Prince Charles and his wife Camilla begin their visit to Canada
Steph Deschamps / May 18, 2022
Prince Charles landed in Canada without fanfare for a low-key royal tour at a time when the popularity of the monarchy is at an all-time low in this country.
We are deeply touched by your warm welcome and we will carry it with us throughout our visit, said the heir to the throne, delivering a prepared speech as he landed Tuesday in Newfoundland on the first stop of his three-day visit.
But apart from a few children, officials and journalists, there was no crowd on the road for Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, who will travel to Ottawa on Wednesday and Yellowknife on Thursday.
Fifty-one per cent of Canadians and 71 per cent of Quebecers are now ready to see the monarchy disappear so that Canada can appoint its own head of state, according to an Angus Reid poll released less than a month ago.
The same pollster noted in November that 66% of Canadians opposed Charles becoming their head of state, up 12% from 2016.
Prince Charles did not have the crowd that surrounded Queen Elizabeth II in 1997 when she stopped in Newfoundland to mark the arrival of the British ship Matthew 500 years earlier.
I encourage you to learn the truth about our history, the good and the bad, Governor General Mary Simon said in welcoming the prince. Along with Prime Minister Trudeau, she called for understanding and respect to promote reconciliation.
I know that our visit this week comes at an important time when Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people across Canada are committed to reflecting honestly and openly on the past, said the Prince.
That's not good enough for Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron, who will be calling for a formal apology from the Queen on behalf of residential school victims when she meets with Charles and Camilla at Rideau Hall tonight.
In a similar vein, during Prince William and his wife, Kate's, visit to the Caribbean in March, protesters demanded that the monarchy pay compensation and apologize for its role in the slave trade.
Without offering the royal apology and recognition demanded, Prince Charles said he was "looking forward to listening and learning about the future you are working to build.
The 73-year-old heir to the throne is now a regular replacement for the increasingly frail Queen Elizabeth II. His visit marks the platinum jubilee of the 96-year-old sovereign, who acceded to the throne 70 years ago.
The Trudeau government announced Monday that it will spend $2.14 million on celebrations and community projects to mark the Platinum Jubilee.
The monarchy costs Canadians an average of $67.1 million per year, according to a January 2021 count by our Bureau of Investigation.