If you’re not familiar with the Canadian political system, you’ll be surprised to learn that Canada is a monarchy. Even though it got independence from the U.K., the King or Queen of the U.K. continues to be the King or Queen of Canada and holds the ceremonial head of state title. So, do Canadian taxes go to the Queen?
Canadian taxes don’t go directly to the Queen or any Royal family member. But when the Queen or any member of the royal family visits Canada or represents the country, it’s Canadian taxes that take care of their transportation, security, accommodation, and everything necessary for their upkeep.
However, this isn’t much different from what every country does when foreign dignitaries visit her soil. Here, we discuss whether Canadian taxes go to the Queen, the monarchy in Canada, and the cost of the monarchical system.
Who Collects Canadian Taxes
The government is responsible for collecting taxes in Canada through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). There are various types of taxes that go to the federal, provincial, and municipal governments. The revenue from these taxes provides the various social services and economic programs available in the country.
Canadian taxes do not go directly to the Queen or any royal family member. But Canadian taxes will cover the cost when the Queen or any royal family member is on Canadian soil and represents Canada in other international situations. These include the cost of accommodation, security, transportation, etc.
Taxpayers’ money also maintains the living standards of those representing the Queen in Canada. This includes the Governor-General and lieutenant governors. The Governor-General is the face of the Queen in Canada and is a Canadian. The lieutenant governors represent the governor-general in the provinces and territories.
How Does the Monarchy Operate in Canada?
The Canadian constitution provides that the King or Queen of the U.K. will also be recognized as the king or Queen of Canada. With this, Canada remains under the British Monarchy, a practice traceable to the history of Canada as a colony of the U.K. However, the Queen has a distinct role as the Queen of Canada, separate from her role as Queen of the United Kingdom.
This model isn’t unique to Canada, as few other countries have this arrangement. These countries are all former colonies and are formally known as dominions of the British Commonwealth. But they’re now called the Commonwealth Realm.
Political Role of the Queen in Canada
The role of the Queen in Canada’s political system is hard to understand. She rarely visits Canada, usually once every four years. Even when she visits, her duties are mostly ceremonial. But the Canadian constitution grants the Queen expansive political powers. The executive government and authority of and over Canada are vested in the Queen. She’s also the commander of Canadian armed forces and head of the parliament.
However, while the Queen has all these powers, she doesn’t use them herself. Instead, she delegates them to the elected politicians. So, the prime minister of Canada acts on most of these powers and governs the country on the Queen’s behalf.
The Queen is the only one with exercisable powers and a constitutional role among the royal family. Most of the ceremonial and operational duties of the Queen are exercised through her representative, the Governor-General. The Queen doesn’t normally participate directly in governance and only does so at the advice and consent of the Cabinet of Canada.
But there are times when the Queen has to act independently and directly under the doctrine of necessity. Such an act is usually to prevent the unconstitutional act. Thus, the Queen ensures continuous and stable governance and a non-partisan check on any abuse of power.
Origin of Monarchy in Canada
Canada is one of the oldest monarchies in the world. The country has been under kings and queens since the sixteenth century. France kings were the first rulers during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. The late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw the British Kings and Queens in charge. Even after the country’s independence, it continues to have a monarchy and recognizes anyone who is the King or Queen of England as its King or Queen too.
Why is Canada Still a Monarchy?
Not every Canadian likes the idea of the country being a monarchy even though it’s independent. There are divergent views on preserving the royalty or doing away with them. This has led to two factions, the Monarchists who support the continued existence of monarchical government and the Republicans who want it to end.
Regardless of the debates on both sides, removing Monarchy from Canada’s political system is complex. It requires a constitutional amendment. This is a comprehensive process involving unanimous parliamentary votes, approval from territories and provinces, and maybe a referendum. No party has taken the initiative to do this, and there’s less likelihood of it even happening. So, Canada will have a queen or king for a very long time.
How much do Canadians spend on the monarchy?
Even though the Canadians don’t pay their taxes to the Queen, the monarchy spends a substantial part of the taxes. The Monarchist League published a triennial survey of how much the crown cost Canadians in 2019 – 2020. The number totalled $58,749,485.52, and according to the league, this amounted to $1.55 per Canadian. Most of the costs come from the Governor general’s office, with the lieutenant governors and their offices costing only an extra $0.27 per capita.
However, there are other costs, such as security when royal family members visit Canada. A CBC News report revealed that protecting Prince Harry and his family cost Canadian taxpayers $334,000 in less than four years.
Canadian taxes don’t go to the Queen. No member of the royal family receives anything directly from Canada. But Canadians taxes go towards providing accommodation, transportation, and security when they’re in Canada or representing Canada. This isn’t different from what a country has to do for foreign dignitaries. Canadian taxes also maintain the constitutional monarchy in the country as it foots the bills of the Governor-General and Lieutenant governors offices.