Most Canadians indifferent to British monarchy, untouched by Queen’s death: poll

Most Canadians indifferent to British monarchy, untouched by Queen's death: poll
Queen Elizabeth II is silhouetted in Barbados in 1989 during welcoming ceremonies at the airport. A new poll suggests most Canadians feel no attachment to the British monarchy, and that few have been personally impacted by Queen Elizabeth’s death.

A new poll suggests that while many Canadians plan to watch Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral next week, the vast majority have not been personally impacted by her passing and feel no attachment to the monarchy.

The poll from Leger and the Association of Canadian Studies also found that while some Canadians are happy about King Charles III taking the throne and others are not, most are largely indifferent to Canada’s new head of state.

The results, which are based on an online survey of 1,565 Canadians polled between Sept. 9 and 11, are among the first to assess how Canadians feel about the monarchy since the 96-year-old Queen died last week.

Respondents were fairly split when it came to watching the Queen’s funeral, with 48 per cent saying they planned to tune into the ceremony when it is televised next Monday and the same percentage saying they would not.

Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque said it appears many won’t be watching out of genuine affection for the monarch, who was also Canada’s longest-serving head of state.

That’s because only about a quarter of all respondents said they had been even moderately personally impacted by the Queen’s death, while nearly 75 per cent said they felt little to no impact at all.

“It’s curiosity more than caring at this point,” Bourque said.

The survey results, which cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples, suggested a lack of connection not only with the Queen, but also her heir and the monarchy as a whole.

Participants were asked whether they thought the accession of King Charles to the throne was good or bad news. While 15 per cent struck a positive tone and 16 per cent took the opposing view, 61 per cent said they were indifferent.

However, that apathy didn’t end with the new King as 77 per cent said they felt no attachment to the British monarchy. That compared to 19 per cent who did, and four per cent who did not know or preferred not to answer.

While respondents in Quebec were far more likely to harbour negative attitudes toward the monarchy than those in other parts of the country, Bourque said the results nonetheless showed a general sense of apathy about the Crown in Canada.

“It got me thinking over the past four days, there’s nothing else on the news media than Elizabeth,” he said. “Yet the majority of viewers don’t really care.”

Exactly why so few seem to care about the monarchy wasn’t clear, but Bourque pointed to the shrinking number of Canadians whose ancestors hailed from Britain as one likely explanation.

Canadians over the age of 55 were also more likely to hold positive views or attachments to the Queen and Crown, which Bourque said is a sign that when it comes to younger people, the monarchy is “losing its relevance in Canada.”

In deference to the Queen and those in mourning, Bourque said a conscious decision was made not to ask respondents whether it was time to end Canada’s link to the monarchy. However, he said future surveys will likely broach the subject.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 13, 2022.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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