Harper Hates Queens?

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Frmrsldr

Policywonk wrote:

... the Canadian parliament alone can change our rules of succession,...

Strictly speaking, the rules of succession are not "Canada's" because Canada does not have a Canadian or local or "homegrown" monarch of its own.

The laws of succession are British. To put it charitably, Canada "inherited" them. To put it uncharitably, they were involuntarily forced upon Canada starting when the first British explorers claimed Canadian land "in the name of the British crown." (or however they put it.)

 

Policywonk

Actually, I think the Statute of Westminster sets out the convention that any change in the succession to the Throne would require unanimous consent of of all of the countries which share a monarch with the UK.

Frmrsldr

Policywonk wrote:

Actually, I think the Statute of Westminster sets out the convention that any change in the succession to the Throne would require unanimous consent of of all of the countries which share a monarch with the UK.

I disagree for two reasons:

1. That would mean the applicable "Commonwealth" or "Dominion" coutries would have been (remember the Statute of Westminster dates back to the 1930s) equals with Britain. They weren't.

2. Eddie VIII had a lot of support. This begs the question, if the "Commonwealth" or "Dominion" countries were equals with Britain and they each had an equal power of veto, then why were they unanimous in "pushing Eddie VIII off the cliff"?

Policywonk

Frmrsldr wrote:

Policywonk wrote:

Actually, I think the Statute of Westminster sets out the convention that any change in the succession to the Throne would require unanimous consent of of all of the countries which share a monarch with the UK.

I disagree for two reasons:

1. That would mean the applicable "Commonwealth" or "Dominion" coutries would have been (remember the Statute of Westminster dates back to the 1930s) equals with Britain. They weren't.

2. Eddie VIII had a lot of support. This begs the question, if the "Commonwealth" or "Dominion" countries were equals with Britain and they each had an equal power of veto, then why were they unanimous in "pushing Eddie VIII off the cliff"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_Westminster_1931

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

The Statute of Westminster is crystal clear.  The example of the abdication confirms it.  Changes to the succession require the consent of all the Commonwealth monarchies.  Fmrsldr, you have not provided anything to support your case.  Nothing.  Nada.  Rien.

Now to Caissa's interesting question.

Since nothing amending the Canadian Crown has come up since the current amending formula was passed, there isn't absolute clarity.  That is, one might want to argue that it doesn't require the consent of all the provincial legislatures.  However, I think the argument would be fairly weak.  Changing the rules of succession is an alteration to the institution of the Crown, and so, it seems to me, that the elevenfold consent is necessary.

That said, if the proposal were limited to equalizing succession rights between the sexes (and perhaps removing the religious discrimination), I suspect that it would be too embarrassing for any legislator - let alone any legislature - to say no.

Frmrsldr

There was always something about this Eddie VIII reference that stunk, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Until now.

The case of Eddie VIII and the current issue we are discussing are qualitatively different. They differ in kind. We are comparing apples with oranges.

With Eddie VIII, we are talking about an historical person and a temporary, contingent "change of convenience" if you will that had no permanent or long lasting fundamental changes in law. The only changes that were made were in government and legal documents where the name 'Eddie VIII' was changed to 'Georgie VI'. It was just a name change. THAT WAS IT. The British crown or monarch was still the head of state. Just the name and the individual was different. No fundamental and "permanent" change to the laws of succession were made. No changes to Statutes concerning succession were required because only a contingent (in time and duration) change was made.

Changing the laws of succession from preference for first born male (if there is one) to the first born (regardless of sex), is a radical, fundamental "permanent" (unless perhaps in future it is deemed necessary and desirable for the law to be changed to accommodate transgendered persons, for example) change in the laws that will have effects or consequences in "perpetuity" (until the next fundamental change) or of long duration. THIS kind of change, given its nature, necessarily requires changes in the relevant Statutes, laws, Constitutions(?) etc., concerning the laws of succession.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Both are changes to the succession.  Both are covered by the Statute of Westminster.  Both require the consent of all the Commonwealth monarchies.

This really is that straightforward.

KenS

I thought this was about the Queens in New York.

Here's to Flushing.

TreckerTom

In the Canadian context, the Queen is the Queen of Canada. Whether or not she is Queen of Britain is irrelevant to our laws and constitution. The British could change their own rules of succession, nominate someone else as monarch or become a republic: but Canada would still be stuck with the oldest son of the royal family as official head of state until we changed our own laws. Such is the unfortunate and bizzare medieval institution that we have adopted. For all practical purposes though, it is very unlikely that the institution would survive a rupture in the unity of the crown.

The real difference between the abdication of Edward VIII and the current proposed change to primogeniture is that in 1982 the monarchy was entrenched in the Canadian constitution and any changes would likely be subject to the strictest amending formula. This would be opening a can of worms that would inevitably lead to pressure to include other issues such as the abolition of the senate or the monarchy itself.

Abolishing the monarchy (and the senate) would definitely be a positive result of any future crisis. Barring that, the person who actually occupies the throne has so little relevance to Canadian laws and practices that the successor to the Queen may as well be one of her corgis as any member of her odd family. 

KenS

First we insult the good people of Queens. Now it is corgis.

Where does this end?

Papal Bull

Pft, Queens. I am a University of Toronto lad, brimming with conceit.

Regardless of my clear educational superiority (I dropped out), why not get Bob Barker in on this game? He could start a new charity so that we can go to my default position on the monarchy - don't forget to spay or neuter your royals.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

TreckerTom has the rights of it - though I offer one small quibble.

The problem of abolishing the monarchy is what it gets replaced with.  Unlike the Senate, which can simply disappear like any vestigal organ, the Head of State would need to be replaced or the Constitution otherwise rejigged.

In this respect, abolishing the monarchy is more like reforming the Senate - it isn't just the abolition that requires broad consent, but the replacement.  And it's on that issue that agreement may be nearly impossible to come to.

Since the notional power of the Crown is virtually absolute (but not exercised because the hereditary office and its appointed representative have no democratic legitimacy), if we simply elected a "President of Canada," that person would have both democratic legitimacy AND almost absolute authority since our Parliament and Cabinet technically exist only at the pleasure of the Crown and only to offer advice.

Until someone comes up with a reasonable and sellable answer to that conundrum, republicanism is a silly waste of energy.

Unionist

Policywonk wrote:

Actually, I think the Statute of Westminster sets out the convention that any change in the succession to the Throne would require unanimous consent of of all of the countries which share a monarch with the UK.

With all due respect - that convention is indeed "set out" in the Statute of Westminster, but it is not made a legislative requirement. Unanimous consent of the named countries is not a statutory requirement for "any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles". It simply appears as a "Whereas" in the preamble, and the "whereases" are not explicitly incorporated - at least, not on my reading of the text. I don't see any reference to unanimous consent following the "Now, therefore, be it enacted" formula.

Therefore, unanimous consent remains a "convention", which can be waived without the need to amend the Statute.

ETA: Here is the "Whereas" referred to above:

Quote:
And whereas it is meet and proper to set out by way of preamble to this Act that, inasmuch as the Crown is the symbol of the free association of the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and as they are united by a common allegiance to the Crown, it would be in accord with the established constitutional position of all the members of the Commonwealth in relation to one another that any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles shall hereafter require the assent as well of the Parliaments of all the Dominions as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom:

 

Wilf Day

Malcolm wrote:
When you are interested in having a serious discussion about the issue, let me know.

As a citizen of the Royal Socialist Republic of Port Hope, I think we should wait until after the wedding. And another three days wouldn't matter much either (May 2). And then we can readily get consensus on gender equality in the royal line of succession.

But the other point may be harder. Would it require unanimous consent of all ten provinces to skip over Charles and go to William? (Of course that would never happen; if Charles had to go, he'd just abdicate, wouldn't he?)

  

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Unionist - convention is a pretty powerful thing in the UK.

Wilf - Yes, it would require the consent of the Commonwealth monarchies (which, for Canada, I believe would mean unanimous consent of the provincial governments as well) to "skip" Charles.  But the more practical manner would be for Charles to abdicate if anyone wanted to go there.  Even so, the 1936 precedent suggests that consent would still be required.

Unionist

Malcolm wrote:

Unionist - convention is a pretty powerful thing in the UK.

Agreed - I just wanted to make a (rather small) point that unanimous consent wasn't required by law.

As for convention, it's powerful until it's broken. A number of informed observers considered that the Governor-General ought not, by convention, prorogue Parliament for the sole purpose of avoiding an obvious pending expression of non-confidence in the government. Yet that one's gone.

Just saying.

 

Frmrsldr

Malcolm wrote:

Since the notional power of the Crown is virtually absolute (but not exercised because the hereditary office and its appointed representative have no democratic legitimacy), if we simply elected a "President of Canada," that person would have both democratic legitimacy AND almost absolute authority since our Parliament and Cabinet technically exist only at the pleasure of the Crown and only to offer advice.

Until someone comes up with a reasonable and sellable answer to that conundrum, republicanism is a silly waste of energy.

[Bolding added]

That shows you the dangerous and despotic nature of the British crown.

That problem already exists in Canada. Look at the extension of the Priministerial powers for the past forty years and the recent increase in the rate of extension under the Harper regime. Look at how the queen's representative in Canada - the GG - enabled Herr Harper in this by granting him two prorogues. The only way to undo this is for the Canadian people and for Parliament to insist and take the necessary actions to reclaim the rights and powers that have been usurped by the Prime Minister.

Sean in Ottawa

I'd say the law is much more subtle than that-- advice yes but the ability to refuse that advice does not exist for the Crown.

For this reason the Crown is a decoration.

The real issue here though is not the Crown but the fact that Harper likes the Crown and does not think that Women should be equal in that institution. In the middle of an election campaign he did not even think he needed to make a remark that women deserved equality -- just that his policy was to support the male biased structure.

This is a message he sent to women.

If people elect the Conservatives then they  are saying they are okay with that.

Beyond this the Crown as an institution is not all that relevant except as a suggestion of our colonialism which of course is inaccurate since we stopped being a colony of Britain at the same time as when we became one of the US.

 

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I'd say the law is much more subtle than that-- advice yes but the ability to refuse that advice does not exist for the Crown.

For this reason the Crown is a decoration.

. . .

Beyond this the Crown as an institution is not all that relevant except as a suggestion of our colonialism which of course is inaccurate since we stopped being a colony of Britain at the same time as when we became one of the US. 

 

One small quibble on an otherwise excellent post.

". . . the ability to refuse that advice does not normally exist for the Crown."

That is to say, there are circumstances when the Crown can refuse advice, but those are rare and only exist in extreme circumstances.

For example, if the election were to produce a Commons where the Conservatives had the most seats, but a Liberal - NDP coalition could form a stable majority.  The Commons defeats the Throne Speech.  Harper advises the Crown to issue the writ for a new election.  The Crown would have the capacity - indeed the duty - to reject the advice.

Well, then what happens?

The records are under wraps, but apparently the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan sought advice of constitutional experts in 1991 becuae it appeared that the Premier might not offer the necessary advice (ie, to issue the writ) before the government's five year term had expired.  I gather the conclusion was that the LG could not issue the writ without advice, but that she could fire the premier and invite a new premier who could be relied upon to give the necessary advice.

outwest

Debating gender succession in the royal family is a red herring issue when the entire regime needs to be dumped.  

It is ironic, however, that, under the media-led, equally-diversional delusion that "William would make a better ruler," everyone pillories Charles, the only royal who has actually spoken out against the status quo on occasion. 

Here's some reading about it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/25/travel/25iht-prince.1.5434896.html

 

 

 

 

Frmrsldr

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Beyond this the Crown as an institution is not all that relevant except as a suggestion of our colonialism which of course is inaccurate since we stopped being a colony of Britain at the same time as when we became one of the US.

In the Boer War, Anglo Canada didn't know how fast to send troops overseas to aid in the British effort.

In WW1, Canada automatically went to war on the side of Britain.

In WW2, MacKenzie King waited what, a whole token week before Canada entered the war on the side of Britain, without Germany either declaring war on or attacking Canadian forces or possessions.

Because Canada still hasn't 'left the nest' and still 'clings to mama's (queen Liz's or the British monarch's) apron strings', Canada is not a fully sovereign and independent nation state.

Do you think that this may be the cause of Canada's migrating from being a colony of the British Empire to being a colony of the American Empire?

It shows the nationally psychological damaging effect drinking the pro British monarchy Kool Aid for too long has.

However another source for hope is what I call the Kosovo Principle.

Frmrsldr

outwest wrote:

Debating gender succession in the royal family is a red herring issue when the entire regime needs to be dumped.  

Notice this issue is brought up when attention is on the British monarchy because of the impending wedding.

This is no accident.

The reason for this is the monarchy and the monarchists who are its advizors and p.r. people want to do what they can to make the monarchy popular and to extend the life of the monarchy for as long as possible.

Whenever you come across something that is pro monarchy in its tendency, whether here or in the media or elsewhere, ask the question "What is behind it?"

The answer is either the source has been conditioned to be pro monarchy by all the monarchist propaganda out there and is what Leon Trotsky termed a "useful idiot" for the monarchy or it's the pro monarchy forces themselves at work.

Frmrsldr

Malcolm wrote:

Both are changes to the succession.  Both are covered by the Statute of Westminster.  Both require the consent of all the Commonwealth monarchies.

This really is that straightforward.

Sorry buddy, but I'm not going to let you off so easy.

No one is arguing against the fact that both are changes to succession.

I made the case that they differed qualitatively from each other and provided logical and quasi-legal arguments as to why this is the case.

A case that still stands due to your failure to address/challenge it.

It was either you or your (possible) alter ego TreckerTom who made the claim that Statutes in the "Commonwealth" countries were altered to accommodate the change in monarch from Eddie to Georgie.

Given my previous arguments, I'm disinclined to believe that Statutes but only government and legal documents and currency, coins and stamps etc., that bore Eddie's name and image on them, were altered.

I've provided my arguments.

The onus is now on you to challenge them or let them stand and to bring some facts or logic of your own to back up your beliefs.

A word like "consult" is problematic.

What argument are you trying to make with it?

The Commonwealth of the 1930s was not an egalitarian organization, regardless of whether the country in question was a colony or a dominion. Although the "dominions" (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and possibly South Africa) had "more equal" or more legal/social/political status than the more greatly oppressed colonies, they were still junior partners in that relationship.

It is similar to the relationship between a lawyer and a lay person client. When one (as a lay person) "consults" with one's lawyer, the client asks questions and seeks advice. The lawyer being the expert, tells/counsels/advizes/recommends/suggests what the client should do. A prudent client sees the wisdom in the counsel/direction/advice/recommendation/suggestion and is wise to act accordingly. This is an unequal relationship where the lawyer is the superior agent and the client the subordinate actor.

I'll throw another contention of mine out for you to grapple with:

The Statute of Westminster is a mortmain body of law(s) that has been superceded by the Canadian Constitution.

Who was it who asked Herr Harper what he had to say about the proposed changes to the laws of succession to the British monarchy?

Was it the British Prime Minister? Was it the British government?

No, it was the Canadian press. Right?

What Statutes or conventions to succession were "permanently" (until the next time) changed when king Eddie became king Georgie?

1. There was a ('unnatural,' i.e., not caused by death, illness (physical or mental), incapacity, etc.,) change of succession.

2. There was a ("permanent") change in the laws of succession.

There is a fundamental and crucial difference in meaning between the above two statements.

Or do you not see this?

 

 

Frmrsldr

Just discovered a number of things by accident.

Malcolm/TreckerTom don't know Jack shit about the laws of succession.

They were/are spelled out in the 1701 Act of Settlement.

This is where what's called "male preference primogeniture" and the stipulation that no Roman Catholic nor anyone married to a Roman Catholic can wear the Crown of England and must be a member of the Church of England, reside.

The abdication of Eddie VIII DID NOT change or alter the Act of Settlement.

Some facts on the Statute of Westminster.

The Statute of Westminster 1931 (I thought the date of 1936 was wrong) stipulates that:

Britain could no longer alter the laws of the Union of South Africa, the Irish Free State, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The Union of South Africa, the Irish Free State, Australia, Canada and New Zealand could/can nullify laws passed by Britain's parliament that concerns/affects them.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Yes, the rules are set out in the Act of Settlement - and are as we described them.  Please stop making things up.

Frmrsldr

Malcolm wrote:

Yes, the rules are set out in the Act of Settlement.

Good job of mentioning that fact in this thread.

Malcolm wrote:

- and are as we described them. 

And how have you described them?

By arguing that the abdication of Eddie VIII was a change in the laws of succession, in other words a change in the Act of Settlement?

That the Statute of Westminster was enacted in 1936?

The Act of Settlement and the Statute of Westminster are two different things. You do realize this, right?

This "we" you are describing is who - you and your alter ego TreckerTom?

Malcolm wrote:

Please stop making things up.

I have gotten some things wrong and you are entirely at liberty to return the favor by pointing them out.

I also have my suspicions that I bring up.

But I never "make things up."

Show me where in my last post I have made demonstrable errors.

 

Hellebor

Well, isn't the main point here is that Steebun is against it? He didn't really have to comment on it at all, but he did.

 His proclivities toward, 'That Ol' Time Religion" (with that ol' time gender bias) are showing again, as if they didn't show up more than enough already!

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Yes, Hellebor, that is the point of the thread - although the discussion has wandered about.  Fmrsldr has some particular bugaboo on this issue, however, and believes that abolition of the monarchy is a vitally important issue.

Frmrsldr

Actually, Herr Harper never answered the question:

He avoided it by simply stating the fact that the next successor (to the British throne) "will be a male and the next one after that will be a male."

Keep in mind that at this point in time, these are proposed changes that may or may not happen.

Let us also not lose sight of the fact that monarchy, by its very nature, (given that it's hereditary, unelected, unrepresentative and anti-democratic) is "externally" inegalitarian.

This fact cannot be altered or avoided through 'internal' cosmetic changes like switching from male preferred to simple primogeniture.

What matter does it make if the ("internal") process of succession is done in an egalitarian manner when the ("external") reality of the institution of monarchy itself remains inegalitarian?

What progressives, egalitarians and those who believe that people should have a say in how they're governed and who governs them and societies that regard themselves as 'democratic', find attractive about monarchy I'll never understand.

Hellebor

Yep, just trying to bring it back.  ; )

Caissa

Harper can't hate the Queen. I mean this is one of his favourite songs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeP220xx7Bs

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