Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may be settling down with 8-month-old son Archie in Canada following their royal exit, but some of their new neighbors aren't eager to shell out the cash for their security detail. More than 80,000 people in the country (of a reported 35 million population) have signed a petition welcoming the royals to their backyard by demanding that the couple pay for their security entourage rather than take up valuable taxpayer dollars.
Launched by the fiscally conservative Canadian Taxpayer Federation, the petition, titled "No Taxpayers' Money for Meghan and Harry," states that "Canadian taxpayers shouldn't have to cover the couple's bills," adding that they "call on the prime minister to ensure taxpayers' money isn't used to support Harry and Meghan."
According to Page Six, the petition surpassed 80,000 signatures in just six days.
"Canadians are pleased to welcome the Duke and Duchess to Canada, but have made it crystal clear that taxpayers should not be forced to support them while they are living here," Aaron Wudrick, the federation's federal director, said. "All Canadians wish them well as they realize their ambition of financial independence."
As they begin their transition out of senior members of the royal family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are working to become "financially independent," though the details of their "security arrangements" have not been made public.
"True financial independence cannot be achieved if Canadian taxpayers are still paying the bills," Wudrick added. "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 Telegraph reports that the couple currently have at least six UK royal protection officers overseeing them, though the security will mostly be up to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Around-the-clock protection, something that is needed given their public status and Harry being considered high risk after serving two tours of Afghanistan in the British Army, could cost $2 million.
The Duke and Duchess, however, are already reportedly planning on paying for their security themselves, according to sources. The couple have reportedly offered to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of security for their private business engagements that are not connected to royal events as soon as their new, non-royal business plans take off.
Although details of their post-royal exit plans have been kept mum, Netflix has already confirmed an interest in working with Harry and Markle, with the couple said to be interested in signing TV deals to make documentaries about the causes closest to their hearts.