Succession to the Throne and the Architecture of the Constitution of Canada
20 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2015
Date Written: November 25, 2014
In 2013, the United Kingdom Parliament amended the law governing succession to the throne, eliminating certain rules that discriminated on the basis of gender and religion. These changes were agreed to politically by all sixteen ‘Commonwealth realms’, including Canada, that recognize the Queen as their head of state or government. But what steps must be taken legally for the laws of each realm to align with the new rules of royal succession in the United Kingdom? The author considers this question in relation to Canada. It has been argued that Canada must formally amend its Constitution to ensure that the identity of the Crown in Canada matches that of the Crown in the United Kingdom. The government of Canada, however, has assumed that no change to Canadian law is needed. The author considers the competing arguments on this point and concludes that, in light of the basic structure or ‘architecture’ of the Constitution of Canada, no formal amendment to Canadian constitutional law is required in response to the new rules of royal succession adopted in the United Kingdom.
Keywords: Constitutional Law, Crown, Constitutional History, Constitutional Amendment, Constitutional Structure
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