As it turned out, an attempt to establish a presidential republic in Canada was made in 1973 already. Then-Canadian government developed a legislation which was to curtail the British Queen’s powers in the overseas colony. But the Queen didn’t give up and didn’t put her signature under the Canadian document.
Details of the plot against the British Queen were revealed in accordance with the old English tradition, in 30 years. As Agence France Presse informs, the British State Archives declassified confidential documents saying that 30 years ago Canadians wanted to replace the Queen with a president. In order to live in a presidential republic, like the neighbor, the USA.
The declassified document was the letter typed and signed by Hugh Overton, at the North American Department of the Foreign Office. Before a conference of the Commonwealth, he informally warned the Buckingham Palace that the Queen’s trip to Canada might add fuel to the domestic controversy concerning the role of the monarchy. The role of the British Queen in the Canadian life became the subject of more active political interest at that time.
At the end of 1972, the Montreal Gazette reported that the government developed five plans according to which the powers of the Queen over Canada were to be curtailed. Despite the fact that many foreigners consider this power illusive, Queen Elizabeth II took the Canadian document seriously; it was said that the Queen even accepted four of the proposals. But she rejected the proposal to be replaced with a president.
However, Canadians didn’t insist particularly. They probably thought that there were more important problems in the country than relations with the British Queen. Then prime minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau decided not to insist upon a presidential republic to be created in Canada, as he understood that the very posing of the problem might entail fatal consequences. It could be rather dangerous for the government that managed to remain in power due to a slight difference in the votes at the federal elections.
Since that time, the problem of powers of the British Queen in Canada hasn’t become the most important one. The relations between English-speakers and French-speakers were much more important. It’s likely that Canadians didn’t submit “the five proposals” to London for consideration. But there are still lots of classified documents in the State Archives, it is not ruled out that more details concerning the problem may be uncovered in the future. To tell the truth, the Queen must be given her due: there is still no president in Canada.
Sergey Borisov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2003/5/16/43/5252_zagovor.html
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