Republic Now’s call for a Canadian head of state appears on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue, below
TORONTO, June 28 — Royals from England who are set to parachute into Canada’s 150th birthday party have triggered billboards in Ottawa and Toronto that call on Canada to finally patriate its head of state. The ad campaign urges that a Canadian replace the British monarchy in this country, and comes from Republic Now, a not-for-profit, non-partisan advocacy group whose message reads “We don’t need a king. Our next head of state should be Canadian.” The slogan appears beside an image of Charles, the Prince of Wales, who is in line to become king of Canada.
Charles and Princess Camilla are set to visit Nunavut, Ontario, and Quebec, this week, a major distraction to our sesquicentennial. Besides being a side show that draws attention away from our 1867 achievement, their mere presence insults the Canadian flag, forcing it to an inferior position and off the Peace Tower on the very anniversary of Confederation. Also on July 1st, in an ill-advised move, scores of citizenship and “reaffirmation” ceremonies across the country willabsurdly have people pledge loyalty to an overseas throne instead of Canada.
“We’re celebrating 150 years of nationhood, but our highest office has never been held by a Canadian,” points out Ashok Charles, executive director of Republic Now. The group’s mission centers on Canadianizing the post. “We deserve a head of state who shares our citizenship, and who is chosen democratically, on the basis of merit,” he adds.
The billboards, which will be up for a month, are intended to ignite discussion among citizens and government. They are located in Ottawa at St. Laurent Blvd. and Montreal Road (facing SW), and in Toronto on the Gardiner Expressway west of Sherbourne (facing W), and on Danforth Avenue east of Playter (facing W). The billboards follow transit bus ads placed in Toronto in April and May.
Since Confederation in 1867, Canada’s head of state has occupied a throne in Britain, is required to belong to the Church of England, and has never made Canada their main concern. Currently, the monarch heads 16 different countries. The ad campaign’s aim is to raise public awareness about our head of state, and prompt the government to Canadianize and democratize our highest office–something recent polls show a majority of Canadians already agrees with.
A bus ad campaign first launched in Toronto in April, after a successful crowd-funding effort. The new billboards come weeks after Queen Elizabeth turned 91, as a warning that, if we don’t work now to achieve a Canadian head of state, we’ll soon be forced to borrow yet another British monarch.
“A century ago, this country saw itself as an outpost of empire, whose subjects wrapped themselves in Union Jacks,” points out Ashok Charles. “Since then, we’ve forged a great nation–one with its own citizens, constitution, flag and anthem. It’s time to take the final step and establish an office of head of state which is ours, and ours alone. I can’t think of a better gift for Canada’s 150th birthday than to get started on this.”
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Republic Now advocates a Canadian head of state — one who shares our citizenship, lives in this country, and is chosen democratically.