Federal government strips religious symbols from crown adorning Royal Coat of Arms

Another relatively easy measure although agree better to have public consultation:

The Trudeau government is set to use the Coronation of King Charles III on Saturday as an opportunity to reveal a new design for the Canadian crown that sits on the Royal Coat of Arms.

Sources say the St. Edward’s Cross that has been part of the Coat of Arms since 1957 — and on a myriad of police and military badges across the country — will be replaced by what critics are calling “the Trudeau Crown,” a new design created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, the body responsible for granting coats of arms in this country.

People who have seen the design say it replaces all Christian and religious symbols (crosses and fleur-de-lis) with maple leafs, snowflakes and stars, leading to claims that the Liberal government has politicized the symbol of the Crown and the Royal Coat of Arms.

“It means the proposed Canadian crown is totally unconnected to the King or the coronation, and it means the unity of the symbol of the Royal Crown that represents the sovereign throughout the realms will be broken, further distancing the King and the monarchy as an institution,” said Christopher McCreery, an author and historian with expertise on Canada’s relationship with the Crown.

“In essence, it is akin to a new national flag being raised on Canada Day, with no consultation or debate, developed in secret by those who wish to advance their personal vision of the country.”

Sovereigns have the right to choose which style of Royal Cross will represent their reign on coats of arms, coins, medals and other symbols of authority.

On Sept. 26 last year, Buckingham Palace announced that the new King would be represented by a Tudor Crown, instead of the St. Edward’s Crown used by his late mother, Queen Elizabeth.

Officials in Ottawa saw the announcement as an opportunity to introduce a new “Canadian Crown” and, over time, reinvent the supreme symbol of Canada, the Royal Coat of Arms.

The move is likely to provoke traditionalists, just as a similarly unilateral change upset conservatives in the mid-1990s. Then, Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government added a Latin inscription taken from the outer ring of the Order of Canada medal to the Coat of Arms: “Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam” (Desiring a better country).

Lack of consultation resulted in blowback in the House of Commons, where then Reform Party Leader Preston Manning asked then Heritage Minister Michel Dupuy who Canadian symbols belonged to: “To the sovereign, to the government, to some Liberal backbencher or to the people of Canada? Why were the people of Canada not consulted and involved in changes to the Canadian Coat of Arms?”

Such changes require the approval of the monarch but King Charles would have had little option but to say yes, if the new design was promoted on the advice of the Canadian government.

McCreery said there is a case to be made for adding some Indigenous symbols to Canada’s Coat of Arms “but this should be done cautiously and consultatively.”

The government could not provide comment on any consultations with Buckingham Palace by time of publication.

The Royal Coat of Arms was adopted by proclamation of King George V in 1921 and initially used the Tudor-style crown. In 1952, Queen Elizabeth adopted the St. Edward’s Crown, but it was not until 1957 that the government of Canada added it to the Canadian Royal Coat of Arms.

Aside from the addition of the Latin inscription in 1995, it has remained unchanged ever since.

Source: Federal government strips religious symbols from crown adorning Royal Coat of Arms

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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