Queen Elizabeth II has passed away, after 70 years as Canada’s monarch. While this is a solemn moment, preparations have been quietly behind the scenes for some time in Canada.
A significant event in the history of Canada, the occasion is monumental both for the leaders of this country and for Canadians, as it marks the end of the longest reigning monarch in the history of the Commonwealth, ushering in a new era with a king.
The Queen’s death triggers a chain of necessary changes, from key oaths and titles to Canadian stamps and currency, and triggers what is expected to be several days of mourning.
While federal departments have kept detailed plans close to their chests, CTVNews.ca breaks down what we know so far about the next steps and explores both the ceremonial and constitutional elements the government should implement.
WHO IN CANADA WAS NOTIFIED FIRST?
By decreeing what is known as ‘Operation London Bridge’ – detailed but delicate plans to contact other countries in the Commonwealth and where the Queen is head of state – the Governor General is expected to and the Prime Minister received slightly advanced notice, or at least a warning that a major announcement was imminent.
Governor General Mary Simon, Queen’s Representative to Canada offered him its “deepest condolences” saying that Canadians across the country will mourn his loss.
The Interpretation Act states that in the event of the death of the monarch, the Governor General must issue a formal proclamation to that effect.
Beyond that, Rideau Hall has been tight-lipped about what the Governor General will do in the coming days.
They were also hesitant to provide information on any other procedural elements the office would be involved in, other than to say that Simon’s office worked closely with the Privy Council, the Department of Canadian Heritage and other relevant offices to ensure that all appropriate measures are in place. Expect updates on this soon.
Will there be a period of mourning?
Yes. In Canada, there will likely be several days of mourning. We are awaiting an official announcement on this and whether the day of the funeral will be a public holiday.
Because seven decades have passed since a monarch’s last death, some of the past rituals may be modernized for the Queen’s passing, but expect a chain of events similar to what happened with the Queen. death of Prince Philip in 2020, on a much grander scale. .
During this period, all Canadian flags will fly at half-mast on all federal buildings and establishments in Canada and abroad, including the Peace Tower, from the time of death notification until sunset. the day of the funeral or memorial service.
Also expect to see condolence books placed in legislative buildings across the country and made available for Canadians to sign online. Public events or ceremonies involving government officials may also be postponed.
WHAT HAPPENS TO PARLIAMENT AND SENIOR CIVIL SERVANTS?
On the death of the Queen, the federal Parliament and the provincial legislatures should be suspended for a time. Given that the federal parliament is not expected to resume until September 19, it remains to be seen what will happen.
The length of the adjournment could vary from Parliament to Parliament, according to CTV News Royal commentator and former adviser to Governors General Richard Berthelsen.
If MPs had been in Ottawa, the prime minister would usually present a motion expressing loyalty to the new monarch which would have to be supported by the opposition.
Notably, a change of head of state does not mean that parliament should be dissolved or prorogued; it can continue under the current session.
“The Canadian political establishment will be seized with this issue…many issues will kind of be put aside for a while, and there will be a political discussion about the institution,” Berthelsen said.
When it comes to the Privy Council Office (PCO) – the central federal office that supports the Prime Minister and Cabinet – there will be many moving parts as they adjust the oaths and other key documents of the Queen’s Privy Council. to the King’s Privy Council, but that office also remained silent on the plans before the death.
WILL THE QUEEN’S PORTRAITS BE DELETED?
Yes, finally. Because it will take time for new official portraits of the King to be printed and framed, Berthelsen said it is possible that Canadian government offices and institutions that have portraits of the Queen hung may drape them in fabric. or black tape.
There have also been discussions that some federal officials and employees should wear black armbands during the mourning period, but officials would not comment to CTVNews.ca on those plans and whether there are any stocks. ready to go.
WHAT ABOUT OUR MONEY AND OTHER DOCUMENTS?
Because the Queen’s name and title are used daily, on everything from stamps and legal contracts to citizenship oaths and passports, governments will need to stop this “as quickly as possible”, Berthelsen said. Other places where wording changes may be expected are on the titles of government documents and the names of certain military regiments.
However, it could take some time for all references to the Queen to be spotted and replaced. One element that should see a more gradual transition is the Canadian currency.
Queen Elizabeth is currently featured on the $20 note, as well as our coins, but over time they will need to change to feature a new portrait of the King.
“There is no need to replace circulation coins when the monarch of Canada changes. All coins issued by the Government of Canada remain legal tender regardless of the coronation of a new monarch, so there will be no disruption in coin supply once Queen Elizabeth is no longer sovereign,” said Pascale Poulin, Public Affairs Coordinator. with the Royal Canadian Mint, CTVNews.ca previously said in a statement.
“A transition to a new obverse (heads) side of our circulation coins will take place under the direction of the Government of Canada,” she said. It remains to be seen how long it would take for a new design to be approved and put into circulation.
Similarly, the Bank of Canada told CTNews.ca that it has no plans to redesign the $20 note at this time.
“The current $20 polymer banknote will circulate for years to come, and when it is finally redesigned, the $20 note will continue to represent the reigning monarch,” spokesman Alex Paterson said in an email. .
WHO WILL GO FOR THE FUNERAL?
Although the Prime Minister and Governor General are expected to travel to the UK for the funeral, Berthelsen said representation from the Canadian Armed Forces as well as Canadians who had a personal relationship with the Queen were also expected. .
“The 15 countries of which she is queen would certainly be represented in London at the highest level possible,” he said.
“I think the weight of the moment…what does that mean for the future? It will be something quite important.
With files from CTV News’ Jennifer Ferreira