October 1, 2004 - The republican advocacy group Citizens for
a Canadian Republic welcomes the decision by Prime Minister
Martin to extend by one year the term of Canada's de facto head
of state, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. Obviously, Madame
Clarkson's experience will be an asset if she's called upon to
address the potential complexities of minority government.
2-year old non profit organization is calling upon the Prime
Minister to use this period to act decisively on last year's
recommendations of the Standing Committee on Government
Operations and Estimates. In its report, titled
General of Canada Role, Duties and Funding for Activities, the
committee called for Parliament to take several actions,
1) Conduct a
review and initiate a debate on the mandate, constitutional
role, responsibilities, and future evolution of the Office of
2) Conduct a
review of the process for selecting and appointing the Governor
3) Take the
necessary measures to improve its financial transparency and
recommendations tie into Canadianizing the head of state and
CCR's goal of promoting its benefits is explained by the group's
national director, Tom Freda.
interest in the advice of the parliamentary committee is
strategic", he points out. "Obviously, we'd like to
see an elected Canadian replace the Queen as Head of State and
so far, reality dictates that a reformed Office of the Governor
General will likely evolve into that role".
"At the same
time", he adds, "we want the transition from
constitutional monarchy to parliamentary republic to be as
simple and effortless as possible and the way to do that is to
immediately deal with the intricacies of how we define the role
of our future heads of state and how we go about selecting them.
All this can be done by Parliament, without constitutional
amendment and would be a first step towards making the position
wholly Canadian and democratic. The final step, which would
require constitutional amendment, could then be a simple
question of who we want to fill the job as head of state, the
Queen or our already reformed and democratized Governor
and political science author Randall White, PhD agrees.
lost their 1999 republican referendum mainly because they
couldn't agree on the selection formula of the new head of
state", he says. "Here, we resolve that issue in
advance so that, for instance, when the Queen's reign ends and
Canadians are faced with the prospect of Charles III becoming
the next King of Canada, a simple Yes/No question in a quickly
arranged referendum could be all it takes for the public to
decide if this is the direction Canada should take."
The time period
of 150 days for Parliament to act on the committee's
recommendations (from April 2, 2004) was interrupted by the
general election in June and thus, a real possibility exists
that the issue may not receive the attention it deserves in the
House of Commons. Consequently, CCR will be lobbying all Members
of Parliament to help make sure it's addressed fully.