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Canadian MPs overwhelmingly reject effort to shed UK crown

The opposition motion urging Canada to cut ties with the British monarchy is defeated in a 266-44 vote in parliament.

Canadian MPs have rejected an attempt by a Quebec opposition party to pressure the country to cut ties with the British crown, rejecting the Bloc Quebecois parliamentary motion by an overwhelming margin.

The count in the House of Commons on Wednesday was 266 against, by just 44 votes in favour.

The effort had little chance of success as Canada, a constitutional monarchy that has King Charles III as its symbolic “head of state,” requires the consent of both houses of parliament and all of its provinces to secede from the UK monarchy.

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But Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said earlier this week that the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II provided an opportunity for Canadians to “liberate” themselves from the crown, an institution he described in a statement as “ruined”.

“It is an anachronism. It’s a coat of paint in a living room that’s starting to fade in the corners,” Blanchet said during a news conference Tuesday ahead of a debate on his party’s motion.

The push comes amid debate in several Commonwealth realms, especially in the Caribbean, over the future role of the British monarchy following the death of Queen Elizabeth in September.

Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister said in September that the island nation planned to hold a referendum on the issue in the next three years, while similar talks have gained traction in Jamaica.

Barbados in November last year also gave up the queen to become a republic.

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In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the bloc’s push on Tuesday, saying in parliament that his Liberal Party was focusing on more pressing issues.

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“Canadians are concerned about the issues they face, whether it’s climate change, global instability or the cost of living. And that’s what we choose to discuss,” Trudeau said.

An Ipsos poll published in September showed that Canadians were divided on the future role of the monarchy in the country, with 54 per cent saying they agreed that Canada should “end its formal ties with the British monarchy” after of the queen’s death.

Forty-six percent disagreed with severing ties with the crown, the same poll found.

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