Historically, it’s often the case that monarchies don’t end well – things went especially badly in Russia and France, for example.
Very few monarchies have stood the test of time, but the monarch of the United Kingdom has proven to be the one of the most talented at holding onto power, even if it’s only ceremonial.
It’s been long documented that the British Royal Family skilfully uses the press to protect its image and secure the future of the institution.
But White Rock’s Steven Woodward, who for 40 years has been passionate about severing ties between Canada and the monarchy, is turning the Royals’ favourite tool against them.
Woodward has spent thousands of dollars purchasing advertisements in the Peace Arch News over the past year, with the sole mission of persuading people to stand against Canada’s constitutional monarchy.
And while Woodward acknowledges that ending the monarchy’s role in Canada is a “huge task,” he notes that he’s “a pretty patient guy.”
In an interview with PAN, Woodward said his main issue with the monarchy is that Canadians aren’t allowed to vote for its head of state, currently Queen Elizabeth II.
“And to visit where the head of state lives, (Canadians) need a passport. And there’s a lot of discrimination against republicans,” Woodward said.
A republic is a form of government in which power is held by the people through their elected representatives.
Canadian republicans are discriminated against, Woodward said, because some professions require their employees to pledge allegiance to the Queen.
“I was never allowed in my life to be a member of the RCMP unless I gave a false oath of allegiance to the Crown. I can never be a federal or provincial politician without providing a false oath of allegiance. And also new Canadian citizens, they are not allowed to get citizenship unless they pledge allegiance to the Queen,” he said.
Woodward added that it’s not right that Canada’s head of state is selected based on genetics. If given audience with the Queen, something Woodward admits is unlikely, he said the first thing he would do is “express my offence to the genetically based political discrimination within the Canadian Constitution.”
Since November of last year, Woodward has purchased a number of print advertisements in PAN as a way to garner support for his initiative. It’s unclear if the Queen has viewed any of his “political advertisements,” but they vary in message.
Complete with a strategic selection of emojis, Woodward’s most recent advertisement took issue with an apparent quote from the Queen suggesting that political leaders “talk, but don’t do,” when it comes to climate change action.
“The carbon footprints of Queen Elizabeth, her family, and the infrastructure to support the Monarchy are extreme, and revealing about the hypocrisy of the British Royals’ concerns for the environment,” Woodward wrote in the ad.
Woodward said he has another advertisement scheduled to be printed that targets NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.
Singh has previously said that he doesn’t see the relevance of a monarch in Canada, yet he pledges allegiance to the Crown when he assumes office, Woodward said.
“So he’s either being dishonest with the citizenry of Canada or he’s giving a false oath. This is a chink in the Queen’s armour that I tend to exploit.”
On principle, Woodward said he would not give a false oath of allegiance to the Crown, no matter the circumstance.
“Most people say ‘I’ll just bite my tongue or cross my fingers when I promise to be in allegiance with the Crown,’” Woodward said.
“But for me, I don’t do that. And I wouldn’t do that for anything.”
Woodward said he would be happy to see a private members bill introduced in parliament that gives elected representatives the option of pledging allegiance to the Crown or, instead, make a promise to uphold the Constitution of Canada.
“It’s really simple.”
In a poll conducted this year by Research Co., 45 per cent of Canadians would prefer to have an elected head of state, while 24 per cent would rather keep the monarchy.
The Queen was not available for comment.