REPUBLICAN MOVEMENT PRESENTS LEGAL CASE AGAINST THE MONARCHY
Toronto, ON - Sept. 24,
2002 - Citizens for a Canadian
non-profit organization launched in April of this year to
promote a Canadian head of state, has filed an application to
intervene in the legal case to challenge the legitimacy of the
monarchy in Canada. The unprecedented court case, O’Donohue v.
The Queen, was initiated last year by former Toronto politician,
Tony O’Donohue, to contest the Act of Settlement. The archaic
British legislation, enacted in 1701 to restrict the throne to
Protestants, was inherited by Canada in 1867and to this day
legislatively prevents Roman Catholics, Jews, Hindus, Muslims or
anyone not a Protestant from becoming Canada’s head of state.
The case "could
change Canadian history "because of its potential to have
the centuries-old rules for determining who becomes monarch
declared unconstitutional in Canada", said Tom Freda,
National Director of Citizens for a Canadian Republic,
who also sees his group’s involvement as an opportunity to
expose the monarchy as an imperial relic long overdue for
Freda contends that the
three-century-old act contravenes Canadian law. 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
The federal government,
which has not so far disputed the discriminatory nature of the
legislation, is fighting the case on the grounds that O’Donohue,
who is a Catholic, is not in line to the throne and thus, has no
standing to proceed with legal action. In fact, the Crown
contends, since no Canadian is eligible to contest the throne,
Canada’s constitution is not being compromised.
"If we value our
constitutional rights in this country", argues Freda,
"this can't be allowed to succeed".
"The mere fact that
the bigoted act is law in Canada is completely out of step with
Canadian sensibilities and to accept it as such, regardless of
whether there’s an immediate victim, is completely
reprehensible. Despite the questionable logic that it’s OK for
Canada’s head of state to be exempt from our Charter of Rights
and Freedoms, Canada’s reputation as a tolerant, progressive
nation is at stake," he adds.
Mr. O’Donohue agrees.
"The Act of
Settlement has stained our Constitution. You can't have the
Charter on one side and the Act of Settlement on the
proceedings continue in Toronto on October 18,