As momentous as the death of Queen Elizabeth II may be after 70 years on the throne, it’s pretty much business as usual in terms of Canada’s governance.
The monarch remains the constitutional head of state in this country, no matter who is filling the role at any given time.
That’s according to Philippe Lagassé, an associate professor of international affairs at Carleton University and an expert on the role of the Crown in the Westminster system of government.
It means the succession from the Queen to her eldest son Charles is automatic, without any disruption to governing bodies that sit in her name or to legislation, oaths and other legal documents issued in her name.
Lagasse says this transition does not require any action on Canada’s part.
He adds the phrase ‘The Queen is dead, long live the King!’ applies here and in the U-K.”
Lagasse says in common law, the Queen and King are “the same legal person” because the Crown is what is known as a “corporation sole.”
Any legal documents and instruments issued in the name of the Queen or that mention the Queen will apply and be understood to be from the King.
That includes oaths of allegiance to the monarch, which are required in a host of cases, including becoming a member of Parliament or a member of the Canadian Armed Forces or a Canadian citizen.