People around the world, subjects and otherwise, are readying themselves to wake up at all hours to watch Prince Harry tie the knot with Meghan Markle at St. George’s Chapel on Saturday.
But you can likely count Tom Freda among the people who will stay in bed for the royal wedding.
Coverage of the royal wedding on Globalnews.ca:
The Toronto-based director of the Citizens for a Canadian Republic thinks Canada doesn’t need a queen — that it can govern itself just fine without a monarch, thank you very much.
And he pushed that message in an interview with Global News on Friday, on the eve of Harry and Meghan’s nuptials.
“Who am I to say that someone can’t follow a movie star or celebrity?” Freda said.
“But when those same people say that’s the reason why we should have one of these people, one of these members of this royal family as our constitutional head of state, that’s where I object.”
Freda stressed that there’s a difference between liking the royals and saying they should occupy Canada’s highest seat of power.
He noted public opinion research showing a more favourable than unfavourable view of the royals in numerous countries — including republics that have their own heads of state.
Indeed, a poll released by Ipsos Mori on May 13 showed that in more than 20 countries, respondents said the royal family makes them feel more positive toward the U.K.
That included republics such as the Romania, India and the United States.
“You can have whatever feelings you want, good or bad, toward the royals, that doesn’t matter,” Freda said.
The mistake, he said, is seeing the celebrity and the constitutional aspects of the royals as one and the same.
“If you love the celebrity, that’s fine,” Freda said.
“But if celebrity was reason enough for having a monarch as Canada’s head of state, then why not a member of the Kardashian family or Brad Pitt? They’re equally as popular and they’re also A-list celebrities.”
He thinks it is “abysmal” that Canada can’t elect its own head of state — that to be its head of state, you must be a Protestant, and you must be a member of a royal family that lives on another continent.
“And cannot be, no matter what, cannot be a Canadian,” Freda said.
“I think there’s a huge hypocrisy there, when the queen is supposed to be our head of state, yet she’s exempt from the laws of the state.”
Even with the wedding coming up, Freda said there’s “no bad time” to discuss the status of the monarchy, that the discussion has happened in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Barbados and Jamaica.
He said they’ve all had parliamentary debates on the subject, and many believe than when Queen Elizabeth II’s reign ends, “that’s the time to make the change.”
That kind of discussion hasn’t made its way to Canada yet, though he said public opinion “equals or exceeds that of those realms insofar as eliminating the monarchy from our constitution.”
A poll by Forum last year showed Canadians divided on the monarchy, almost tied on the issue of abolishing it upon the death of Queen Elizabeth, though a slim majority was in favour of keeping it.
- With files from Paul Johnson
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.