73% of Canadians don’t want to cover costs for Prince Harry, Meghan Markle: poll

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The overwhelming majority of Canadians aren’t on board with paying for costs associated with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle living in the country, according to a new poll.

The poll, released by Angus Reid Institute on Wednesday, found that 73 per cent of Canadians don’t believe they should be responsible for covering security and other expenses for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The duo announced they would be living part time in Canada last week while stepping back from their positions as senior members of the royal family.

READ MORE: ‘Lots of discussions’ left on who will cover Meghan and Harry’s security costs in Canada — Trudeau

Only three per cent of Canadians said they would be open to footing the bill for the couple and their son, Archie. Nineteen per cent of respondents said they would be OK with paying some costs, but not all. Five per cent said they were unsure.

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It’s currently unclear what role Canadian taxpayers will play in financing the duke and duchess. However, RCMP officials have said they are entitled to protection in Canada.

“His Royal Highness, Prince Henry of Wales [Harry], along with members of his family, are Internationally Protected Persons (IPPs) and are entitled to the protection of the RCMP while in Canada,” said Cpl. Caroline Duval of the RCMP in a statement.

The statement added the RCMP will be responsible for their security in the country “at all times,” and related costs will be covered through the “existing operational budget.”

READ MORE: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s move to Canada could be costly for taxpayers

Details on the cost will not be shared for security reasons, Duval said.

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A former member of the RCMP also said the royals cannot technically refuse security.

“I don’t believe they can refuse the government of Canada’s security,” Larry Busch, an ex-RCMP officer who has directed security for world leaders, including U.S. presidents and the Royal Family, said in the past.

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Was media scrutiny responsible for Harry and Meghan leaving? – Jan 15, 2020

Many Canadians also don’t have strong opinions on the royals’ recent announcement they will live part time in Canada. Half of Canadians said they “don’t care either way” whether the royals end up spending time in Canada. Only 14 per cent said they were “very pleased” by the news.

While Canadians weren’t on board to pay expenses, the survey found Prince Harry is among the most popular royals in Canada — 69 per cent hold a favourable view of him.

However, 47 per cent of Canadians indicated they think of Prince Harry as more of a celebrity; 41 per cent considered him to primarily be a working member of the monarchy.

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Other members of the family are considered to be working royals. For example, 66 per cent of Canadians think of Prince William as a working royal.

Politicians on expenses

Politicians have also weighed in on whether Prince Harry and Markle will receive public funds when they live in Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week that the federal government has not been involved “up until this point” in discussions about what having them in Canada will look like.

“There are still a lot of decisions to be taken by the Royal Family, by the Sussexes themselves, as to what level of engagement they choose to have,” Trudeau said. “We are obviously supportive of their reflections but have responsibilities in that as well.”

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Other politicians have been more open about their disapproval, namely Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet, who voiced opposition to Quebecers covering any expenses.

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“… I don’t see any reason why Quebecers’ taxes should be used for Meghan and Harry, any more than they should be used to finance the Simpsons,” he said, according to the Montreal Gazette.

Residents of Quebec are also the most likely to oppose the royal move to Canada at 17 per cent, according to the survey.

READ MORE: Queen says she’s ‘supportive’ of Prince Harry, Meghan Markle after meeting

Canadians on the future of the monarchy

All this begs the question of whether Canadians truly see a future for the monarchy — and according to this survey, maybe not.

Two-thirds of Canadians said they think the monarchy has lost or is losing relevance, with 41 per cent saying it is “completely irrelevant.”

READ MORE: How Canada could break up with the monarchy

However, 61 per cent of Canadians say they are OK to continue supporting the Queen, including swearing oaths to her, putting her on the currency and recognizing her as the head of state.

The survey points out, though, that Prince Charles would likely not have the same support as king — only 43 per cent would back him.

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The desire for Canada to be a constitutional monarchy is also fading, the survey noted. In 2016, 38 per cent of Canadians said the monarchy should not continue, but that number is now 45 per cent.

This Angus Reid Institute survey was conducted from Jan. 13-14, 2020 by a randomized sample of 1,154 Canadian adults who are part of the Angus Reid Forum. A probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. 

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