the people and not the reverse.'”
“The monarchy of Canada is Canada’s form of government embodied by the Canadian sovereign and head of state. It is at the core of Canada’s constitutional federal structure and Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. The monarchy is the foundation of the executive (King-in-Council), legislative (King-in-Parliament), and judicial (King-on-the-Bench) branches of both federal and provincial jurisdictions. The king of Canada is Charles III.
“Although the person of the sovereign is shared with 14 other independent countries within the Commonwealth of Nations, each country’s monarchy is separate and legally distinct. As a result, the current monarch is officially titled King of Canada and, in this capacity, he and other members of the royal family undertake public and private functions domestically and abroad as representatives of Canada. However, the King is the only member of the royal family with any constitutional role. While some powers are exercisable only by the sovereign, most of the monarch’s operational and ceremonial duties (such as summoning the House of Commons and accrediting ambassadors) are exercised by their representative, the governor general of Canada. In Canada’s provinces, the monarch in right of each is represented by a lieutenant governor. As territories fall under the federal jurisdiction, they each have a commissioner, rather than a lieutenant governor, who represents the federal Crown-in-Council directly.
“As all executive authority is vested in the sovereign, royal assent is required to allow for bills to become law and for letters patent and orders in council to have legal effect. While the power for these acts stems from the Canadian people through the constitutional conventions of democracy, executive authority remains vested in the Crown and is only entrusted by the sovereign to the government on behalf of the people. This underlines the Crown’s role in safeguarding the rights, freedoms, and democratic system of government of Canadians, reinforcing the fact that ‘governments are the servants of the people and not the reverse.’ Thus, within Canada’s constitutional monarchy the sovereign’s direct participation in any of these areas of governance is normally limited, with the sovereign typically exercising executive authority only with the advice and consent of the Cabinet of Canada, and the sovereign’s legislative and judicial responsibilities largely carried out through the Parliament of Canada as well as judges and justices of the peace. However, there are cases where the sovereign or their representative would have a duty to act directly and independently under the doctrine of necessity to prevent genuinely unconstitutional acts.”
To grasp what this is all about, let us see what the “doctrine of necessity” is about. From the vantage point of the working people of Canada and Quebec and the Indigenous peoples, Inuit and Métis, this “doctrine” is vile. Furthermore, it is not an exception but the rule. It reveals the essence and aim of Canada’s constitutional order. At a time when laws are frequently passed which permit the unfettered use of the executive powers and everything has become a permanent state of exception, government of police powers has become the new normal.
About the “doctrine of necessity,” Wikipedia explains the following:
“The doctrine of necessity is the basis on which extra-constitutional actions by administrative authority, which are designed to restore order or attain power on the pretext of stability, are considered to be lawful even if such an action contravenes established constitution, laws, norms, or conventions. The maxim on which the doctrine is based originated in the writings of the medieval jurist Henry de Bracton, and similar justifications for this kind of extra-legal action have been advanced by more recent legal authorities, including William Blackstone.”
Bracton, aka Henry Bretton lived from 1210 to 1268 so he was definitely addressing medieval concerns and the struggles for power under those conditions. The “more recent” legal authority, William Blackstone, was not so recent either, having lived from 1723 to 1780. He wrote the famous four volume opus titled Commentaries on the Laws of England which continues to be the most influential treatise on English Common Law. Besides English Common Law being imported in toto into Canadian law when the British North America Act was imposed on Canada in 1867, all of which remained in force in the patriated version in 1982, it also guided the writers of the American Constitution which explains why, even though the U.S. is a republic, not a monarchy, the system of government and rule is also based on prerogative powers which direct the presidential, legislative and judicial orders of government.
According to Wikipedia, thanks to the way the monarchy works, “the Crown primarily functions as a guarantor of continuous and stable governance and a nonpartisan safeguard against abuse of power. The sovereign acts as a custodian of the Crown’s democratic powers and a representation of the “power of the people above government and political parties.”
The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada urges its readers to convoke study groups which delve into what the monarchy is in Canada and the essence of the constitutional order it enforces. An understanding of who controls the decision-making process in a country and how the decision-making power is exercised is key when the working class and people from all walks of life provide themselves with suitable guides to action when seeking justice and redress.
The Party Press will also continue to provide pertinent information on this matter. The Wikipedia entry “Monarchy in Canada” is not a bad place to start along with the expressions of the experiences and statements from all sides of the political spectrum. Not surprisingly, the Wikipedia explanation does not provide answers to the pertinent questions when inquiring about monarchy in Canada. Those answers will come from those posing the pertinent questions when they seek solutions to the problems they face as individuals, collectives and members of society. Most importantly, the answers will be understood by all the human persons who are keen on uniting in action with all others to humanize the natural and social environment in favour of the peoples of the world.