The Prime Minister’s Office put out a press release on the happy news today,
Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement on the engagement of His Royal Highness Prince William and Miss Kate Middleton:
“On behalf of all Canadians, I wish to congratulate His Royal Highness Prince William, the grandson of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, on his engagement to Miss Kate Middleton.
“It would be an honour to welcome Prince William and his bride to Canada in the future and show them the special warmth and cherished traditions that are reserved for members of the Royal family.
“Once again, warm wishes on behalf of all Canadians on this special day.”
Michael Ignatieff responded to the news today when asked,
“They’re such a nice young couple, they look great, they look happy,” Ignatieff said. “Reminds me of when I got engaged. It’s nice.”
However, his views on the broader institution of the monarchy was the subject of a previous op-ed. He wrote about his wish to see the monarchy fade out,
This schizophrenia perfectly expresses the conflict between republican and monarchical principles at the heart of the constitution.
What happens now depends not on what the palace wishes, but on what the public comes to believe is right. My fervent wish is that it will regretfully but firmly decide enough is enough.
When asked about his leader-of-her-majesty’s-loyal-opposition stance, he quipped “Right now, Canadians are worried about lines for flu shots, not lines of succession.”
The NDP has not issued a statement but the NDP’s Pat Martin had the following to say (caution, it’s the Winnipeg Free Press):
“I’m more interested in the Osborne family than the royal family,” Martin quipped.
He followed it up by saying that he actually thinks Canada should ditch the monarchy long before William gets near the throne.
When the current Queen dies, it will be “time for Canada to grow up,” Martin said.
He quickly added he wasn’t sure whether that was the position of the NDP or just himself.
But deputy leader Thomas Mulcair, sitting at Martin’s side, said he agreed.
The NDP has previously shown hostility towards the idea of the Canadian Royal Family and the Queen as Canada’s head of state. At a previous policy conference in 2006, the NDP was to debate the following policy resolution,
WHEREAS under the actual Constitution, Canada is a monarchy whose Chief of State is Queen Elizabeth II; and
WHEREAS under the actual Constitution Queen Elizabeth II is the Chief of the Canadian Executive and the Commander in Chief of the Canadian Armies; and
WHEREAS under the actual Constitution, the Governor General is the representative of Queen Elizabeth II in Canada; and
WHEREAS Queen Elizabeth II was not born nor has ever lived in Canada; and
WHEREAS in fact, the actual democratically elected Chief of state, Canadian citizen and residing in Canada, is the Prime Minister of Canada; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP conduct an active campaign so that Canada becomes a Republic; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NDP conduct an active campaign to redefine the role of the Executive within the Canadian Constitution.
Yet, Jack Layton himself seems to be monarchy-positive,
Well, I think the idea of having a constitutional monarchy rather than a republic has worked pretty well for Canada. I do believe that Canadians struggle, as the years go by, with the issue of relevancy.
On the other hand I think we’ve had Governor-Generals and certainly our current Governor-General would be a good example, of someone representing the Crown- I don’t mean an individual but the phenomenon, the concept of our collective statehood- in kind of an interesting way.
I don’t hear from Canadians the sound of a stampede to make a change. It comes up from time to time. I feel that we’ve got precious amount of debate time and work time in parliament and there are a lot of issues that come before reform to the constitutional monarchy.
I won’t even ponder the Bloc’s position on this. Have Canada’s opposition parties largely shrugged off the Royal Family? Does their indifference reflect Canadian sentiment about our Queen and her heirs? Why have they given such a clear path to Conservatives to speak on behalf of this country’s tradition and identity?