Canadian MPs refuse to swear oath to King Charles III

A group of newly elected deputies in the province of Quebecat the Canadarefused this Wednesday, 19, to swear allegiance to the King Charles III, considered the country’s monarch by the Constitution. In all, 11 deputies, all from the left-wing Quebec Solidarity party, refused to take the oath and are now at risk of not being able to take seats in the National Assembly of Quebec at the end of November.

In a televised speech, parliamentarians swore an oath “to the people of Quebec”. Party spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois assured that they had acted with “full knowledge of the cause” in making the speech. “We campaigned to change eras in Quebec and if we were sent to Parliament, it is to open a door,” he added.

King Charles III greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Buckingham Palace in London
King Charles III greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Buckingham Palace in London Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/Reuters

Under Canadian constitutional law, any deputy at the federal or provincial level is required to swear an oath of allegiance to the British monarchy in order to exercise his mandate, as Canada is an institutional monarchy of the Commonwealth.

However, the oath of loyalty to the British crown has always been a source of conflict in Quebec, a province mostly linked to France. The province even held two referendums to separate from the rest of Canada, in 1980 and 1995. In both, the majority voted against independence.

The leader of Quebec Solidarity, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, reported last week that the relationship with the British monarchy is about “a conflict of interests”, because “you cannot serve two masters”. Furthermore, according to him, the monarchy costs “67 million Canadian dollars each year” and the oath is a “remembrance of colonial domination”.

The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeaureaffirmed this Wednesday that “there was not a Quebecer” who wanted to “reopen the Constitution”, since the abolition of the monarchy requires rewriting the Constitution and the unanimous approval of Parliament and ten Canadian provincial governments, which can take years. /AFP

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