10 Things the Queen of England Still Does for Canada
Though opinions differ on how the country will proceed in the future, Queen Elizabeth II is still the Head of State of Canada, a former British colony. But how does this affect the day-to-day life of the average Canadian? And what power does the Queen actually wield? Here is a list of roles still served by Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith (that is her full Canadian title if you want to get official).
1. SHE'S THE HEAD OF STATE.
Technically speaking, Queen Elizabeth is the Sovereign of the parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy of Canada. Unless you frequently use Canadian money or are particularly savvy with regard to Canadian politics, you may not have known they had any kind of monarchy.
2. GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND NEW CITIZENS SWEAR AN OATH TO HER.
All ministers, legislators, members of the armed forces, public servants, and police officers swear allegiance to the Queen. The oath to become a Canadian citizen also requires an allegiance to the Queen, and all passports are likewise issued in her name.
3. THE GOVERNOR GENERAL IS APPOINTED BY HER.
Queen Elizabeth appoints a governor general who acts at the federal level and subsequently appoints one lieutenant governor in each of Canada’s 10 provinces. The Queen and the governor general make their appointments on the recommendation of Canada’s prime minister. The governor general and lieutenant governor serve as daily representatives of the Queen, and they also give honors and tributes to deserving recipients in her name.
4. SHE STAYS NEUTRAL.
In the political world, the Queen really doesn’t do much—she’s not supposed to. Because she is considered to be the personification of the state of Canada, she is meant to remain neutral on all matters of politics.
5. SHE SUPPORTS MANY NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS.
The Queen is a patron of a number of Canadian organizations, including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Red Cross Society, and the Royal Canadian Humane Association. Her official website also states that Canada is the country she has visited most in her 60-plus year reign.
6. THE ENTIRE ROYAL FAMILY UPHOLDS CANADIAN TRADITIONS AND CEREMONIES.
Along with her representatives, Queen Elizabeth partakes in various ceremonies and traditions in Canada, including frequent Royal Tours. Most important anniversaries or celebrations are attended by the monarch herself, while other members of the royal family may attend lesser events in her place.
7. SHE PLAYS A (SYMBOLIC) ROLE IN CANADA'S ARMED FORCES.
The Queen acts as Colonel-in-Chief of numerous Armed Forces regiments, such as the King’s Own Calgary Regiment and The Canadian Grenadier Guards. Like her other roles in Canada, this one is primarily symbolic and accompanying duties are normally carried out by the governor general.
8. SHE STAYS INFORMED ON POLITICAL MATTERS.
The prime minister and the ministers in his cabinet are all appointed by the governor general on behalf of Queen Elizabeth. (Usually, the governor general will appoint the leader of the party with the majority or large plurality.) The Queen makes an effort to keep up-to-date on parliamentary matters with regular communications with ministers and meets with them when possible.
9. HER SIGNATURE IS NECESSARY FOR CERTAIN GOVERNMENT APPROVALS.
The Queen must apply her royal sign-manual, or signature, as well as the Great Seal of Canada to patent letters, specific appointment papers of the governor general, the creation of additional Senate seats, and any change in her Canadian style and title.
10. SHE CAN GRANT IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION.
Along with the governor general, the monarch can grant immunity from prosecution and pardon any offenses against the Crown before, during, or after a trial.