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THE CANADIAN CROWN
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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Queen of Canada


The Canadian Throne


Queen Elizabeth II reads the Speech from the Throne and officially opens Her Canadian Parliament, Ottawa 1977. -Canadian Heritage

The throne, located in the Senate chamber, is made of oak and scarlet velour with a coat of arms engraved in the top of each chair.


The Canadian Senate

A bust of Queen Victoria in the centre arch, overlooks the throne.



SOVEREIGNS OF THE CANADIAN CROWN

  • KING GEORGE V 1910-1936
  • KING EDWARD VIII 1936
  • KING GEORGE VI 1936-1952
  • QUEEN ELIZABETH II 1952-TODAY
    THE STATUTE OF WESTMINSTER 1931

    The Statute of Westminster was the last of the Imperial Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain applicable to all the Dominions. It granted Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Australia, the Union of South Africa and the Irish Free State what amounted to independence.

    As in most advances in British constitutional practices, the Statute of Westminster did not constitute a clear break with the past. It merely only consecrated practices that were already firmly established. In the case of Canada, one could consider that the road to independence started with the grant, to the several colonies, of a legislature and eventually of Responsible Government (1847-48). Confederation (1867) crowned this period in so far as, for all intent and purposes, the provinces and the Dominion government obtained full control of all internal matters. The next sixty years were to see a gradual take-over by the federal government of the responsibilities in external sovereignty that had remained, to this point, in the hands of the government and Parliament of Great Britain.

    Important dates in the road to independence were the withdrawal of the British troops from Canada (1871), the negotiation of the Washington Treaty (1871) where for the first time a Canadian was included in a British negotiating team to sign a treaty on behalf of Canada, the establishment of the Supreme Court of Canada (1875), the creation of a High Commissioner's Office in London to "represent" Canada (1878), Macdonald’s refusal to send Canadian troops to the Sudan (1885), the last use of the veto (1873) and reserve powers by Britain (1886) under ss. 55-57 of the Constitution Act, 1867, and the establishment of the Department of External Affairs (1909). It was the First World War that accelerated the process to independence. The major colonies played a role of such magnitude that it could not be said, by the end of the war, that they were mere colonies of Great Britain. Hence, the international status of Canada evolved rapidly in the post-World War period: in 1919, Canada signed the Treaty of Versailles and was elected as an independent member of the League of Nations ( a Canadian, Raoul Dandurand became a President of the League in 1925); in 1923, Canada signed for the first time a treaty on its own (Halibut Treaty) and, finally in 1926, the Balfour resolution was adopted at the Imperial Conference. Arthur Balfour presented this resolution to the Imperial conference of the self-governing dominions. In it Great Britain recognized that the Dominions were "autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate to one another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations".

    Thus, by 1931, Canada and the other Dominions had become "autonomous communities... equal in status" to Great Britain. There were some problems resulting from the federal nature of Canada connected with the accession to independence. If Britain was not responsible for Canada any more, who would receive the power to alter Canada's constitution? A Dominion-Provincial conference in 1927, considered this issue. The federal Minister of Justice, Ernest Lapointe, proposed that Great Britain confer upon the federal Parliament powers to change the constitution subject to the rule, for ordinary amendments to the Constitutional Act, 1867, the consent of the majority of the provinces should be obtained, while for fundamental changes - the distribution of powers and minority rights (ss. 93, 133) - the unanimous consent of the provinces would be required. The provinces rejected the report of the Minister of Justice as too vague. Later, in 1930, the Premier of Ontario, G.H. Ferguson, presented a strongly worded memorandum expounding the Confederation pact theory by which there would be need of unanimous agreement between provinces before the Constitution Act be patriated to Canada. The Prime Minister of Quebec, Alexandre Taschereau, supported the views of Ontario. Consequently, the Statute of Westminster granted independence to Canada except in relation to the amendment of the constitution. Until 1982, all attempts to patriate the constitution were unsuccessful so that Canada continued to seek amendments in London and an element of colonial status remained in force (one might also add that appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council existed until abolished in 1949).

    Terms of the Statute:

    Any alteration in the law governing the Succession to the Throne would require the assent of the Dominion Parliaments as well as that of the United Kingdom.

    No law of the Parliament of Britain shall extend to any of the Dominions "otherwise than at the request and with the consent of that Dominion." Thus the Colonial Laws Validity Act, 1865 (28 & 29 Vict. c. 63) was repealed (s. 1).

    The Parliaments of the Dominions obtained "full power to make laws having extra-territorial operation." (s. 3)

    Art. 7 stipulated that "Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to apply to the repeal, amendment or alteration of British North America Acts, 1967 to 1930 (now renamed Constitution Acts), or any order, rule or regulation made thereunder."

    S. 7 (3) stated "The powers conferred by this Act upon the Parliament of Canada or upon the legislatures of the Provinces shall be restricted to the enactment of laws in relation to matters within the competence of the Parliament of Canada or any of the legislatures of the Provinces respectively."

    --Claude Bélanger,
    Department of History,
    Marianopolis College


    A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MONARCHY IN CANADA

    Canadians have lived with royalty ever since Henry IV, King of France, commissioned Pierre Du Gus de Monts as his viceroy and lieutenant-general in Acadie (or Acadia), the name given in the 16th century to lands now forming New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and parts of Quebec and Maine. This was in 1604. The treaty of 1763 saw a changeover from a French monarch to a British monarch.

    The question is sometimes raised today why French Canada should feel any loyalty to a British sovereign. One must remember that our monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is a direct descendant of Louis IX of France. He in turn was also the ancestor of Henry IV, the sovereign who first claimed Acadie. It must be remembered also, that the majority of French Canadians in Lower Canada (Quebec) voted for the confederation of 1867. Quebec has been the keystone for most of the majority governments in Ottawa and has given several prime ministers to head federal regimes.

    Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Canada, monarch of all Canadians, and she is Queen by the will of the people.

    -- The Monarchist League of Canada



    THE ROYAL STANDARD

    The Royal Standard is the official flag of Her Majesty The Queen in her capacity as Sovereign of Canada.

    The flag is split into four quadrants. The first quadrant represents England and contains three gold lions passant on a red field; the second quadrant represents Scotland and contains a red lion rampant on a gold field; the third quadrant represents Ireland and contains the gold harp of Ireland on a blue field; the fourth quadrant represents France and has three fleurs de lis on a blue field. The lower third of the flag contains red maple leaves of Canada on a white field.

    A blue disc containing the crowned letter 'E' (for 'Elizabeth'), encircled by a wreath of gold roses, is superimposed over the coat of arms.

    In Flag protocol, the Royal Standard is supreme. It must only be flown from buildings where the Queen is present. It flies above the Maple Leaf, Standards of other Royal Family members, and other provincial flags. It never flies at half mast.


    CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY IN CANADA

    The most notable features of the Canadian constitutional monarchy are:

  • Although Queen Elizabeth II is also monarch of the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom does not have any sovereignty over Canada (nor does Canada have any sovereignty over the United Kingdom).
  • In all matters of state, Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada is advised exclusively by her governments in Canada. No British government can advise the Canadian monarch on Canadian matters.
  • All executive power is theoretically reposed in the Queen, who is represented in Canada by the Governor General of Canada, the lieutenant governors of the provinces, and the territorial commissioners. Royal Assent is required for all acts of Parliament and the legislatures, which sit at her pleasure. Persons swearing allegiance to Canada, such as immigrants, soldiers, and parliamentarians, swear allegiance to Her Majesty as Queen of Canada and as the legal embodiment of Canadian sovereignty. The Commissioners of Canada's northern territories of Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories are appointed by the federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and are not formal representatives of the Crown. However, as the role of commissioner has become analogous to that of lieutenant governor the position has developed an informal role in regards to the Crown.
  • Queen Elizabeth II, as is common for all her other non-UK realms, assumes the role of "Queen of Canada."
  • The Queen is featured on all Canadian coinage as well as the twenty-dollar bill, and on postage stamps. Her portrait can usually be found in all government buildings, military installations, schools, and all of Canada’s embassies abroad.

    --nationmaster.com


    The Canadian Crown on Coin

    The effigy of our monarch has appeared on every Canadian coin produced by the Royal Canadian Mint since it first began producing Canadian coinage in 1908. Over the course of the Her Majesty's reign, a total of four different versions have appeared; the first in 1953, the second in 1965, the third in 1990 and the current version, introduced to Canadians in 2003.

    ********* 1953 ****************** 1965 *********

    ********* 1990 ****************** 2003 *********

    --The Royal Canadian Mint


    The Canadian Crown on Bank Notes

    Until 1970, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was on all Canadian Bank Notes. There were four series issued over the course of Her reign. Today, only the twenty dollar bill features Her Majesty.


    1954 Issue


    1978 Issue


    1986 Issue


    2004 Issue

    --The Bank of Canada


    The Canadian Crown on Postage Stamps

    On the issue of the first stamp featuring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, it was said, "It is felt that the issuance of these stamps will again reflect the respect and deep devotion of the Canadian people towards their Sovereign."

    ********* 1953 ****************** 1954 *********

    ********* 1957 ****************** 1963 *********

    ********* 1964 ****************** 1967 *********

    ********* 1973 ****************** 1973 *********

    ********* 1977 ****************** 1977 *********

    ********* 1987 ****************** 1990 *********

    ********* 2002 ****************** 2003 *********

    ********* 2003 *********

    --Canadian Postal Archives

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