Royal Succession

We discuss the proposal to scrap the royal succession law favoring sons be first in line as heir to the throne, as well as the implications of this law on the Canadian constitution and the role of the monarchy in Canadian life.



PART ONE

Satire

It's Friday, April 22nd.

The Canadian dollar hit a three-year-high against the American dollar this week.

Which is a little like saying, we've grown really, really tall compared to our neighbour who is standing in quicksand.

This is The Current.

Royal Succession - Keith Vaz

We began this item by bringing you some thoughts from the streets of London, England about getting rid of the law that puts boys ahead of girls in the line to inherit the British Monarchy. And that last man is right ... it turns out it is a more complicated thing to do that you might think. Among other things, it would involve changing the Canadian constitution. But Keith Vaz is undaunted. He is a British Labour MP who has presented a Bill to the British House of Commons, calling for gender equality in Britain's succession rules. Keith Vaz was in London, England.

Royal Succession - Debate

Fifteen Commonwealth countries -- including Canada -- would have to open up their constitutions in order for his proposal to take effect. My next two guests think that's absolutely something Canada should consider - but for very different reasons. Tom Freda is up first. He's one of the founders of Citizens for a Canadian Republic, a non-partisan, not-for-profit group that promotes the idea of an elected Canadian citizen as head of state. Tom Freda was in Toronto.

Royal Succession - Factboard

It's worth noting that other constitutional monarchies have addressed this issue, and ditched the preference for males in their succession laws... but not all... Here's a quick overview of who has done what:

  • 1980 - Sweden got the ball rolling with constitutional amendments to the 1979 Act of Succession that bumped one year old Crown Prince Carl Philip for older sister Victoria.
  • 1983 - The Netherlands adopted full lineal primogeniture -- making the eldest child heir, regardless of gender.
  • 1990 - Norway scraps succession rules that favour males. But the rule applies only to heirs born after 1990 and Prince Haakon Magnus remains hair over older sister Princess Martha Loiuse.
  • 1991 - One year later, Belgium follows suit with it's 1991 act of succession putting Princess Elisabeth of Belgium next in line for the throne.
  • 2009 - In a referendum, Denmark votes to change the Danish Act of Succession to give female heirs equal right to the crown. But Britain isn't the only monarchy that gives males preference. Spain, Japan, Monaco and Luxembourg all adhere to similar practices.

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