Monarchist League of Canada
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The heraldic badge granted to
the Monarchist League of Canada.
|Focus||Monarchism in Canada|
The League focuses on three areas: education, advocacy, and research. Local branches, many under the patronage of lieutenant governors, complement these areas of focus by acting as a grassroots rallying point for members.
The Monarchist League of Canada was founded in 1970 by John Aimers and was federally incorporated in 1976. It was founded after Aimers attended a 1969 tour of Canada by Lieut.-Col. J. C. du Parc Braham, chancellor of the London-based Monarchist League The newly formed MLC inherited a list of 50 Canadian members of the British-based league and was founded several months later at an Ottawa meeting in June 1970. Within a year, the League claimed 3,000 members and 10 branches across Canada.
In the 1960s and 1970s, there was a growing mood of Canadian and Québécois nationalism, and criticism from opponents of monarchy who perceived the institution as an archaic and foreign symbol of colonialism and the British Empire.
In an effort to create a new national identity, the Canadian government responded by removing some traditional symbols of the monarchy. For example, the Canadian Red Ensign, bearing the Royal Union flag, was replaced by the Maple Leaf flag, God Save the Queen was replaced by O Canada, the Queen's Printer for Canada assumed a less visible role, and the Royal Mail was renamed Canada Post.
Supporters of the monarchy were alarmed by these changes and formed the League as a lobby group in favour of the retention of the traditional symbols of monarchy and against what it described as "creeping republicanism" that would result in the eventual transformation of Canada from a constitutional monarchy into a republic.
During the 1970s the League was heavily involved in opposition against constitutional amendment proposals that would have created the Governor General as Head of State above the Monarch.
Though failing to prevent erosion in some areas, the League successfully lobbied the Government of Canada to maintain a Canadian version of the Victoria Cross as Canada's highest military decoration, and to maintain the Queen's place in the Oath of Citizenship. The League also persuaded Canada Post to issue a definitive stamp bearing the image of the Queen as a mandatory item in all postal outlets (see Queen Elizabeth II definitive stamp).
Educating Canadians about the role of the Crown has long been one of the League's primary goals. As a supplement to provincial educational resources, the League produced and distributed "Red Boxes" (modelled after the Queen's own boxes in which she receives diplomatic and state papers), containing information about the Crown and related activities. Production of these toolkits ceased in 2006 to make way for a new wave of educational material.
In 2006, the League released a 36-page educational booklet entitled The Canadian Monarchy: Exploring the role of Canada's Crown in the day-to-day life of our country (ISBN 978-0-9781853-0-5) and a new education section on its website.
The League actively lobbies the federal and provincial governments, individual politicians, Crown corporations, government agencies, the media, and others to promote awareness of the role of the monarchy. This is often in the form of organized letter-writing campaigns or through behind-the-scenes manoeuvring.
Since 2005, the League has been engaged in active campaign to restore the Queen's name to Canadian diplomatic Letters of Credence and Recall.
The League commissions a definitive study on the actual cost of the Canadian monarchy every three years, the most recent of which was completed in 2008-2009. The survey is distributed to members, media, and parliamentarians and is available for download on the League's Website.
The League is considered by many as being the recognized voice of Canadian monarchism. Often, members are called upon to engage in debate on television and radio shows, or offer commentary on occasions of royal significance.
The League stages various national and regional social events throughout the year. An annual Accession Day Luncheon is held in Toronto each February to celebrate the accession of the Queen to the throne on February 6, 1952.
The League has welcomed Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, and Princess Anne, giving Canadian Royals opportunity to meet its volunteers and members. Individual branches also organize luncheons, banquets, receptions and lectures, where senators, members of parliament, members of legislative assemblies, academics and other prominent citizens participate as guest speakers.
Canadian Monarchist News
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Canadian Monarchist News is the League's occasional newsletter. Published in tabloid format, CMN features in-depth articles relating to the Canadian Crown as well as League news and information.
The League is governed by a Board of Directors. Since 2007, Robert Finch has been the League's Dominion Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Other Officers include Keith Roy (Dominion Vice-Chairman, Western Canada), Étienne Boisvert (Dominion Vice-Chairman, Quebec), and Cian Horrobin (Dominion Vice-Chairman, Ontario).
The League sanctions local branches and contact groups throughout Canada to serve as a rallying point for members and undertake a variety of activities in an effort to influence local opinion in favour of the Crown. There are currently over 20 branches/contact groups across the country:
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Nova Scotia: Halifax, Annapolis Valley, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Northumberland, South West Nova
- New Brunswick: Provincial
- Quebec: Quebec City and District, Montreal
- Ontario: Ottawa, Belleville, Peterborough, Barrie-Simcoe, Toronto, Hamilton and District, Niagara Region, Guelph-Grand River, University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, Brant County, London, Windsor, North-West Ontario
- Manitoba: Winnipeg
- Saskatchewan: South Saskatchewan (Regina), North Saskatchewan (Saskatoon)
- Alberta: Calgary, Northern Alberta
- British Columbia: Vancouver, Victoria, Central Vancouver Island, Courtenay-Comox Valley
The League maintains an active youth wing called the Young Monarchists. The primary focus of the Young Monarchists is to connect members of the League aged 25 and under.
The Young Monarchist Group is headed by students Steven Uren, who serves as Chairman, and Neil MacAlasdair, who serves as Vice-Chair. The Young Monarchist Group was originally formed by university students Graeme Scotchmer, and Daniel Whaley, who started the group when they were young teenagers.
The League maintains five university branches, one at the University of Waterloo, another at Wilfrid Laurier University, a third at the University of Toronto, a branch at Queen's University and one at the University of Ottawa. Young volunteers play a central part in the regional and national work of the League. Summer student internships have been sponsored in partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario in Toronto and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia in Victoria.
- "John Aimers waves the flag for the monarchy". Montreal Gazette. March 1, 1971. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
- After barrage of calls, B.C. Ferries decides to return Queen's portrait to its ships
- And this is why we need the Monarchist League of Canada. - Inside the Queensway - Macleans.ca
- The League is the only organization mentioned. http://www.cbc.ca/news/bigpicture/queen/con_monarchies.html
- CaperTimes.ca - the voice of students at Cape Breton University
- Monarchist League of Canada. (2013). Chairman finch appoints national young monarchist leaders. Canadian Monarchist News, 35, 28. Retrieved from http://monarchist.ca/sites/default/files/documents/2013/1/269.pdf