Tuesday morning I awoke to this news story, and I had to share my thoughts on the subject. It made me shake my head a few times, wondering why it was happening, so I did some looking into the matter, and instead of feeling confused, I became intrigued, so I had to do a little digging to find out what was going on…
So here’s the just of it all – two professors from Laval University in Quebec City, QC, are claiming that the Harper government failed to gain the consent of all of Canada’s provinces when it adopted the new law of succession (The Succession to the Throne Act) passed by the British government, as stated i . This new British law states that it will allow the first born, whether it be a girl or boy, to succeed to the throne, as well as allowing heirs within the line of succession who have married a Roman Catholic. Due to these actions of the Harper government, the professors believe that a constitutional amendment is needed in order for this Act to fully be realized.
What’s the hullabaloo, now? Well, these two professors feel that, if the amendment is to stay, that not a modernization to this law of succession should be looked at, but they should be actually be reopening the debate to abolishing the British monarchy’s role in Canada altogether. They also found fault in that this new law where religion and language are concerned. They contend that it breeches the “freedom of conscience and religion and the right to equality” protected by the Canadian Constitution (the new Act would still be barring a Roman Catholic from ruling on the Throne), as well as the fact that this law was only written in English, breaching Canada’s official languages law. These two issues, the professors contend, claim that this Act is therefore unconstitutional.
Peter Hogg, an expert in Canadian constitutional law disagrees with the claim of the university professors, saying that the Harper government would only have to follow the amending formula if Canada wanted to have a different King or Queen sitting on the throne. Furthermore, he says that since Canada is happy to keep its “present symmetry with the U.K. and the other Commonwealth realms”, then no changes to Canada’s constitution are needed. Canada is just accepting the changes the British government have made to their laws.
This is what I think…are you kidding me? I get where both sides of this argument are coming from. If I truly had to pick a side, it would be that of our government. I can see the can of worms this situation is opening (the precedence for the Harper, or any future government, to pass future laws like this quickly), but I feel that the abolishing the monarchy from Canada would be taking away a part of our culture and history. And for what? Just to further push their agenda to have the Constitution reexamined. There is already a case before Canada’s Supreme Court about getting the provinces involved about reforming our Senate, and this has also brought about questions about reworking the Constitution. Abolishing the monarchy would just be trying to kill two birds with one stone.
If all of this maneuvering were to go in the favour of these two professors, then what? Okay, so the monarchy will no longer be recognized by Canada. Sure, we can go through the rigorous task of wiping any reference of the monarchy out of our laws, get rid of any official post related to the monarchy (ex. – the Governor General or the office of the Queen ) off of our money. But the relationship between the monarchy and Canada, I feel, runs so much deeper than laws or officials or currency. The monarchy is part of the cultural mosaic that Canada prides itself on being to the rest of the world. The British Monarchy is more than just an “advisory” governing body to Canada. It has helped to shape our country into what it is today, dating back to when the British explorers landed here centuries ago.
I get that these professors wanted to get their issues about the Constitution before the Supreme Court, but to go about it this way, even when their own province isn’t against the Act itself? I think they could have gone about it another way.
I read articles from the Globe and Mail, The National Post, CTV News, and another one from the Globe and Mail to get a better understanding of this issue. I also have a link to the Canadian Constitution that these professors are making their argument about for your perusal.
Until my next post, Readers!