Questions about Canada

…from an ignorant American

The British monarchy. Why is Canada still connected with them? Is there an advantage to having a Queen? Is there an advantage to not having one?

Will Quebec ever secede or do they just mention it now and again to keep the rest of Canada on its toes? Aside from the French/English difference, why does Quebec want to leave anyways?

I came across an AOL board devoted solely to secessionist calls in the western provinces like Alberta and British Columbia. They said, (if I understood them correctly) that they put far more money into the government than they get back and Ontario holds all the power over them. Two or three posters even said they should join the United States. (Bad idea. Texas would never allow it unless they were broken up into smaller-than-Texas chunks.) :smiley: Is this true? And if so, is it common grumbling over there or was this just the loony fringe?

Will the three territories, Yukon, Northwest, and Nunavut, ever become full provinces? If so, what’ll they call the Northwest Territories?

If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Tradition. The monarchy doesn’t affect Canada’s sovereignty, but it conserves the old cultural ties to Britain.

Besides the old bird looks good on coinage…

  1. Nope, no advantages at all, I really see no point in it anymore. Its traditional sure but useless otherwise. I’d rather Canada being an independent nation.

  2. A while ago, as you may be aware, there was a vote to see if Quebec would leave Canada. They didn’t. I haven’t heard anything about Quebec leaving since. I guess its just because Quebec is kind of out of place compared to the rest of Canada. I’m going to get questioned on this later aren’t I?

  3. I believe this stems from some poor decisions made by former PM Pierre Trudeau (sp?). The western provinces were making a lot of money from oil drilling. Trudeau thought this was unfair to the other provinces that didn’t have to benefits of abundant oil. So he started to take away the money made by western oil drilling and gave it to the central provinces. As you could guess Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba got really pissed off. Money they had earned was taken away and given to other provinces for nothing. It made Trudeau loved by the central provinces and hated by the western ones (mostly Alberta). I agree that joining USA is a bad idea. No offence but I have a feeling you’d take all the resources and then seperate the nations again. Plus we’d get a bunch of rednecks moving up north and saying: “Where be all dem igloo thingies?”

  4. I’m pretty sure it has to do with population. There isn’t enough people up there to have a complete and stable governing system. Since we have elected officials charged with making decisons for political regions and since there are so few people compared to the size of the territories it makes it so one person would be responsible for oh say, 100km2. I think this is fairly right, but its mostly guess work so if I’m wrong someone please correct me.

I have to support the “tradition” answer. It doesn’t cost us very much to maintain links to the monarchy and changing the government to a republic (which I personally favour) would be a highly contentious and divisive process.

There is a perception that the French culture in being eroded through English and American influences, and this perception is being exploited by politicians who see secession as a means of becoming bigger fish in a smaller pond. The division isn’t just Anglo/Franco, but also Urban/Rural, with the city of Montreal generally voting against sovereignty and the rest of the province voting in favour. A clear majority vote in favour is not in sight anytime soon.

It’s true that “transfer payments” (federal taxation distributed among the provinces) are highest to Quebec (more than twice Alberta and BC combined) but the population of Quebec is more (though far from twice) than the combined population of Alberta and BC. Federal money being sent to where large numbers of voters live? Gosh, they’d never see that if they joined the Americans! It’s common grumbling, the likes of which you could find in any political subdivision.

Doubtful. The combined population of the three territories is about 100,000, spread across an area of 3.5 million square km (~1.37 million square miles). By contrast, Wyoming is downright crowded with one-fourteenth the size and five times the population. There isn’t a crucial need for making the local governments any more complicated than they are already.

Refs: Canada and Wyoming

That’s basically it. I think the ties to Britain are actually Canada’s way of saying, “We’re not just America North”. Plus, in the not too recent past Canada had much closer ties to the crown, and there are a lot of royalists in Canada who still care very much about the Queen and her family. But most of those people are now elderly and won’t be around much longer. So I suspect the drift away from the crown will continue.

As for separation… That sentiment seems to rise and fall with the general economic conditions in the country, occasionally flamed by some insanely stupid attempt at expropriation or control from Ottawa. Alberta’s last flirtation with Separation came when the Trudeau government tried to essentially expropriate Alberta’s oil reserves. After our Premier threatens to completely shut off the flow of oil to the east, the government backed down. But if they hadn’t, I think it’s quite possible that Alberta would have separated.

Quebec is the other hotbed of separation, and has come close several times to having enough people support it for a referendum to win. But it never seems to go much farther than that, because once people there start contemplating the specifics of what separation would mean, they don’t like it quite as much. For instance, there’s that matter of their huge debt to Canada, and the billions of dollars in annual transfer payment that provinces like Alberta give to them. Quebec nationalism seems to recede when issues like that rear their head.

“Where be all dem igloo thingies?”

Correctionin redneck that would be “Where’re y’all keep them igloo doo-dads”

“Where be” and “Dem” would get you expelled from redneck school and transfered to the university of jive.

As you can see from this thread, Canadians can be just as opinionated and polarized in their views as Americans. We’re just not as vocal about it, usually. :slight_smile: The OP is probably more suited to IMHO or GD than GQ. All of the answers you’re going to get are necessarily opinion.

Wearia: Canada is an independant nation. QEII is the Queen of Canada, as well as any other titles she happens to hold. If the UK threw Liz out and became a republic, it would have no bearing whatsoever on Canada. We’d have to throw her out all on our own.

Actually, I once raised this question on this board. One Canadian poster cited the law which said that the Canadian sovereign is whoever is the English sovereign. So if the UK became the UR, then Canada would lose its monarch as well.

How interesting. Here in Australia, the office of Queen of Australia is distinct to the throne of England. The Royal Style Act indicates that Queenie can different roles. This raises an interesting issue (well, interesting to some :)) as to whether a new person on the throne of England would have to be recognised as the King/Queen of Australia. For example, the English monarch must be a descendant of the House of Hanover and cannot be Catholic. Possibly this person could be challenged as King/Queen of Australia using the Racial Discrimination Act!

Anyway, back to your scheduled Canadian programming. :slight_smile:

This means if they ever do abolish the monarchy and elect, say, Mr Branson President, he’d become President of Canada automatically :smiley: ?
I’d love to bet on what Britain is to abloish first - monarchy or driving on the left. Whilst I think they’ll stick to both of it forever (there are good reasons, anyway), I’m inclined to bet on the latter.

Sam Stone said

That is very interesting. I was under the impression that Quebec could separate legally because they had never signed the charter that bound the various provinces together as a nation.

I just learned something new…

Okay, how about another question: What’s the difference between a Province and a Territory? I realize that Nunavut is Canada’s newest territory, but why wasn’t it made into Canada’s newest province?

Well for one thing, Quebec is bound to Canada by the original Constitution Act of 1867. There’s no legal means of separation for any province (but then there’s nothing that says it can’t be legal. It’s just not covered). I also think that Sam Stone is overestimating the likelyhood of separation by Alberta – there would have been a small amount of support for it but with no ethnic division, it’s exceedingly unlikely. It’s just not in the Canadian character. Yes, everyone hated Trudeau, but Canadians like being Canadian. Plus at the time you’re speaking of, Alberta was much less of an industrial power than it is now. There’s about as much chance now of Alberta separating from Canada as there is of Texas seceeding from the US (Alberta is, in many ways, Canada’s Texas).

Incidentally, until recently there was a Alberta separatist political party but they disbanded due to lack of support and conflicting ideoligies. Picture the Judean People’s Front (SPLITTERS!) and you’ll have a good sense of what they were like.

Ah, so true Tito. My redneck is a little rusty. I’ll be sure to try harder next time. :stuck_out_tongue:

Just to correct a minor hijack, each of Elizabeth II’s domains in theory selected her independently as the heir of their previous king, who happened also to be the king of the U.K. This is not quite so abstruse as it might sound – it was essential in 1936 to get the consent of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa to Edward VIII’s abdication and George VI’s accession, since the former was and the latter became king of each country separately.

Here are the two previous threads on the issue:

Can the King of England abolish the monarchy?

Elizabeth II, Queen of Belize

Little Nemo started the second one.

I commented on the issue at some length in both threads, so I’ll just say that I disagree with those who argue that if the U.K. abolished the monarchy for their purposes, it would also abolish the monarchy in Canada.

Under the Canada Act, 1982, the British Parliament gave up any and all power to legislate for Canada, on any subject:

Further, the Constitution Act, 1982 provides the only way to amend the Constitution of Canada, including the monarchy:

So I conclude that even if the U.K. Parliament abolishes the monarchy as part of the Constitution of the United Kingdom, that would not affect Elizabeth’s status as Queen of Canada. Only a constitutional amendment, enacted by the Canadian Parliament and the provinces could do so.

Well, trapped in Quebec as I am . . . question about good old Liz seems to have been covered fairly comprehensively. As for Quebec separating . . .

Well, the Partie Quebecois wants to. A fair number of older francophones wouldn’t mind, and some are actively in favour. Most anglophones don’t want to (although a fair portion of the rest of Canada wouldn’t mind seeing Quebec go, I think, just so we’ll stop whining about a distinct society :rolleyes: ). Most younger francophones and anglophones just wish their parents and the politicians would shut up about it so we can get on with the business of reviving the economy and getting a decent job.

Why does Quebec want to leave? Well, the French/English thing is about it. All the other issues have sprung from that. “Ontario got more money for Health Care? It’s cause they’re english, isn’t it?”, etc. Quebec wants preferential treatment due to being a ‘distinct society’, and the rest of Canada says “belt up and take your lumps like the rest of us.”

The PQ has been pretty quiet about separation lately, but according to the Montreal Gazette (which sadly, does not carry the Straight Dope, hence it’s moniker of Gazoo), our Premier, Bernard Landry, is planning on dragging out the platform again for election time.

So, how about taking a stab at my question above, Dae?

There’s really no practical difference in the governing of provinces vs territories – naturally people have the same rights there as in a province. The only thing I’ve ever seen is that each territory only has one senator vs. the 6-12 or so that provinces have. There’s really nothing else in the constitution about it.