INTRODUCTION OF LINE OF SUCCESSION LEGISLATION
The Government of
supports initiatives that ensure that the Crown remain a vital, modern and equal institution that reflects Canadian ideals. To this end, on
January 31, 2013
, the Government of
introduced legislation to provide Parliament's assent to the changes to the rules governing the line of succession to the Throne.
At the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in
, the 16 Realms of which Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State agreed to work together on a coordinated approach to amend the rules governing the line of succession to the Throne.
Pursuant to this agreement, the government of the
introduced legislation on
December 13, 2012
, that will end the practice of placing male heirs before their elder sisters in the line of succession, applicable to any child born after
October 28, 2011
. The legislation will also remove legal provisions that heirs marrying Roman Catholics would be ineligible to succeed to the Throne, applicable to the marriages of living heirs made prior to the bill's coming into force as well as to all future marriages.
The changes to the laws of succession do not require a constitutional amendment. The laws governing succession are UK law and are not part of
constitution. Specifically, they are not enumerated in the schedule to our
Constitution Act, 1982
as part of the Constitution of
. Furthermore, the changes to the laws of succession do not constitute a change to the "office of The Queen", as contemplated in the
Constitution Act, 1982
. The "office of The Queen" includes the Sovereign's constitutional status, powers and rights in
. Neither the ban on the marriages of heirs to Roman Catholics, nor the common law governing male preference primogeniture, can properly be said to be royal powers or prerogatives in
. As the line of succession is therefore determined by UK law and not by the Sovereign, The Queen's powers and rights have not been altered by the changes to the laws governing succession in
The legislation introduced today is in keeping with the Preamble to the
Statute of Westminster, 1931
, which provides that any changes to the laws governing succession require the assent of Dominion Parliaments. The Government of
is working in collaboration with all parties to ensure swift passage of the bill.
While British legislation would amend the rules, the UK Government is seeking the agreement of the Realms for the proposed changes. The 16 Realms are the UK,
Antigua and Barbuda
, St Christopher and
, St Vincent and the
Papua New Guinea
SOURCE Canadian Heritage