Canada could cause a constitutional nightmare, it is reported today, by halting new legislation that would mean the country (and the other Commonwealth Realms) would have to wait over 5 years whilst Canada’s Quebec Superior Court deals with the case which was lodged on Friday.
The issue with the new piece of legislation is that some regard it as unconstitutional because the 10 provinces in Canada were not consulted about the changes.
There is also an issue of what they consider a breach of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, because the new legislation still bars anyone ‘not in communion with the Church of England’ from becoming Monarch.
Other realms are already in the process of passing legislation on the new crown succession laws which would see an end to gender discrimination in the Monarchy. The acts, which don’t come into force until all the 16 countries with Her Majesty as head of state create laws, will get rid of the system known as male preference primogeniture which means a daughter can only succeed if she has no brothers. It will introduce absolute primogeniture, meaning the eldest child will succeed.
The UK has already passed its bill, The Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which will come into force when the ‘Lord President of the Council decides’ (which will be when the other realms’ legislation is in check).
In halting their piece of legislation, Canada will cause delays to the rest of the Commonwealth Realms, meaning that the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, if a girl, may lose its chance to succeed in unusual circumstances.
It could however be argued that because the act received Royal Assent already in Canada, it is now law – so applies anyway.
More will be heard on this case in the coming weeks.