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Monarchists concerned as government stops sending prints of Queen's portrait to Canadians on request

The government wouldn't confirm or deny whether a new portrait is in the works.
The government wouldn't confirm or deny whether a new portrait is in the works. - Contributed/Postmedia

The Monarchist League is now the only source of the lithographs and is limiting orders of the portrait to one per customer, according to its website, due to supply

OTTAWA, Ont. —

 In a move the Monarchist League of Canada decries as “unhelpful” to Canadian identity, the federal government is no longer sending prints of the Queen’s portrait to Canadians who request them.

Although images of Her Majesty are still available to download, the League, which hitherto helped Canadian Heritage distribute physical copies, is concerned that the nation’s smaller communities could suffer since not all have access to lithographic printing facilities.

“Over the years, we’ve distributed thousands of them,” said the organization’s chairman, Robert Finch, on Wednesday, lamenting that only a few print copies of a “rumoured new picture” are expected to be made available within the government. He added, “I don’t want to beat up on Heritage, because they have been a great partner.”

After putting out a press release Wednesday that points out Heritage’s quiet decision to stop offering lithos, Finch said there’s always hope the government will reverse its decision, or at least come up with alternatives. “In my last conversations with them we talked about us possibly getting some print copies that we could continue to distribute,” he said. “But we’re also exploring options for ourselves, for us to print them as well.”

To date the League has distributed the portraits to members of the public but also through “giveaways at public events,” he said, such as at citizenship ceremonies and local fairs.

The official Canadian portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, photographed at Rideau Hall on July 1, 2010. - Contributed/Postmedia
The official Canadian portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, photographed at Rideau Hall on July 1, 2010. - Contributed/Postmedia

 

The government’s decision, Finch suspects, has to do with its overall “digital strategy” and its attempts to be “greener” — which he supports. “Maybe they are appealing to a demographic who is much more inclined to download versus print, I could certainly see that,” he mused.

A spokeswoman for Canadian Heritage said the decision was taken after “careful study, taking into account escalating costs and the environmental impact.

“The predominance of digital technology makes it possible for Canadians to download, save and print their own portraits and has become common practice,” added Amélie Desmarais.

“Digital availability offers Canadians greater flexibility in the format and size they wish to print and makes the portrait universally accessible. The volume of requests for the portraits was not a consideration.”

Finch argued that the Queen’s image is a “constant,” as politicians come and go, and that visible reminders of constitutional monarchy are good for the public. “It’s important for Canadians to see the picture of the Queen on the wall.”

The photograph on offer, captured on Canada Day in 2010, shows Queen Elizabeth II clad in white, sporting a crown with matching earrings, necklace, bracelets and ring, wearing pinkish lipstick and her Canadian insignia — she is after all the head of state, sovereign of the Order of Canada and the Order of Military Merit. She stands at Rideau Hall in front of a painting of Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother.

The government wouldn’t confirm or deny whether a new portrait is in the works — any changes, Desmarais said, “will be announced in due course.”

The Monarchist League is now the only source of the lithographs and is limiting orders of the portrait to one per customer, according to its website, due to supply. They cost $20. For the same price, a souvenir flag from Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle is available, and also for sale are various sets of royal post cards and royal wedding DVDs.

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Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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