The Parliament of Canada has just updated the Notice Paper of the House of Commons. The Minister of Justice will soon table a bill relating to succession to the Crown called An Act to assent to alterations in the law touching the Succession to the Throne.
The wording of the title of the bill alone confirms the statements of the British House of Commons Library and the spokesman from the Privy Council Office: the Harper Government believes that the Statute of Westminster somehow still allows Canada to signal its “assent” to British legislation, even though Canada repealed s.4 and s.7(1) of that Act upon Patriation in 1982.
If Canada merely “assents to” a British law, this bill will severely undermine the Crown of Canada over the long term. First and foremost, if the Crown of Canada is not a separate corporation sole from the Crown of the United Kingdom, then Canada is not an independent, sovereign country. The Harper Government’s method of clinging to an inoperative provision (section 4) and a defunct, moot preamble of the Statute of Westminster will turn Canada into a Crown colony once again. Second, if succession falls outside of the Constitution of Canada as the Harper Government has claimed, then the succession to the Crown immediately becomes subject to the Charter. Someone could then easily challenge the Protestant succession, or even the hereditary principle itself, in court as “discrimination.” And of course, any challenge to the hereditary principle undermines constitutional monarchy itself, because it depends upon hereditary succession, as prescribed by law.
I shall provide a full analysis after the Parliament of Canada has uploaded a copy of the bill online. For now, I would direct you to my previous posts on the subject, particularly, Why Altering the Succession Requires a Constitutional Amendment.
- Succession (Sovereign)
- Why Altering the Succession Requires a Constitutional Amendment
- Succeeding to the Australian Throne
- Succeeding to the Canadian Throne
- The Queen’s Annual Christmas Address