rights diminished by outdated British act
Toronto, March 10, 2005 -
Citing defense of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Citizens
for a Canadian Republic is again supporting former
Toronto politician Tony O'Donohue in his legal fight against the
Act of Settlement. The archaic British legislation, enacted in
1701 to restrict the British throne to Protestants, was
inherited by Canada in 1867 and to this day, bans Catholics and
members of other faiths from being Canada's head of state.
Specifically, the legislation
excludes from the line of succession, anyone who "shall
hold communion with the see or Church of Rome, or should profess
the popish religion, or marry a papist."
Canada is referred to in the
passage that includes the jurisdiction as being "this
realm, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, or
any part of the same."
O'Donohue, a member of the Roman
Catholic denomination, is particularly offended by the section
of the act that exempts members of his faith from being Canada's
head of state. He feels his views have widespread support.
Statistics Canada reported in 2001 that Roman Catholics were the
largest religious group in the country, with just under 12.8
million people or 43% of the population.
There are constitutional
ramifications as well. The wording of the legislation also
shall hereafter come to the possession of this Crown, shall join
in communion with the Church of England, as by law
By restricting successors to only
members of one specific sect of the Christian faith, the act
appears to contravene Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Section 15(1) of The Charter of Rights and Freedoms expressly
forbids discrimination on the basis of "race, national or
ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical
According to Mr. O'Donohue,
"The Act of Settlement has stained our Constitution. You
can't have the Charter on one side and the Act of Settlement on
"Imagine the head of state
of Canada, by English law, cannot be a Catholic! It speaks
volumes about the foundations of our country and our inability
to cope with the very basics of democracy. And it questions our
maturity as a nation and how we can exist with such imported
intolerance at the very fabric of nationhood", he adds.
Citizens for a Canadian Republic, an
organization dedicated to promoting the eventual Canadianization
of the head of state, agrees, believing the act is completely
out of step with Canadian sensibilities and impinges upon
Canada's reputation as a tolerant, progressive nation. The group
also sees it as proof of the need for a head of state who is both
a democratically selected Canadian and is not above or
exempt from our laws.
The Ontario Court of Appeal's
legal proceedings will be taking place on Friday, March 11 at
10:30 AM at Toronto's Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West,
courtroom 2, second floor. The presiding justices will be The
Hon. Mr. Justice David H. Doherty, The Hon. Mr. Justice John I.
Laskin and The Hon. Mm. Justice Jean L. MacFarland.
Citizens for a Canadian Republic
will be demonstrating its support at the front doors of Osgoode
Hall at 10 AM Friday.
CITIZENS FOR A CANADIAN REPUBLIC
for a Canadian Republic is a registered non-partisan, not-for-profit organization advocating the
Canadianization of the head of state since 2002.
Membership is available free by clicking here.
is available at CCR’s website.
2005 Citizens for a Canadian Republic