Canada's high commissioner to U.K. talks Brexit and the value of monarchy
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2018 10:00PM EDT
Canadians who don’t see the point of the monarchy are entitled to their opinions, but the head of Canada’s diplomatic mission to the United Kingdom insists that the system has value.
In an interview from Canada House in London with CTV National News Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme, Janice Charette, who serves as High Commissioner for Canada to the United Kingdom, discussed the upcoming royal wedding, Meghan Markle’s special connection to Canada and the Queen’s important role in our political system.
In her first question, LaFlamme asked Charette how Britain’s contentious vote to leave the European Union will affect Canada.
“I think that with Brexit and with the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU, it’s an opportunity really for us to think about the relationship between our two countries and make sure we’re really trying to maximize that,” Charette said.
“The prime ministers have talked about in their two meetings now in the last 12 months the importance of taking the Canada-EU trade agreement, which currently includes the U.K., and making sure that in a post-Brexit environment, we have a seamless transition to a bilateral arrangement.
How would you see, in your role, the benefit of the Commonwealth right now, now that the Queen at that summit handed over the reins, so to speak, to Prince Charles?
I think Her Majesty chose her words very carefully in her opening remarks at Buckingham Palace to the leaders. And she said, “When the time comes” that the choice would be the Prince of Wales to succeed her. And so I am hoping that we can enjoy many years of the Queen’s continued leadership in the Commonwealth.
Are we, as a Commonwealth nation, giving a wedding present to Harry and Meghan?
It has been the tradition that Canada has provided wedding gifts to the Royal Family in the past. But I couldn’t possibly scoop the prime minister and the governor general on what our gift will be.
So you know? Is it hiding somewhere in Canada House? This is a really remarkable place though, and Prince Harry has been here, also.
Prince Harry did in fact come by when we were having a special ceremony to honour the Canadian fallen in Afghanistan.
And what about Meghan Markle? We sort of like to claim her as an honorary Canadian.
One of the earliest outings of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as a couple was at the Invictus Games in Toronto. And so the early signs that the world had of the brewing romance about to become a marriage between the two of them took place in Canada. And I think that’s just another reason for Canadians to be so interested in the upcoming wedding this weekend.
And what do you say to the anti-Monarchists out there?
One of the great things about Canada is we’re free to disagree with each other. But I think that the value of those institutions and the value of our constitutional form of government with the Queen as our head of state has a lot of benefits. And I think we wouldn’t want to be throwing that away too easily.
With a report from CTV National News Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme