Canadians are growing more open to severing ties with the British monarchy, a new poll suggests, despite an ongoing affection for Queen Elizabeth herself.
The new Angus Reid poll — released Thursday on the Queen’s 96th birthday — found while 51 per cent of Canadians are against continuing as a constitutional monarchy, nearly two-thirds still view Elizabeth favourably.
Close to 60 per cent also said they would be at least somewhat affected by her passing away.
“For the vast, vast majority of Canadians, she is the only monarch they have ever known in their lifetimes,” said Shachi Kurl, president of the Angus Reid Institute.
Canadians may want to keep it that way, the poll suggests.
Close to three out of five Canadians who responded said Commonwealth countries that have taken steps to cut ties with the monarchy, like Barbados and Jamaica, have made the right decision. Only eight per cent said it was the wrong step.
Last year, Barbados officially became a republic and removed the Queen as head of state, a move it has cast as a way to finally break with the demons of its colonial history.
Jamaica said it was heading in the same direction during a Royal visit by Prince William and Kate Middleton in March. That visit, meant to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee for 70 years of rule, was met with protests and backlash from locals in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries they visited.
William and Kate’s Jamaican visit backfires amid Royal backlash
The 51 per cent who believe Canada should consider doing the same as those two countries stands in stark contrast to the 38 per cent who agreed back in 2016. Only 26 per cent surveyed this month said Canada should remain a constitutional monarchy, compared to 42 per cent in 2016 and 39 per cent in 2020.
“These data are stark in that the trend has only moved in one direction in recent years: away from seeing the point of the monarchy,” Kurl said in an email.
Kurl said changing demographics in Canada may be contributing to the decline in support, combined with evolving views over colonialism.
“This country’s population no longer carries the same close familial and cultural ties to England it once did,” Kurl added.
Indeed, support for the monarchy and the Queen herself was highest among Canadians aged 55 and over who participated in the poll.
Yet even 42 per cent of older Canadians on average still felt the monarchy represents outdated values, only slightly less than the 49 per cent of Canadians overall who felt the same.
Canadians of all ages are also less keen on Elizabeth’s successor, Charles, becoming king, with 67 per cent of respondents saying they moderately or strongly oppose recognizing him as Canada’s next head of state. An even larger number, 76 per cent, are against the idea of Charles’ wife becoming “Queen Camilla.”
The couple are set to visit Canada next month as part of their own Platinum Jubilee tour.
When asked their opinions about all members of the Royal Family, a majority of Canadians surveyed only viewed Queen Elizabeth and her grandson Prince William favourably. Just 29 per cent had favourable views about Prince Charles, while Princess Anne and Prince Edward earned 37 per cent and 29 per cent support, respectively.
Rising number of Canadians support dropping monarchy: poll
Only 13 per cent were favourable toward Prince Andrew, who recently settled a sexual assault lawsuit that tied him to Jeffrey Epstein. Nearly 70 per cent were unfavourable.
Among those who said they do not want Canada to remain a constitutional monarchy, an overwhelming 92 per cent said the federal government should try to change the constitution to make that a reality, even if it is difficult. Just eight per cent said Canada should stick with the monarchy because of that difficulty.
Kurl said the prospect of changing Canada’s constitution — even for something a majority of Canadians may want — would be a “political hand grenade” for politicians.
The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from April 5-7, 2022 among a representative randomized sample of 1,607 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.
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