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EDITORIAL – Let’s take the Queen out of Canada’s Oath of Allegiance

Queen Elizabeth II.

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

NINETEEN WORDS are being added to the Oath of Allegiance. A bill is working its way through the Parliamentary process that would add recognition of our indigenous peoples.

So far, it looks like it will go through without much, if any, objection or tinkering. Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod — who is the Conservatives’ shadow minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations — pointed out during debate this week that the Oath hasn’t been changed in 40 years.

The proposed change would insert the words after reference to the laws of Canada, “including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples….”

It’s a bit awkward, and reads a little like a last-minute thing but, in fact, it’s been in the works for several years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended it. Words are important, and if these ones will help resolve some of the historic concerns of indigenous people then it’s worth doing.

But if we’re going to change the wording of the Oath, why stop there? Consider, for example, the opening sentence, to which no change is currently proposed: “I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors….”

I consider myself a Monarchist in that I see value in maintaining our historic connection with the British monarchy but do we really need to continue pledging allegiance to the Queen, her heirs and successors?

Elizabeth II is “Queen of Canada” in name only. She no longer symbolizes us. We need an oath that swears true allegiance to Canada, our home, the country that nurtures us, rather than to the British monarch.

We should honour and love the Queen, and maintain strong ties with our British heritage, but that doesn’t need to be included in the Oath. Make the Oath about Canada.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7841 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Let’s take the Queen out of Canada’s Oath of Allegiance

  1. Richard Carlson // November 6, 2020 at 10:01 AM // Reply

    Oaths should have weight and sincerity. Few would take the oath to the queen seriously, but recite it as a necessary part of the process to becoming a citizen of Canada. There have been people who have objected to this section of the oath. They do so because they believe in the integrity of their word and do not accept the oath as merely traditional dogma. What we are in fact doing by maintaining this part if the oath is telling new citizens is that we do not take people’s word seriously and that it is OK to say things that are not true. Not a great way to start a new life in a new country. Let’s make this first act of citizenship truly meaningful.

  2. R Marcus Lowe // November 5, 2020 at 5:07 PM // Reply

    Dear Mel If this succeeds, you will have added balance to our human universe. It is illogical to elevate one person. This sucks. We have done it and failed repeatedly. I hope you can get this message to “go viral.”
    Love Always, MarcusandTrish

  3. Ken McClelland // November 5, 2020 at 3:26 PM // Reply

    Swearing allegiance to the Queen may be optional, swearing allegiance to Canada is not. I would like to know why we don’t seem to be able to cancel the citizenship of “Canadians” that are proven to be disloyal to Canada i.e. fighting/acting for ISIS or another foreign government, or are proven to have committed other treasonous acts? The exit door from Canada should only swing one way. Canadian citizenship is a privilege, not a right, and should be treated as such.

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