FLAWED APPOINTMENT PROCESS
Toronto, ON, May 29, 2003 - Citizens
for a Canadian Republic,
the organization advocating the replacement of the Queen as
Canada’s head of state with one selected by Canadians, is
asking the public today to closely examine the current process
for choosing our Governor General.
National Director of the non-partisan, non-profit group says,
"The recent resignation of Australia’s Governor General
should be a warning that unless we reform our similarly
undemocratic system of selecting our acting head of state,
Canada could be facing a comparable fate".
Australian Governor General Peter
Hollingworth, a former Church of England Archbishop, resigned on
Sunday after an independent inquiry found that during his tenure
as Archbishop of Brisbane, he allowed a pedophile priest to
remain in the ministry. The fallout from a legal case initiated
by a woman, now diseased, who alleged that Mr. Hollingworth
raped her 40 years ago was also a factor in his decision. That
case was dismissed last Friday.
According to Greg Barns, National
Chairman of the Australian Republican Movement from 2000 to 2002
and National Campaign Director of the 1999 referendum, "The
Hollingsworth saga could have been avoided if Australia had
voted in the 1999 referendum to become a republic instead of
voting to stay with the current system. In a republic the
'skeletons in the cupboard’ of any candidate for the office of
President, such as those that emerged in the last 12 months
about Mr Hollingsworth, would be revealed by a transparent and
democratic election process".
Greg Barns will be visiting Toronto on
the evening of June 17 to address members and supporters of Citizens
for a Canadian Republic about Australia’s republican
movement, its future and what Canadians can learn from it.
Canadian views on the role of the
Governor General and the monarchy were revealed in an October
4th, 2002 Ipsos-Reid poll. It reported that if ties to the
monarchy were severed, thirty-nine percent of Canadians would
prefer a symbolic Governor General with limited responsibilities
who is elected to become Canada’s new official Head of State.
The same poll, taken on the eve of a Golden Jubilee Royal visit,
also indicated that fifty-eight percent agreed that the Royal
Family should not have any formal role in Canadian society and
that they are simply celebrities and nothing more.
"Whether Canadians will prefer a
directly or indirectly elected head of state is a question that
will have to be addressed", says Tom Freda. "But the
larger question remains; why does a nation like Canada, advanced
in so many ways, still cling to an archaic and secretive
appointment process where only the Prime Minister selects the
"In light of the flood of Prime
Ministerial appointments due later this year", he adds,
"perhaps Canadians will be thinking about whether this is
the kind of Canada they want".