Prince Charles and Camilla set to start Canadian royal tour amid growing skepticism

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are set to begin a three-day tour of Canada this week that will focus on indigenous reconciliation and climate change – and connecting with a Canadian public that is increasingly skeptical of the monarchy.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will stop in St. John’s, NL, Ottawa and the Yellowknife area during a visit that “will highlight the emphasis on learning from Indigenous Peoples in Canada, as well as the focus on working with companies to find a more sustainable way of living with global warming,” according to Clarence House, the couple’s official residence in London.

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In line with these priorities, they will attend a reconciliation event in St. John’s and visit the First Nation community of Dettah in Yellowknife. There will also be a tour of the Dettah Ice Road, as well as discussions on the importance of sustainable finance in building a net-zero carbon economy.

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Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visit Canada House in London, Thursday, May 12, 2022.

Hannah McKay/Pool photo via AP

The visit, which begins Tuesday, will be Prince Charles’ 19th trip to Canada and Camilla’s fifth.

It’s a joyous occasion for royal fans, who have been looking forward to the couple’s first visit to Canada since 2017. Robert Finch, head of the Royalist League of Canada, believes the tour in honor of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – her 70 years later the throne–could not come at a better time.

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Prince Charles and Camilla arrive in Canada for a royal tour

Prince Charles and Camilla arriving in Canada for a royal tour – April 12, 2022

“We’ve just come out of a pandemic that has affected all of us and we’re in the midst of more economic uncertainty, geopolitical, what have you,” he said in a phone interview. “So it’s good to get those things that are kind of positive and things that celebrate and bring people together.”

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In addition to the more serious gatherings, the trip involves a lot of pomp and photos, including visits to local businesses, Jubilee celebrations and viewing of the RCMP’s musical ride _ a performance on horseback.

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Both supporters and critics of the monarchy say the visit will be a test of Charles’ ability to win over the Canadian public at a time of increasing scrutiny by the monarchy.

Opinion polls suggest that support for the monarchy in Canada has been steadily declining in recent years.

An online survey by Angus Reid released in late April that surveyed a representative sample of 1,607 Canadian adults found that just over half — 51% — felt the country should not remain a monarchy for generations to come, compared with 26% who felt that should .

Although the queen was still viewed favorably by most respondents, only 29% viewed Charles in this way and only 34% supported maintaining a constitutional monarchy under her rule.

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There is no margin of error for online surveys, but Angus Reid said that, for comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size would be accurate to within 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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Finch is skeptical of poll results that suggest Canadians are ready to abandon the monarchy, in part because of the way the questions are phrased. “Republicanism is not, in my view, a winning proposition, and if it were, one of the main political parties in the country would have adopted it,” he said.

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But he said this tour could be one of the most important royal visits ever – in part because of the focus on indigenous reconciliation, but also because of the chance for Charles to cement his role as future king at a time when his mother old woman is backing off. .

He admitted that Charles “has work to do” to appeal to Canadian audiences, in large part because his mother is so much loved. “She’s going to be a hard act to follow,” he said.

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Patrick Taillon, a law professor at Universite Laval in Quebec City who has challenged British succession laws in court, said the visit comes as Canada and Britain are preparing for an eventual transition to Charles as king.

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That moment, he said, “will likely bring the conversation about the nature of our institutions and the choice to be a monarchy to the forefront” in Canada.

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Taillon said that while Canadians once saw the monarchy as part of their identity – something that set them apart from Americans – this is increasingly not the case.

He said the recent royal trip to the Caribbean by Prince William and his wife Kate had drawn criticism for perpetuating images of British colonial rule, as well as allegations of ill-treatment described by Meghan Markle, who along with her husband Prince Harry , walked away from royal duties in 2020, shows that the institution has not evolved with the times.

While acknowledging that Canada’s Constitution is notoriously difficult to change, he said change is inevitable sooner or later. Quebec, where anti-corona sentiment is fiercest, has long been ready to move forward, he added.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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