Sunday, October 11, 2009

"De facto head of state"

. Sunday, October 11, 2009

Your Excellency,

Having just vigorously denied that we have a "head of state", I would like to now beat up on "de facto". Feel free to chime in, Piddingworth.

I know, Madam, that you are fond of insisting that "As the representative of the Crown in Canada, the Governor General carries out the duties of head of state, and therefore is de facto head of state."

But I'm afraid that is not what Letters Patent 1947, in fact, state or intend. So far as I can tell, you are lawfully authorized and empowered to carry out certain duties as representative of the Queen in right of Canada, that is it. It is simply a delegation of duties and responsibilities to the governor general, not a transfer of the monarch's authority or sovereignty. De jure or de facto nothing.

Madam, "de facto head of state" would mean that "for all intents and purposes", you are, in practice or actuality, head of state, as you have deliberately pretended in recent days, weeks, months and years. By doing so, you and your modern predecessors have thus managed to reduce Her Majesty — the Queen of Canada, after all — to a mere technicality.

Ah, I see. Her Majesty, that bothersome nuisance, may technically be the Queen, but really, effectively, truthfully — loyally! — it is the Governor General. Honestly, now.

Let us not split hairs, Madam, look at what the papers are saying about your office. The Ottawa Citizen on your self-promotion:

Carrying out the Queen's duties -- on the Queen's behalf, and in her absence -- does not turn the Governor General into a Queen herself. It's true that the Governor General performs more duties now than did governors general in the past, but that doesn't change the fact that she derives her power from the Crown. There can only be one head of state. Canada's Constitution Act is pretty clear about who that is: The Queen.
It is embarrassing that the prime minister as head of government should feel the need to clarify such a fundamental constitutional fact as: "The Governor General represents the Crown in Canada." As the editorial begins, "this is akin to issuing a statement reminding everyone that the sky is blue. The Queen's position as head of state is fact."

Not de facto fact, your Excellency, fact fact.

I have the honour to be Her Majesty's humble and obedient servant.

10 comments:

Death Bredon said...

Has anyone ever toasted a "de facto" head of state?

Tweedsmuir said...

Yes, in actual fact a great many pretenders to the throne have been toasted in the past, such as the de-throned Stuarts, but at least they had a once lawful and "God-given right" to rule.

But I take your point - LOL - that this is very much a different kind of pretender.

Swift said...

De facto in this case means "aspiring"

Anonymous said...

A comment by Richard Toporoski over at the TML message board:

"There is no problem with the Letters Patent of King George VI: they already say what Mr McKechnie wants them to say. The problem lies with officials at Government House who disingenuously interpret "We authorize Our Governor General...to exercise all powers and authorities lawfully belonging to Us" (section 2) as a "transfer" (their frequently-used term) rather than what it is, a delegation. The Letters leave no doubt whose the powers are when the King (section 15) reserves to himself and his heirs "full power and authority from time to time to revoke, alter, or amend these Our Letters Patent as to Us or them shall seem fit."

Piddingworth said...

This 'de facto' business is an invention that denies the objective reality of the Sovereign who is 'de jure' and 'de facto' our undoubted Queen and upon whom the Crown rests.

The letters patent are obviously not the transfer of that Crown and, unlike the Great Seal of Canada, it is not even in the temporary custody of the 'distinguished persons' who, from time to time, are appointed, on the advice of the Prime Minister, to the office of Governor-General.

The intended use of the term 'de facto' is to mischieviously obscure or even nullify the person who 'de facto' wears the Crown and thus advance a perception that the monarchy is an 'office' such as that of Governor-General or other like government position. It is an absurd contradiction. Without the Sovereign, the person, there can be no Governor-General; neither would there have been a Confederation in 1867.

The other term Government House uses to justify it's anti-monarchism is that of 'evolution'. Whilst this can and does apply to the increased (and potentially reversed) responsibilities 'in locum' for the Governor-General, it cannot in any way be interpreted as the Darwinian evolution of the Sovereign herself. Duties come and duties go but a Sovereign remains.

These things are meant, de facto, to obscure the essential reality of the monarchy within the Canadian constitution. The advisors and their cohorts at Government House know this and, following the directions of their former masters in and now outside government, have used them repeatedly with a view to asserting a convoluted 'fact' from an untruth.

This is anti-democratic political activity on the part of Government House and the kind of thing that undermines both the office and person of the Governor-General whose duty is to refrain from politics.

It is anti-democratic because these advisors at Rideau Hall know full well that to realise their dream of Canada without the monarchy requires the political will of every Parliament and legislature in the country; a can of worms that few politicians would wish to open.

It is 'political' because they are advocating a view of the monarchy, the Queen and of the Queen's Sovereignty that runs counter to public policy as established within the Canadian Constitution and that can only be properly challenged by political will.

Thus do they attempt the shell game of 'de facto' abolishing the monarchy by perception. 'It's not real but we'll make it look real'. This is sort of like the adverts on TV: 'You too can have a genuinely artificial Head of State for only $19.95 and, if you order now, we'll send you a replica of her distinguished husband!'

We have in Canada, it would seem obvious, a Government House ironically influenced and run by politically motivated anti-monarchists. They are embarrassing our country and bringing disrepute to the Governor-General and her office.

My commissioning as an officer in the Armed Forces states that it's source is 'Elizabeth the Second' appointing me and officer in 'Her Majesty's Canadian Armed Forces' and witnessed by 'our Governor-General' at 'our Government House' whose signature is at the bottom along with that of the Minister of National Defence. The then Governor-General was carrying out her responsibilities on behalf of the Queen, not in place of the Queen. The Governors-General are Commanders-in-Chief of the armed Forces but they are not the Governor-General's forces and she commands only by the Queen's pleasure.

The message communicated by the Government House of late is unfaithful and could be interpreted without much doubt as disloyal to the Queen; not to mention that the whole business, the website and defiant arrogance is rude to the Queen personally.

I implore the Prime Minister and the government to more than 'reign' these people in and restore an accurate and respectful advocacy for the Monarchy in Canada as well as that of the Queen's representative.

Beaverbrook said...

An unwritten rule on this blog is that the comments cannot be more thoughtful than the post itself, lest they shame the author.

Padre, I am humbled and indebted by your presence. I cannot possibly add to what you just articulated. Well said!

Piddingworth said...

Sorry Beaverbrook. I appreciate your kindness but I am only underscoring the excellent points you have made on this important matter. Thank goodness that you have provided a place for commentary about an institution without which we would be not only impoverished but, indeed, would not have the privilege of such high citizenship.

Christian-Joseph Lvowski said...

Canadien français vivant en Europe depuis 35 ans, je suis toujours étonné que les personnes avec qui je suis amené à parler de la monarchie constitutionelle du Canada ignorent, du moins pour la mjorité d'entre elles, que le chef d'Etat du Canada est bien sa Majesté la Reine Elizabeth II.J'imagine bien qu'un fort pourcentage de citoyens canadiens considère cet état de fait anachronique, mais l'Histoire suit son cours. Si les Canadiens souhaitent changer cette situation, qu'ils demandent un référendum national pour changer la constitution. En attendant, si Madame Jean est bien en sa qualité de Gouverneur général du Canada la représentante de la Reine, il n'en demeure pas moins que la couronne n'est pas posée sur sa tête quoiqu'elle en pense...
Dieu protège la Reine!

Beaverbrook said...

Merci de votre réponse, Christian, et vos sentiments fidèles. Les monarchistes sont même une plus petite minorité que les Canadiens français ces jours-ci, donc c'est une bénédiction effectivement pour trouver par hasard un monarchiste canadien français!

Anonymous said...

We have serious issues happening in this country that range from the homeless, gambling, sick children (Sick Children Hospital), unemployment, and much more. Who cares who the head of state is. Most Canadians do not care.

If The Queen is representing the United Kingdom at an event overseas as Head of State, then if would make sense that the Governor General represent Canada as the same. When the Queen makes a State Visit to France she does it as the Head of State of the United Kingdom and not Canada. When the Governor General visits countries overseas she represent Canada as Head of State. This makes the head of state MAJOR ISSUE solved. The Queen told the Right Honourable Daniel Roland Michener to represent Canada aboard as Head of State in 1967. Since then all Governors General have represented Canada as Head of State, receiving full State Honours. Even Governors General prior to this date were received and given State Honours in the USA.

Now go volunteer with sick children, visit a senior, or help solve a serious problem happening with in Canada.

Last, The Queen does an exemplary job as Queen of 16 countries. She, however, cannot represent all 16 countries. Her Majesty's roles are on advice of her First Minister and the Ministers in the UK Government. She has no power. Nor does a Governor General.

Help make Canada a better country and help those who need your time and attention.

Micheal Dethridge

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Christopher Hitchens: An Anglosphere Future
Andrew Cusack: Republicanism is a traitor's game
DIAMOND WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
Courageous Patrician: Rt Hon Ian Douglas Smith (1919-2007)
The Last Rhodesian: What began with Rhodes and ended with Ian?
Gentleman Journalist: The Lord Baron W.F. Deedes, 1913-2007
Not Amused: Blair's sinister campaign to undermine the Queen
Loyal Subject: Queen Elizabeth: A stranger in her own country
Reverence Deference: Bowing and Scraping Back in Tradition
Rex Murphy: Kennedy, Churchill, Lincoln - The rousing bon mot is no more
Gerald Warner: Don't shed a tear for Diana cult in its death throes
The End of Grandeur: Rich, chincy Canada puts Strathmore on the blocks
Confessions of a Republican Leftie: "The Queen charmed the pants off me"
The King's Own Calgary Regiment: Cpl. Nathan Hornburg is laid to rest
The Royal Gurkha Rifles: Prince William grieves the death of Major Roberts
Queensland Mounted Rifles: Trooper David Pearce, 41, killed in Afghanistan
The Order of Canada: 100 investitures later, Canada's highest honour turns 40
Prince Edward on Prince Edward Island: Troop's link to monarchy important
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN: Unveils the UK Armed Forces Memorial
Great Britain: "A rotten borough with a banana monarchy" - by Europhile
FADE BRITANNIA: THE UNION OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND IS OVER - Simon Heffer
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Remembering 'Smithy': An obituary tour de force by Andrew Cusack here, here and here.
NOT AMUSED: Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Quebec not invited to Quebec's tercentenary