After polls showed that Canadians were overwhelmingly opposed to paying for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s security should they relocate to the country, over 80,000 citizens have signed a petition demanding that the royals foot the bill themselves.
According to Page Six, the fiscally conservative Canadian Taxpayer Federation (CTF) launched the petition last week by arguing that Harry and Meghan are welcome to seek financial independence apart from the royal family so long as Canadian taxpayers don’t supplement their security costs.
“Everyone wishes Meghan and Harry all the best in becoming financially independent, but we need to be clear about one thing: Canadian taxpayers shouldn’t have to cover their bills,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. “The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is launching this petition to make sure Prime Minister Justin Trudeau knows that Canadians are happy to welcome the couple as long as they pay their own way.”
“True financial independence cannot be achieved if Canadian taxpayers are still paying the bills,” continued Wudrick. “Canadians are already on the hook for the unlimited, unaccountable expenses of retired governors general and they should not be responsible for funding the private lifestyle decisions of members of the royal family.”
The 80,000 signatures were delivered to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office on Tuesday.
According to The Globe and Mail, experts say Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s security detail could cost upwards of $10 million annually. Chris Mathers, formerly of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), said security measures have changed drastically over the years and that the royal couple would have little say in how much or how little is required. Their residence alone would require “fences, explosive-detection dogs, closed-circuit television surveillance, alarms and a security team on the ground” as well as “a team to accompany them when they leave their residence.”
“They want to live their own life as best they can and they decided this is a place that will allow them to do that. You really can’t take that away from them,” Mathers told the outlet. “They need personal body guards all the time. You have to pay those peoples’ salaries. You’ve got to pay for the vehicles they travel in and the aircraft they travel in. You have to pay for the communications equipment they require because it has to be sophisticated so that you can’t listen to it.”
However, Bruce Hallsor of the Monarchist League of Canada told the Vancouver Sun that no expectation exists that the royals “are going to receive any money from the Canadian taxpayer.”
“Regardless of whether they’re a public figure or not, I honestly think the best thing to do is leave that to the RCMP to determine what’s appropriate,” said Hallsor. “I think if they’re not going to be performing public duties they shouldn’t draw any kind of public resources. But if there’s a security threat to any Canadian resident, then police need to assess that and deal with that appropriately.”
According to a new poll last week from the Angus Reid Institute, only 5% of Canadian taxpayers are okay with footing the bill for Harry and Meghan’s stay in the country, despite having a generally positive attitude about the migration.