OTTAWA, Jan. 31, 2013 /CNW/ - The Harper Government today introduced legislation that will provide Canada's assent to changes that will enshrine gender equality and freedom to marry an individual of another faith in the laws governing the Royal line of succession. The announcement was made by The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. "Since the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2011, Canada has been working with the other 15 Realms to amend the rules governing the line of succession to the Throne," said Minister Moore. "This new legislation will ensure that the Canadian Crown remains a vital and modern institution that reflects Canadian ideals." At the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the 16 Realms for which Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State agreed to change the rules governing the line of succession to the Throne. Pursuant to this agreement, the government of the United Kingdom introduced legislation in December 2012 that will:
end the practice of placing male heirs before their elder sisters in the line of succession; and
remove legal provisions that render heirs who marry Roman Catholics ineligible to succeed to the Throne.
No constitutional amendment is required for Canada to give its assent to this U.K. legislation. 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 Canada is working in collaboration with all parties to ensure swift passage of the bill. Backgrounder: Introduction of Line of Succession Legislation