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Utopia Talk / Politics / King Harry
| Wed Jul 04 23:27:43|
There’s nothing to stop Canada from immediately making Prince Harry our king
The Canadian constitution says we need a monarch, but it doesn’t specify who that needs to be
Tristin Hopper June 11, 2018
11:23 AM EDT
Thanks to a series of tiny loopholes in Canadian law, it’s technically possible that Canada could immediately crown Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as King and Queen of Canada.
The theory was devised by Philippe Lagasse, a Carleton University professor and one of Canada’s leading experts on the impenetrable morass that is the Westminster system.
“According to the federal government’s interpretation of royal succession in Canada, we could arguably make Harry the King of Canada with a simple parliamentary statute,” he wrote in 2017.
Lagasse’s “King Harry” theory is predicated on the notion that Canada’s constitution is pretty clear that the country’s executive authority is “vested in the Queen” — but it doesn’t specify who that Queen must be.
There is nothing in Canadian law that explicitly states that our monarch must be a descendant of Queen Victoria, or even that the monarch of Canada has to be the same person as the monarch of the U.K.
As the sixth in line to the British throne, under current circumstances Harry won’t have a shot at becoming King of Canada unless there’s some kind of devastating royal blimp crash.
But Canada could conceivably bump him to the front of the line with little more than an act of parliament — meaning that Harry’s rust-coloured head could be on our coins within the span of a month.
The process isn’t nearly as easy if Canada wanted to ditch the monarchy altogether. Under section 41 of the Constitution, changing anything about the “office of the Queen” requires the unanimous consent of all 10 provinces.
Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, enjoys a horse race earlier this month. John Rainford/Wenn.org
However, it might be possible to keep the “office of the Queen” untouched and simply change the rules on who gets to sit there. In that case, the measure would only need a section 44 constitutional amendment.
These “section 44” amendments only require a parliamentary vote, which are extraordinarily easy under a majority government.
“If the office doesn’t identify the rules that determine the office holder, then it merely address the powers and function,” Lagasse told the National Post.
Federal government lawyers would argue strenuously that Lagasse is wrong, and that Canada’s very existence is tied up in the notion that the British monarch absolutely has to be Canada’s head of state.
They even have legal precedent. In a 2003 Ontario Superior Court case, federal lawyers successfully argued that while it’s not explicitly written down, Canadian law is deeply encoded with the notion that the King or Queen of Canada has to be the same one as in the U.K.
“One cannot accept the monarch but reject the legitimacy or legality of the rules by which this monarch is selected,” read the case decision.
Most notably, it’s still the written law in Canada that the country is “federally united into One Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.”
However, Lagasse points out that we can’t be “united” under the British Crown, since that would mean we’re part of the British state. While that worked for early Canadians (who were indeed British citizens), it’s no longer legally the case. Also, thanks in part to some well-armed Dubliners, the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” doesn’t technically exist anymore.
Dubliners now don’t have anyone as their monarch, although that’s a whole other story. Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg
To those who doubt the legality of swapping out the Canadian monarch with a single parliamentary vote, Lagasse suggested imagining a scenario in which Britain becomes a republic: Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister of the U.K., abolishes the British Crown, and exiles Elizabeth II to Iceland.
Under the government’s view that Canada’s monarch has to be the same as in Britain, this would effectively leave the country without a head of state. With no more “British Crown,” after all, Elizabeth would just become some random Icelander.
For expediency’s sake, Lagasse said it’s highly likely that Ottawa would suddenly warm to his view that the “office of the Queen” isn’t explicitly tied to the U.K. Thus, Ottawa would only need a parliament vote to “section 44” Elizabeth back into the top job.
The alternative, after all, would be a “section 41” amendment — the pain-in-the-butt kind that requires consent from all 10 provinces. In a country that includes both Saskatchewan and Quebec, the federal government has gotten a lot of practice at finding ways to avoid obtaining unanimous provincial consent for anything.
If Lagasse is right about all this — and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could indeed rush through a bill to immediately crown Harry as our king — chances still remain high that the Supreme Court of Canada would quickly slap down the measure.
If the justices can rule against carrying beer over provincial borders, it stands to reason that they would probably find a way to rule against a sudden dismissal of the Queen, no matter what technicalities some Westminster expert may have uncovered.
Another speedbump is that the move would obviously require Harry’s consent, and he is unlikely to betray his family simply for the prestige of ruling over Canada.
Resident monarchies also don’t have the best track record in the Western Hemisphere. In the 1860s, Napoleon III dispatched an Austrian royal, Maximilian, to sail to Mexico and become the country’s king.
Maximilian only lasted four years until local Mexicans executed him by firing squad only 11 days before Canada’s July 1, 1867 birthday.
Maximilian I of Mexico, who can give you at least one good reason why Europeans shouldn’t cross the Atlantic to become kings. Wikimedia Commons
The House of Windsor actually does have some experience with refusing to be someone’s monarch.
In 1965, the African country of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) unilaterally declared independence from the U.K.
Rhodesia’s white supremacist rulers proclaimed Elizabeth II as their queen, but the British monarch strenuously ignored them until they eventually stamped off to become a republic (which didn’t end up going so well).
Incidentally, it would be way easier for New Zealand to crown Harry as their king. Under a 2013 law, the Kiwis essentially patriated the ability to determine their own rules for monarchical succession, rather than simply relying on whatever the British are doing.
As a result, New Zealand don’t need clever loopholes to change their monarch — and they don’t even have a Senate or a constitution to get in the way.
| Wed Jul 04 23:28:10|
| Thu Jul 05 01:30:49|
Why not just ditch the excess bagage altogether?
| Thu Jul 05 01:59:15|
There's lots of things in Canadian law that are theoretically possible. Problem is, our government is in love with the idea of common law, so everything is based in precedent. Its rare someone is willing to stick out their neck too set a new precedent. The Canadian Monarch has always been the British Monarch, therefore that will most likely stay the same for as long as the line exists.
Also, it really doesnt matter, since the British Monarchy doesnt have anything to do with Canadian politics anyways. We pay some a shit ton of money to sit in a fancy chair and sign stuff in the Queen's name.
| Thu Jul 05 02:02:05|
As a result, New Zealand don’t need clever loopholes to change their monarch — and they don’t even have a Senate or a constitution to get in the way. '
The Constitution can be ignored at any time by invoking the not withstanding clause or the war measures act.
According to precedent, war is not a prerequisite for passing the act.
| Thu Jul 05 02:34:07|
So sick of hearing about William and Meghan Kardashian.
| Thu Jul 05 03:53:55|
If they made Prine Harry King, who would Britain invade?
| Thu Jul 05 03:54:16|
| Thu Jul 05 04:59:16|
"There is nothing in Canadian law that explicitly states that our monarch must be a descendant of Queen Victoria"
Ahhhh you could make Trump your King, too? That would be an easy way to avoid all tariffs, you should really think about it.
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