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Royal breakup? Canadians increasingly want to cut ties with monarchy

Leger poll finds 63% of respondents think it’s time to reconsider relationship
FILE - Britain’s King Charles III meets members of the public during his visit to Kinneil House in Edinburgh, Scotland, Monday, July 3, 2023. Two months after the lavish coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey in London, Scotland is set to host its own event to mark the new monarch’s accession to the throne. While Charles won’t have a separate coronation Wednesday in Edinburgh, the festivities will include a crown, horse-drawn carriages, mounted cavalry and a flyover by the Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force’s aerobatic display team, as Scotland celebrates its unique relationship with the monarchy. (Andrew Milligan/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Just over one year after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a new poll suggests a growing number of Canadians believe it’s time to reconsider the country’s ties to the monarchy.

Data released Wednesday by Leger indicates that 63 per cent of respondents said it was time to rethink ties — a seven point increase from March. About 81 per cent of respondents said they didn’t feel attached to the monarchy, compared to 14 per cent who said they did, results similar to six months ago.

King Charles ascended to the throne in September 2022 following the death of Queen Elizabeth at the age of 96 after more than 70 years as the reigning monarch.

Charles celebrated the beginning of his reign with a glitzy coronation in May that was attended by world leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indigenous leaders and other distinguished guests.

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon released a statement on Friday to mark the one-year anniversary of Charles’s accession, in which she praised the monarch for his commitment to the environment and to Indigenous reconciliation.

“We had already seen His Majesty’s keen interest in Canada and issues of common concern, such as climate change, diversity and inclusion, and education,” Simon said.

“But in the past year, he has also shown his dedication to public service through his personal commitment to reconciliation, dialogue and rebuilding the Crown-Indigenous relationship.”

While the queen’s death prompted an outpouring of affection from around the world, the Leger survey results suggest her son has failed to win over the affection of Canadians.

Just over half of respondents, at 51 per cent, agreed with the statement that the monarchy in Canada is outdated, does not have a place in the 21st century, and “we have to get rid of it.” In comparison, 33 per cent said the monarchy is an important part of the country’s history.

Nineteen per cent of respondents said they had lost interest in the monarchy since the queen’s death, while most respondents said their interest level had not changed or that they’d had no interest to begin with.

On the other hand, the number of people who believed the monarchy “remains a positive symbol for Canada” rose by four points, to 52 per cent from 48, compared to 2021 data.

The researchers surveyed 1,526 people online between Sept. 8 and 10. While there is no margin of error for online surveys, Leger said a comparable probability sample would yield a margin of error no greater than 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Atlantic Canadians reported the highest levels of attachment to the monarchy, at 21 per cent, while Quebecers had the lowest, at eight per cent. Canadians over the age of 55 showed more attachment than those who are younger, and women showed more attachment than men.

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