The timing is right for a conference on the Canadian Crown. The constitutional issues surrounding the federal election of October 2008, prorogations of December 2008 and 2009 and minority government have drawn public attention to the reserve powers of the Crown. There has been debate about the role of the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governors. Although there is not a significant republican movement in Canada, the role and relevance of the Crown are current topics of discussion in the media and the future of the monarchy in Canada needs to be addressed.
This conference will attract people interested in the Crown, whether academics, policy-makers, staff of vice-regal offices, or public commentators. It is intended as an academic and policy search conference on the purpose, functioning, advantages and drawbacks of the present system of constitutional monarchy in Canada and what its future might hold. The purpose is not to debate whether or not Canada should be a monarchy but rather to encourage an exchange of ideas and inform Canadians on the institution of the Crown, the least-known part of our governance structures.
The conference will convene in the West Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa the evening of Wednesday, June 9, and all day Thursday, June 10, 2010. The program begins with a panel discussion on the principal themes of the conference. There will be four sessions on specific topics. Papers are to be available to the delegates a month in advance. Presenters will give 10-15 minute executive summaries at the conference; these will be followed by 5-10 minute responses by designated "discussants". The discussion will then be open to the floor. In addition there will be a brief breakfast address; a noon-hour luncheon address; and a closing session summing-up of the conference's findings and looking to the future.
The presentations will appear on the website of the Institution of Intergovernmental Relations at Queen's University (click here to see the conference papers) and may be published in book form by the Institute through the McGill-Queen's University Press.
The conference is the inititative of "Friends of the Canadian Crown", an informal network of academics, practitioners and students of public policy, writers, and others wishing to see the institution of constitutional monarchy better understood by Canadians. The organizing partner is the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations at Queen's University, Kingston. Co-sponsors are the Canadian Study of Parliament Group based in Ottawa and the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the Universities of Saskatchewan and Regina. Funding partners are the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation, the Hon. Henry Jackman, and the Canadian Bar Association.
Hosts and co-chairs: Senator Serge Joyal and Senator Hugh Segal
Conference Secretary: Michael Jackson, University of Regina
Advisory Committee: Paul Benoit, Ottawa; Rudyard Griffiths, Toronto;
Christopher McCreery, Halifax; Senator Lowell Murray, Ottawa;
David E. Smith, Universities of Saskatchewan & Regina.