Canada will stop paying for Harry and Meghan's security soon
Canada will no longer pay for Prince Harry and Meghan's security, its government said in a statement on Thursday. The decision comes after the couple decided to step down from their Royal duties and moved to Canada. Ever since, there had been widespread opposition to Canadian taxpayers paying for the security of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Here are more details.
Canada 'intermittently' paying couple's security since November
According to the Canadian government's statement, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had been providing security to the Sussexes "intermittently since November 2019." The government said that this funding would stop "in the coming weeks, in keeping with their change in status." Harry and Meghan will formally step down from Royal duties from March 31, 2020, after announcing the same in January.
'Harry, Meghan are Protected Persons; Canada obligated to provide security'
Canada's Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said on Thursday, "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing to re-locate to Canada on a part-time basis presented our government with a unique and unprecedented set of circumstances." Blair said, "As the duke and duchess are currently recognized as Internationally Protected Persons, Canada has an obligation to provide security assistance on an as-needed basis."
Earlier, Canadian government denied they were funding Harry, Meghan's security
Interestingly, Blair had previously denied funding the couple's security. In January, when asked if Canadians were bearing the expenses for the Sussexes' security, Blair said, "I can tell you now, we're not engaged in providing those security services." Even after British media reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had told the UK that Canada would bear the costs, the PM never confirmed the reports.
Here is Blair's explanation on the contradictory statements
Addressing the contradiction, Blair told CBC News on Thursday, "That was the information I had at the time," adding, "But there were subsequent discussions between the [London Metropolitan Police] ... ultimately responsible for the security of the royals, and the RCMP." Citing their International Protected Persons status, Blair said, "Therefore, the RCMP have been intermittently assisting the London Met in providing security."
Harry, Meghan announced Royal Family exit after facing media scrutiny
Harry and Meghan shocked the public with their announcement to step back from Royal duties in January. The decision was taken as the couple struggled with intense media scrutiny. They had then indicated that they would start afresh, splitting their time between the UK and North America. They also said that they would work to become financially independent and established the brand, Sussex Royal.
Couple has been living on Vancouver Island with son Archie
Reportedly, since Thanksgiving last year, Harry, Meghan and their son Archie have been living in a borrowed luxury estate on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It remains unclear who will pay for their security after March 31.
73% Canadians not interested in funding Harry, Meghan's security: Poll
After the Sussexes' announcement, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation submitted a petition with 80,000 signatures to the PM's office against diverting taxpayer money to the Royal couple. The non-profit Angus Reid Institute also released a public opinion poll in January which revealed that 73% of Canadians were not interested in paying for Harry and Meghan's security, along with their other expenditures such as relocation.