Monarchy in canada syllabus

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Dr Tomasz Soroka


The course will introduce students to the basic issues relating to the history, evolution and operation of contemporary monarchical institutions in Canada. The students will become familiar with basic terminology concerning the monarchical system of government, will learn about the history of the monarchy and monarchical tradition in Canada and the legal basis and practice of its current operation. By the end of the course the students should be able to distinguish the main forms of monarchical governments in the contemporary world and define the key issues and challenges related to the Canadian monarchy. The course will mostly focus on the specifics of the monarchy in Canada, with particular emphasis on the features that make Canada distinct from other countries that still retain a monarch as the head of state, including Britain and Australia. The course will also discuss the contemporary debate between Canadian monarchists and republicans on the abolition of monarchy in Canada. This will serve as an inspiration for a more detailed discussion about the future of the Canadian monarchy.

Detailed list of topics:

  1. Introduction

  2. Monarchy as a form government:

Absolutism vs. constitutional & parliamentary monarchy; monarchy vs. republic

  1. The beginnings of monarchical tradition in Canada

Pre-Columbian period, New France, early British colonies

  1. British monarchy in Canada

Political democratization – responsible government, creation of the Dominion of Canada, Statute of Westminster, Canadianization of the monarchy – from the real union to personal union

  1. Monarch as the head of state

Succession law – evolution, royal prerogative, reserved powers, constitutional conventions – royal powers, British and Canadian legal documents regulating royal prerogatives

  1. Basic monarchical institutions in Canada

Governor General and Lieutenant-Governors, Privy Council; the evolution of prerogatives, constitutional crises, judiciary, impact on contemporary politics

  1. The Reign of Elizabeth II

The Queen and Royal Family visiting Canada; the attitude of the media, society, and politicians; monarchy vs. policy of multiculturalism

  1. Film showing

  2. Symbols and contemporary image of Canadian monarchy

Monarchical symbols on notes and coins, stamps, flags and in the names of institutions, anthem, aristocratic titles, ceremonials, Federal Identity Program, oath of allegiance, Commonwealth Days, Queen’s birthday

  1. Monarchical and republican movement in Canada – history and present condition

Loyalists, imperialists and Anglo-Canadian nationalism, Orange Movement, International Monarchist League, Monarchist League of Canada – ideology and arguments; the attitude of political parties; Canadian royalists vs. monarchists in other Commonwealth countries

Annexionists and reformers, Louis Riel (The Metis Republic), Fenians; Citizens for a Canadian Republic, Quebec separatists; ideologies and arguments of contemporary antimonarchists; the attitude of political parties; Canadian antimonarchists vs. antimonarchists in other selected constitutional monarchies

Requirements: in order to complete a course students must pass an exam test taken after the completion of the series of lectures

  • Bogdanor V., The Monarchy and the Constitution, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997.

  • Madej M., Etapy zmian w statusie prawnym Dominium Kanady na drodze do suwerenności i odrębności państwowej, „Przegląd Polonijny”, vol. 18, z. 2, 1992, s. 27-40.

  • Longford E., Royal throne : the future of the monarchy, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1993.

  • Mikuli P., Monarcha w brytyjskim porządku konstytucyjnym, [w:] Grzybowski M.(red.), Szkice o pozycji ustrojowej i statusie głowy państwa, Kraków 2003.

  • Mikuli P., Zasada podziału władz a ustrój brytyjski, Warszawa : Wydawnictwo Sejmowe, 2006.

  • Osiński Joachim, Zawiślinska Izabela, System naczelnych organów państwa [w:] Konstytucja Kanady, Warszawa: Wydawnictwa Sejmowe, 1998. s. 28-41

  • Phillips S., The Emergence of a Canadian Monarchy: 1867-1953, “Canadian Monarchist News”, Summer 2003.

  • Phillips S., Republicanism in Canada in the Reign of Elizabeth II, “Canadian Monarchist News”, Summer 2004.

  • Sarnecki P., System konstytucyjny Zjednoczonego Królestwa Wielkiej Brytanii i Irlandii Północnej, Warszawa : Wydawnictwo Sejmowe, 2009.

  • The Royal encyclopedia, R. Allison & S. Riddell (eds). London : Macmillan Press, 1991.

  • Wilk-Reguła W., Królowa Elżbieta II : wizerunek monarchii [brytyjskiej], Łódź: WSSM, 2010.

Internet sources:

  • The Monarchy in Canada -

  • Canadian Heritage (Monarchy in Canada) -

  • Governor General of Canada -

  • Canada in the Making -

  • The British Monarchy -

  • Canadian Monarchists Online -

  • Monarchist League of Canada -

  • Citizens for a Canadian Republic -

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