The queen of England has shut down the Canadian Parliament. It should be her last official act on Canada’s behalf. That she has the right to do so gives clear indication that Canada is not really a democracy or a self-governing republic. It is only a republic when the queen of England allows it to be a republic.

From the New York Times account:

With the approval of Canada’s formal head of state, Prime Minister Stephen Harper shut down Canada’s parliament until Jan. 26, seeking to forestall a no-confidence vote he was sure to lose.

The Times reports that Harper, who won reelection less than two months ago, acted after receiving the approval of the governor general, Queen Elizabeth II’s representative. Had his request been rejected, he would have been forced to choose between stepping down or facing the no-confidence vote on Monday.

The queen of England is Canada’s head of state.

Stéphane Dion, the Liberal Party leader and head of the opposition, had urged her to turn down Mr. Harper’s request.

“A prime minister cannot request that the Parliament be prorogued to avoid a confidence vote,” he wrote. “It would be an abuse of power on the part of the executive branch without precedent in the history of Parliament.”


Harper's request for suspension was unprecedented. No prime minister had ever asked for Parliament to be suspended so soon after an election, and no prime minister had asked for a suspension to avoid a confidence vote in the House of Commons.

I have no objection to a queen per se and think Michaëlle Jean, the governor general, born on side our waters, would make a great Canadian queen. So long as her power cannot and does not supersede that of elected officials and constitutional law. Canada is a North American country and its soul is torn between Europe and North America. Its fate is North American. It is time to let go Mother’s hand.

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