Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Johnston Says Monarchy Remains Important, but Too Few Understand Its Role

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Johnston Says Monarchy Remains Important, but Too Few Understand Its Role

Article excerpt

Gov. Gen.: too few understand role of Crown


OTTAWA - The Governor General says he has become convinced more than ever of the importance of the monarchy in Canadian democracy, but regrets too few in the country understand the unique role of the Crown.

The monarchy is a source of stability in Canada's 150-year history, and one of the reasons why the country has thus far been immune from more populist movements gripping other parts of the globe, Gov. Gen. David Johnston said.

The Queen, represented by the Governor General as head of state, represents the "spirit of the country" and complements the role the prime minister plays as the head of government, Johnston said Wednesday in a telephone interview from London at the close of a two day visit with the Queen.

"The head of state function has to do with stability, of rule of law, of fundamental values, persisting year upon year, decade upon decade," he said.

"Our system works well and I guess if I had any regret it's that we don't understand it better and that we don't see as Canadians the uniqueness of it and how for the most part it serves us well," he said.

The trip to the U.K. is likely to be Johnston's last as the Queen's representative in Canada.

Johnston said in their final private meeting Tuesday, the two talked about Canada's role in international diplomacy and the Crown's relationship with the country's Indigenous Peoples.

"We cover the kind of topics that you'd expect she would be interested in and she always wants a kind of update on where we stand and how we see the next few years," he said.

On Wednesday, he hosted her at Canada House in central London to celebrate Canada's 150 anniversary; he touched the Queen's arm, helping her up and down the red-carpeted stairs, a breach of protocol that drew attention from the British tabloids.

The Queen was also given a brooch, called the Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake Brooch, to mark her 65 years on the throne. …

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