LettersMore than a figurehead, Queen Elizabeth made constitutional monarchy work
- Readers discuss the late queen and the success of constitutional monarchy in Canada, and ask that platforms such as this letter forum be denied to climate change deniers
The demise of Queen Elizabeth was foreseeable and yet I find it difficult to come to terms with the death of the giant. I am a naturalised Canadian citizen who pledged allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen during my oath-taking ceremony – a ritual for every aspiring citizen – although I have never stepped foot on British soil.
However, the connection is real, embodied by my attendance in an undergraduate course on the role of vice-regal offices at my alma mater, the University of Toronto, and by Canada’s embracing of the institution of constitutional monarchy.
This means that in Canada, the Governor General acts on behalf of the British monarch on ceremonial visits and most importantly, provides royal assent for bills passed by both houses of parliament, the House of Commons and the Senate.
When a minority government fails to command the confidence of the House of Commons, also known as a hung parliament, the Governor General, on behalf of the monarch, invites a party leader whom she/he considers as being able to form a government.
This was the case after the 2017 British Columbia election where the incumbent Liberals failed to form a government after winning the most seats but not a majority. The Liberals asked the Lieutenant Governor (the queen’s representative to a Canadian province) to dissolve the legislature for a new election to be held. However, the request was declined and the New Democratic Party – the second largest party by seat count – was asked to form a government, and it succeeded with the help of the Greens.
This is an example of the success of constitutional monarchy – the monarch stays above the politicking and acts in the people’s interests. Given the cost to taxpayers, the prospect of an election immediately after another would not have easily found public support.
“Governments come and go; the state is here to stay,” as the saying goes. It is a testament to the functioning of constitutional monarchy.
The Queen helped the United Kingdom to navigate in the postcolonial era, and in the wake of the waning of British exceptionalism after World War II. Now, with the reign of King Charles III, I remain cautiously optimistic about the road ahead for the UK. The best of luck to the King and his new prime minister.
Michael Leung, Kwun Tong
Stop encouraging climate change deniers
Taking local tide gauges in Victoria Harbour as a proxy for a global phenomenon occurring from Alaska to Australia makes for rather poor evidence to conclude against a fact acknowledged by 99 per cent of the scientific community with unequivocal certainty.
While I appreciate the right for everyone to air his opinion, I would appreciated it if the South China Morning Post could stop lending its platform to climate change deniers – when study after study warns us that we have only a few years ahead to prevent the worst of the consequences.
Pierre-Yves Colinet, Sheung Wan