Majority of Canadians want to drop monarchy: poll

TORONTO (Reuters) - More than half of Canadians want to cut ties with the British monarchy and scrap the constitutional system under which Queen Elizabeth is Canada’s head of state, according to an online opinion poll released on Monday.

The survey by Angus Reid Strategies found that 53 percent wanted Canada to drop the monarchy.

Support for severing ties was highest among men, and among French speakers, while women, and those earning more than C$50,000 ($50,418) a year, were most likely to support the current system, the survey of 1,032 adults found.

“These are the lowest results for the monarchy that I’ve ever seen,” said Tom Freda, national director of Citizens for a Canadian Republic, noting that support was similarly low shortly after the death of Princess Diana.

Like Britain and Australia, Canada is a constitutional monarchy. The queen’s image is on the currency and she is represented in Canada by Governor General Michaelle Jean.

But the idea of dropping the monarchy occasionally seeps into public consciousness in Canada as in Australia. That took place most recently in 2002 when then-Deputy Prime Minister John Manley escorted the queen on a trip to Canada after musing about cutting regal ties when her reign ends.

The monarchy “sets us apart from our neighbor to the south, and I like it that way,” said Prudence Preeper, of the Monarchist League of Canada.

In a separate question, 35 percent of respondents said they wanted Prince William to succeed the queen, compared with 20 percent who favor Prince Charles.

Support for cutting ties to the monarchy increases to 55 percent if Prince Charles were to become king -- a common thread in Commonwealth countries, said Mario Cansenco, director of global studies at Angus Reid.