What Needs to be Done if Canada Wants to Remove the Monarch?

AuthorTuttle, Myrna El Fakhry

Canada severing ties with the Royal Family requires amending the Constitution and reviewing treaties signed with Indigenous Peoples.

In 1931, Canada became part of the British Commonwealth. It remains one of 54 Commonwealth nations to this day. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, which means it is headed either by a King or Queen. The patriation of Canada's Constitution from Britain in 1982 gave Canada full independence. This did not change the Queen's role as monarch of Canada, but it did restrict her powers in government.

Presently, the Queen is the head of state in 16 countries, counting the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and other countries in the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean. However, the recent claims of racism within the British monarchy, and the history of this monarchy, made me think twice about whether Canadians want to keep the Queen as head of state.

Discrimination, Colonialism and Slavery

In 1701, England's Act of Settlement secured a Protestant succession to the throne and prohibited Roman Catholics, and anyone married to a Roman Catholic, from inheriting the throne. Old succession laws also stated that, under male primogeniture, a younger brother took priority over an elder daughter in the line of succession. Only when there were no sons, as in the case of Queen Elizabeth II, did the crown pass to the eldest daughter.

Gender and faith discrimination in the succession to the throne did not end until 2013. At that time, the British Parliament enacted the Succession to the Crown Act.

The Succession to the Crown Act ended the male preference primogeniture by amending the provisions of the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement. Under the new rules, the British monarch's first-born child succeeds to the throne, regardless of their gender. This Act also allows those in the line of succession to marry Roman Catholics. The Act applies to those born after the 28th of October 2011 and came into force in 2015.

However, the ban against heirs who are Roman Catholics from ascending the throne remains untouched.

In addition to discrimination, there is also the history of the British monarchy's involvement in slavery. Queen Elizabeth I was associated with Britain's slave trade in the 1500s where the "monarch supported Captain John Hawkins, who captured 300 Africans and exchanged them for hides, ginger, and sugar in 1562". The current Queen Elizabeth II has never commented on her predecessors' actions and never apologized...

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