Monarchist League of Canada

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The Coat of Arms of the Monarchist League of Canada, granted with permission of Her Majesty in 2000.
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The badge of the Monarchist League of Canada.
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The flag of the Monarchist League of Canada.

The Monarchist League of Canada is an organization formed in 1970 by John Aimers and Gary Toffoli. The League's objective is to support, maintain and defend Canada's status as a constitutional monarchy.

Contents

Activities

Though much of the League's activity centres on its educational and media presence, the League also reacts to what its members view as inaccurate attacks or derogation of the Monarchy. In particular: attempts to diminish the monarchy such as proposals to change official oaths and procedures, the removal of royal portraits from government offices, changes to the names of government departments and services to remove references to royalty or proposals to remove the Queen's portrait from Canadian currency.

Educational work is carried out through a web site, designed and maintained by volunteers from a variety of age groups. In addition, the League distributes free "Red Boxes" to schools and youth groups (Guides, Scouts), containing educational aides pertaining to the Canadian Crown and Monarchy.

Canadian Monarchist News, the League's periodical, is published three times annually, and combines original research and reports on the Canadian Crown.

The League has become a major source of information on monarchical information and opinion and its officers are often sought out by the media for comment during major royal events. Aimers, the Dominion Chairman, sometimes gives over 500 appearances and interviews annually. Since the 1990s, Aimers co-anchored live network coverage of many Royal Visits and occasions. He maintains a working relationship with many of the press via backgrounders and a network of referrals as well as informal briefings.

The League claims a pronounced influx of teenage and young adult members, with their own "bulletin boards" on the internet, who work both independently and cooperatively to advance the League's agenda in their schools and universities. Selected youth members represent the League in the media. A youth member is also nominated as an intern each summer to the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; such members have served the Lieutenant Governors of British Columbia and Nova Scotia, as well.

The League attempts to present the positive face of the Canadian Crown as an essential part of national identity, purporting to eschew a romantic "fan-club" approach. It works with elected officials of all political parties in an attempt to cement the role of the Monarchy, which the League sees as an umbrella institution under which every member of a diverse society can find his equal and respected place.

The League currently claims to have 17,000 members in over 20 branches across Canada, many under the patronage of Lieutenant Governors. The League is financed by member donations as the organization receives no public subsidies.

History

The 1960s and 1970s saw a growing mood of Canadian and Quebec nationalism and a resulting criticism of the monarchy as an archaic and foreign institution. The Canadian government responded by removing symbols of colonialism and monarchy in an effort to create a national identity. For instance, the Canadian Red Ensign was replaced by the Maple Leaf flag, use of the word dominion was dropped from government documents, and the names of government departments and holidays (with Dominion Day becoming Canada Day), God Save the Queen and the Maple Leaf Forever were displaced by O Canada the Queen's Printer for Canada became Publications Canada, the Royal Mail was rebranded Canada Post among other moves. Supporters of the monarchy, including John Aimers (then an eighteen year old Progressive Conservative activist who had come into the orbit of former Prime Minister of Canada and ardent monarchist John George Diefenbaker), were alarmed by these changes and formed the Monarchist League as a lobby group in favour of the retention of traditional symbols of monarchy and against what it viewed as "creeping republicanism" which would result in the eventual transformation of Canada from a kingdom into a republic.

Today the Monarchist League of Canada continues to promote the larger body of the Crown as an institution shared between the Commonwealth Realms, and the Crown in Right of Canada as a distinctly Canadian institution, one which the group argues is a national unifier, both politically and symbolically.

Organization

With the exception of a three year period from 1972 to 1975 when he worked for the federal Progressive Conservative party, Aimers has been Dominion Chairman of the League since its inception in 1970.

See also

External Links

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