No monarchy succession debate for Harper
Posted: Apr 18, 2011 7:47 PM ET
Last Updated: Apr 18, 2011 10:44 PM ETBack to accessibility links
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Beginning of Story ContentConservative Leader Stephen Harper speaks at a campaign event in Yellowknife, N.W.T, on Monday. Frank Gunn/Canadian Press
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says he is not interested in wading into an ongoing debate over whether to change the Royal succession system.
Critics of the 300-year-old law have used the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton to call for an overhaul of Britain's 300-year-old system, saying it's time to bring gender equality into the country's succession rules.
The system currently gives sons an automatic preference over older female siblings to succeed to the British throne. That means if Middleton had a daughter and then a son, the daughter would be passed over and the son would become king when William dies or vacates the throne.
Any changes to the rule would affect the Canadian constitution and requires the support of Canada and other Commonwealth nations.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has already said he backs the proposed reform.
However, when asked about the proposal during a campaign stop in the Northwest Territories on Monday, Harper said it was not the time for such a debate. He also noted the two next in succession — Prince Charles and his eldest son, Prince William — are male.
"The successor to the throne is a man," Harper said. "The next successor to the throne is a man. I don't think Canadians want to open a debate on the monarchy or constitutional matters at this time.
"That's our position, and I just don't see that as a priority for Canadians right now at all."
The other federal party leaders have not weighed in on the issue.
Any legal change would not affect Princes Charles or William, since neither of them have older sisters who would leapfrog them if new rules were adopted. And the issue would be moot for another generation if Middleton's first child were a boy.With files from The Associated Press
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