Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monarchist urges end to barrier against Catholics

Canwest News Service

November 29, 2009

The strongest supporters of Canada's constitutional monarchy are urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other Commonwealth leaders to "modernize" the centuries-old rules of succession that bar Catholics from the throne.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to informally discuss possible reforms to the 1701 Act of Settlement with fellow Commonwealth leaders during their summit in Trinidad.

Robert Finch, chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada, said that such reforms would mean that those pushing for this country to become a republic would "no longer be able to claim the monarchy discriminates against Catholics."

He said: "The queen has no official religious role whatsoever in Canada, so it really shouldn't be an issue to allow Catholics to become king or queen of Canada."

The succession issue is a long-standing source of objections from many Catholics and critics of the monarchy in both Canada and Britain. A British MP's bill to rewrite provisions of the 1701 act was scuttled this year by the government -- but with assurances from Brown that reforms would be considered after discussions with other Commonwealth countries.

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