The next great debate in Canada .. and our top 10 counterweights stories 2010

Dec 31st, 2010 | By | Category: In Brief

Plates featuring special 2011 rabbit motifs were on display at the IP Boutique Hotel in Seoul, South Korea this past October. Korea Times.

Our main attraction as we say goodbye to the poignant year of 2010 (CE) and give a warm welcome to the perhaps still more poignant year of the rabbit, 2011, is a rather extensive but (we think) compelling contribution to a new made-in-Canada great debate launched over this past holiday season in (of all places) the neo-con pages of the National Post! CLICK HERE or see the Canadian Republic category to the right of this page for our resident Ontario historian Randall White’s “Why Kelly McParland is wrong about the British monarchy in Canada.”

The Post has started this debate more or less coterminously with a new Angus Reid Public Opinion “online survey of a representative national sample of 1,016 Canadians,” which finds: “Most Canadians Indifferent to Monarchy and Royal Wedding.” The Reid analysts urge that a recent “drop in support for Canada remaining a monarchy is not directly related to a rise in ‘republicanism.’ The true cause … is the lack of interest in this issue, particularly among respondents aged 18 to 34.”

We would argue that this analysis, while certainly not inaccurate as far as it goes, undersells the Canadian republican edge in the quietly growing dialogue that the National Post has pushed ahead, in an encouragingly public-spirited way. (Along with Kelly McParland’s pro-monarchy column it has published a republican counter-argument by Lorne Gunter.)

The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, on which “the sun never dared to set.”

According to some wise old  militant folklore, in any tense and (in one way or another at least) crucial political debate (the American Revolution is often cited as a case in point) about one-third of the people will be for, about one-third against, and one-third indifferent. Victory will go to whatever third can get the most of the other two thirds on its side. And the latest Angus Reid survey results on the British monarchy in Canada are particularly intriguing in this context.

A mere 21% opt for “Canada remaining a monarchy.” Another 29% say “It makes no difference to me.” And 32% choose “Canada having an elected head of state” (an option discussed at some length in Dr. White’s “Why Kelly McParland is wrong about the British monarchy in Canada”). The remaining 18% are “Not sure.”

(The latest Angus Reid survey stresses another point that those with field experience in the Canadian republican trenches of the past few years will readily if not exactly happily confirm: “a gender gap is developing on this question. While women are divided, men favour having an elected head of state over a monarch by a 2-to-1 margin.”)

Current Commonwealth realms, which still recognize the British monarch as symbolic head of state, shown in blue. Former Commonwealth realms are shown in red.

Meanwhile, some interested readers have been urging us to offer our own Top 10 list of counterweights blogs (and longer articles) for 2010. Using a blend of raw popularity (as revealed by the internal WordPress user statistics and Google Analytics), and our own editorial judgments and periodic focus group reactions on quality as well as quantity, here is our list, in chronological order, from January to December 2010:

* “Listen to the nation .. stop the prorogation” … Jan 24th, 2010

* “Olympic daydreams from beautiful BC .. Michael Byers’ cease-fire proposal could still make Stephen Harper toast” … Feb 14th, 2010

* “Whatever happens with Senate reform in Canada, Washington is no model” … Mar 30th, 2010

* “Remember when Mike Pearson said ‘I hope Canada will become a republic’” .. . Apr 14th, 2010

* “June in Jakarta 2010 .. or Edison Chen’s naughty pictures part deux, with Ariel, Luna Maya, and Cut Tari, on the world wide web” … Jun 21st, 2010 (OUR BY FAR MOST POPULAR PIECE ALL YEAR, ACCORDING TO GOOGLE ANALYTICS!)

Current Commonwealth republics, shown in pink.

* “G20 2010 postmortem .. instant second thoughts: on police overkill .. and Krugman’s deep discouragement” … Jun 30th, 2010

* “Canada’s new regulation of Northwest Passage vs. ‘The Outlaw Sea: A World of Freedom, Chaos, and Crime’” … Jul 12th, 2010

* “Greg Barns on final Australian election result .. Julia Gillard has tougher job than Stephen Harper” … Sep 7th, 2010

* “If Harper really is preparing his exit, what will his legacy to Canada be?” … Nov 26th, 2010

* “Julian Assange and the late Chalmers Johnson may have similar messages .. and democracy in America should listen” …  Dec 19th, 2010.

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