With the coronation just weeks away, poll says Canadians are split on ditching the royal family

With less than two months to go until Canada’s new king is crowned, the country is split down the middle on whether it’s time to sever ties with the Crown, a new poll shows.

A Leger poll of 1,544 Canadians found 56 per cent agreed the country should “reexamine its ties” to the monarchy now that there is a new sovereign.

That number was higher in Quebec, where 71 percent of respondents said there should be a constitutional affinity for the crown.

In Ontario (53 per cent) and B.C. (52 per cent) people in other counties are more likely to say that King Charles and his heirs should retain their current role in our system.

WATCH |: King Charles’ deep ties to Canada.

A poll in the weeks before the coronation shows Canadians split on whether to ditch the royal family

King Charles’ deep ties to Canada

Britain’s new monarch, King Charles, has deep ties to Canada, building connections with Canadians through his charity work and numerous visits to the country.

Last year, Barbados ended its relationship with the monarchy and became a republic, a decision that gave hope to anti-royalists elsewhere in the Commonwealth.

Such a move could not have happened so easily in Canada.

The Canadian Constitution requires unanimity on the issue, with the House of Commons and Senate and all 10 provinces having to agree on a different system.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he has no appetite for such a protracted constitutional battle. Whether he’s popular or not, Charles is likely here to stay.

King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort are pictured at the event.
King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort attend a reception at Clarence House in London on February 23rd. (Chris Jackson/Associated Press)

But it’s clear that most Canadians simply don’t think about the royal family very often.

The poll found that 67 percent of respondents felt “indifferent” about Charles’ new role. Only 12 percent said it was “good news” that he was Canada’s new head of state. About 14 percent said it was “bad news” that Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son had assumed his birthright.

About 80 percent of respondents said they were “not personally attached” to the “British” monarchy that Leger described.

Despite claiming they don’t think much about it, the survey also found that 47 percent of respondents are aware that Charles’ coronation will take place on May 6. About 40 percent said they would consider watching television coverage of the event. will be broadcast worldwide.

That relatively high level of awareness may have been fueled by Prince Harry’s book tour and the tabloid fodder he and his wife, Meghan, have generated in recent weeks.

There are questions about whether the California-based couple will attend Charles’ big day after a public spat with other family members.

King Charles III is pictured, from bottom left, with Camilla, the Queen Consort, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry.
King Charles III, Camilla, Queen Consort, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry watch as Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is placed in the mortuary after a state funeral at Westminster Abbey in central London on September 19, 2022. (Martin Meissner/Associated Press)

The coronation, a service full of religious symbolism and pageantry, is generally considered one of the most important days of a monarch’s reign.

John Fraser is the founder and monarch of the Institute of Crown Studies in Canada. He said Charles’ relatively poor showing in the Leger poll was cause for concern.

“It doesn’t surprise me that Canadians are indifferent because we haven’t seen much of him. These polls always depend on being close to the person,” Fraser told CBC News.

“He hasn’t been here much in the last five years, so he feels distant to Canadians, and that’s legitimate. He’s our head of state now and we need to see more of him and that’s something to look out for.”

As head of state of a constitutional monarchy, Charles defers to the government of the day on questions such as when he will come to visit Canada.

Through Heritage Canada, the department that looks after all things royal, the federal government is responsible for planning tours like Charles’ visit for the Platinum Jubilee last year.

Fraser said a general sense of apathy toward the crown may also explain why the federal government hasn’t said a word about how Canada will mark the coronation, or whether there will be a royal visit later this year to mark Charles’ accession.

Canada sent the largest Commonwealth contingent to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 at Westminster Abbey in London. There were nationwide celebrations for the enthronement of the country’s new queen.

Queen Elizabeth II is seen seated on the throne during her coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1953.
Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne at her coronation at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. (The Associated Press)

Canada is unlikely to do as much now as it did then. Fraser said the government may simply prefer to let the crown’s role in Canada “atrophy” through neglect, which could worry Buckingham Palace, he added.

The monarchs say that as a senior member of the Commonwealth and a country with close historical ties to the crown, Canada should do something significant to mark the arrival of the new king.

Meanwhile, Republicans say Charles doesn’t deserve any recognition.

Fraser said a well-prepared coronation and tour of Canada could boost Charles’ standing in the eyes of some Canadians. He acknowledged, however, that there will always be “rabid Republicans” and plenty of people who will “just shrug their shoulders.”

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