by Robert Metz – January 1992

Many Ontarians have sensed something sinister about the Rae government’s recent dropping of the allegiance to the Queen by police officers. Unfortunately, few have been able to identify the source of their fears — fears which are well-founded since the issue at stake is far more significant than we have been led to believe, or perhaps, find difficult to believe. Indeed, the change of allegiance is yet another tragic reminder that the Rae government is intent on ruling, and not on governing.

Even though I could never call myself a “monarchist,” I’m on side with the “monarchists” on this issue. However, I have found it tragic that they have defended the monarchy on shallow arguments of “tradition” and “heritage” without adequately and aggressively stressing the principles upon which these traditions were built. Their failure to do so has resulted in an increasing number of people coming to the belief that the monarchy is unnecessary and meaningless. After all, “tradition” and “heritage” are meaningless terms unless it is clearly understood by all what principles underlie the tradition.

It is easily forgotten — and therefore bears reminding — that the British-style monarchy is an entirely different institution than a statist monarchy where a king or queen is absolute ruler. Indeed, since the Magna Carta, the British monarchy has evolved into an institution that has done a remarkable job at defining individual rights and protecting individuals from the concentration of too much power in too few hands.

A monarchy would, of course, be the last institution one would set up as a means of protecting individual rights — if one had the magical ability to begin from scratch, with no consideration to any political history or past social development (an impossibility), and if constitutional drafters had a full understanding of — and respect for — the principles necessary to the preservation of a free society. Many of these principles have, as a consequence of historical development, come to be enshrined within the institution of the monarchy, something that most of us tend to forget. For this reason, we must take serious measures to preserve these principles before abandoning the institutions in which they are enshrined.

What has made the British-style monarchy so different from any statist concept of a monarchy is that in many ways, it has evolved into an (admittedly awkwardly constructed) “people’s constitution” that has proven itself to be far more functional than Canada’s current socialist constitution, which protects the state’s authority to override the rights of its citizens. Despite its past history and current shortcomings and imperfections, it was the British-style monarchy, which, combined with the parliamentary system of government, had directly or indirectly made it possible for the world to advance individual freedom, free trade, technology, and prosperity further in the past few hundred years than was possible in the thousands of state-suppressed years before. To deny or disregard this historical role of the monarchy in the haphazard manner adopted by the NDP is both an insult and an affront to the people of Ontario.

When the Rae government dropped police officers’ allegiances to the Queen, it also dropped their allegiance to the people they are supposed to serve and protect. Under the old oath, police officers were sworn to protect Her Majesty’s subjects; under the new oath, they must swear allegiance to the state, and to a constitution that (through its “notwithstanding” clause) openly allows the state to violate the rights of her majesty’s subjects.

Lest there be any doubt about my interpretation of these facts, let’s compare some of the finer details of the old police officers’ oath with the new. Under the old oath, in addition to swearing allegiance to the Queen, officers also swore to act “without favour or affection, malice or ill-will” and promised to “prevent all offences against the persons or property of Her Majesty’s subjects.” Under the abbreviated new oath, officers must swear to be “loyal to Canada,” to “uphold the constitution of Canada” and to “prevent offences.” Gone are the phrases “without favour or affection, malice or ill-will” and “against the persons and property of Her Majesty’s subjects.”

It is particularly significant, therefore, that a socialist government should implement such a change. It is, after all, central to the ideology of socialism that governments should rule with “favour and affection” and it is central and necessary to the principles of egalitarianism that governments violate our private property rights and restrict our personal choices.

The evidence of this is right under our noses: The policies of Rae’s NDP government are all confrontational and demand that the government pick sides when it should be a neutral arbiter at all times. He has pitted business against labour, tenants against landlords, visible minorities against invisible majorities, French against English, consumers against retailers, Canadians against Americans, and the list goes on and on. The spirit of cooperation that is only possible through a free market (i.e., through the voluntary interactions of free citizens) is completely alien to the socialist mentality.

Socialist philosophy believes in force, not freedom. Hence, socialists advocate forced pay equity, forced bilingualism, forced Sunday closings, forced affirmative action, forced state education, forced insurance plans, forced welfare, forced labour unions, forced daycare, forced quotas, forced culture, and forced social programs of every type imaginable. With every new law and tax, our freedom of choice, prosperity, and security are each diminished.

It has been my experience that most individuals do not like being told what to do, and in particular, do not like being forced to support things they strongly disagree with. Recently, more and more of us have been reaching the breaking point of tolerance and an unprecedented number of groups have been forming to fight state intrusion into their personal and business lives. Many of us have declared ourselves, consciously or not, to be enemies of the state by protesting against high taxes, shopping outside the country, ignoring domestic trade restrictions (i.e., Sunday shopping) or by engaging in a host of activities or lifestyles not approved of by the state.

So don’t be surprised when, at some not-too-distant point in the future, a police officer may come to your home or place of business, not to protect you from offences “against person or property,” but to act as a loyal officer of the state — a state that is increasing its legal claim on our person and property each and every day, and a state under which our defence of person and property is rapidly being regarded as an offence which must be dealt with in the discharge of his duty — to the state and to the socialist philosophy of force.

Ontario, who stands on guard for thee?   {end}

– Robert Metz,  Consent #15   January-February 1992