In the 28 November edition of MacLean’s Magazine Patricia Treble reports on a study made by the Monarchist League of Canada on the cost to Canadian taxpayers of the Crown as an institution. We have the Governor General and 10 Lieutenant Governors in Canada and we also cover the cost of Royal visits each year.
Canada’s constitutional monarchy costs each Canadian $1.53 a year, less than a small coffee at Tim Hortons. That includes the Governor General, the 10 provincial lieutenant-governors, their official residences, staff, administration, travel, security and even office supplies. That’s way under the Senate ($2.38 per capita) and the House of Commons ($11.76). Heck, it’s just a bit more than the cost of the Library of Parliament ($1.16 per capital).
The data comes from the 6th edition of the Cost of the Crown Survey, a detailed, annotated breakdown from the Monarchist League of Canada. Its motivation was simple: “We needed a tool to counter any republican or anti-monarchy claims that the monarchy costs too much money,” explains Robert Finch, the league’s dominion chairman. “Second, we felt there was a real lack of understanding amongst the general population surrounding how much the monarchy costs Canadians. We want to convey the message that there is great value, rather than expense, in the service, significance, and symbolism of the Canadian Crown and the viceregal offices.”
In 2012-2013 fiscal year, the Governor General and 10 provincial viceregal appointees undertook more than 4,000 engagements.
Included in those costs are everything from the running two historic residences—Rideau Hall costs $6.7 million while La Citadelle in Quebec City is $730,000 and entertaining some 245,000 visitors and guests to those buildings. As well, RCMP security for the Governor General cost $6.6 million. There were also two royal visits in the survey’s time frame: official visits by Prince Charles and Camilla, duchess of Cornwall ($650,500 or two cents per capita) and Princess Anne ($128,000 or 0.3 cents per capita). Those costs are for expenses; the royals are never paid.
Republics weren’t a bargain. France’s presidency cost around $170 million ($2.20 per capita), while Ireland’s clocked in at an estimated $6.6 million or $1.22 per person.
“For the price of a cup of coffee, we get an institution that provides us with an excellent system of government and contributes to national unity and Canadian identity,” Finch says. “You can’t beat that.”
The Lieutenant Governor of PEI, His Honour Frank Lewis, is the hardest working of the group at 77 yrs of age.