Monday, May 19, 2008

Victoria Day and the Cost of the Monarchy

Today is Victoria Day in Canada celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday. The cost of the monarchy can be a lively subject in Britain, but to be honest, I’m not sure what it costs Canadians.

The Queen’s representative in Canada is the Governor General. This position is largely ceremonial, but it does cost us money. The amounts are not terribly large when spread out across all Canadians, but it is many millions of dollars.

Our previous Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson, went on many trips with a few dozen of her favourite artists costing Canadian taxpayers millions. I was never too clear on what value this brought to Canada, but perhaps there were some diplomatic benefits.

What are the benefits to Canada of the role played by the Governor General and the rest of the monarchy?

1 comment:

  1. Off the top of my head, there are 3 good things that come from the GG and the Monarchy.
    1. Somebody to put on our money. Seriously. In this country, we tend to not look up to politicians to put it mildly. I'd hate to see the arguments over whose head gets to be on our minted coins for example. Yikes. Just go down the list of the CBC's "Greatest Canadian" list? Maybe Don Cherry would end up on the penny or something.
    2. The GG is somebody who can do feel-good ceremonial tasks without it sucking time away from the likes of the PM.
    3. Canada defines itself by what it is not: We are not the US. Having the monarchy helps this notion and thus contributes to our self identity.