The oath to the crown divides the elected members of the Liberal Party of Canada. Some consider Parliament ripe for reflection.

The insincere oath of the Bloc leader, Yves-François Blanchet, to the British crown divides the Liberals. Although some believe that Mr. Blanchet should no longer have the right to sit, after admitting that he had taken the oath without really believing in it by becoming an MP, Justin Trudeau and several of his elected officials changed their minds on Wednesday. A few others believe that Parliament is ripe for a reflection on this oath.

Many elected officials, Liberals and Conservatives, rebelled when Mr. Blanchet launched in the Commons on Tuesday that his “oath of allegiance to the British crown was not sincere”.

« He shouldn’t be sitting in the House if he hasn’t been honest in the commitment he made, » repeated MP Judy Sgro when she arrived at the Liberal caucus on Wednesday. The day before, his colleagues Kevin Lamoureux and Mark Gerretsen summoned the President of the Commons to look into the case of Mr. Blanchet and the appropriateness of seeing him continue to sit.

“The reality is that there are many people who take the oath to the queen to become citizens who subsequently withdraw it,” Justin Trudeau commented on Wednesday morning. « Mr. Blanchet was elected by Canadians to serve in this House and he will explain himself as he wishes in relation to the oath, » he opined, thus returning to the position of his own spokespersons in the Commons the day before. In the Prime Minister’s opinion, the Bloc leader can still be welcomed into the House.

Commons Speaker Anthony Rota cited a case similar to that of the Bloc leader from 1990 in which the then-speaker ruled that « the importance of the oath for each member is a matter of conscience. »

The majority of elected Liberals insisted that the oath to the monarchy is not a priority, that they had been comfortable taking it in all sincerity and they deemed it superfluous to consider making this oath optional for deputies.

« When I get up in the morning, since 2015, I don’t think about that, » reacted the Minister of National Revenue, Diane Lebouthillier, in particular, affirming nevertheless that she had first taken the oath for the Gaspésiens and the Madelinots, then to the Canadians, and finally to the Queen.

A reluctant Acadian deputy and minister

New Brunswicker René Arsenault, however, himself admitted that he was “absolutely not” comfortable taking the oath to the Queen in 2021. “My story is that it is with the help of this oath that the Acadians were deported. If we know his story, we are not comfortable with that, period, ”argued the Acadian MP.

Mr. Arseneault expressed his opinion that Parliament should reflect on the possibility of making this oath optional, rather than compulsory, in order to be able to sit in the Commons. Not only would he support this initiative, he would “even be ready to work on it”. In 1992, Mr. Arseneault had been expelled from the Court of Appeal in New Brunswick because he had refused to take the oath to the crown.

Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal, who handles Indigenous issues, also said he was in favor of a « discussion » to make the oath optional. “It’s an important question. It is certainly something that every MP must take into account and everyone must do what seems right to them,” he commented.

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu declined to comment because « First Nations people have different perspectives on their relationship with the Crown. »

Montreal MP Francis Scarpaleggia was open. « If there is a way to arrange so that everyone can be comfortable, I would not be against it », he offered, reiterating however in turn that the monarchy is not part citizens’ priorities.

The Bloc Québécois devoted its opposition day this week in the Commons to Canada’s membership of the British monarchy and demanded that the country cut ties with the crown. Federal deputies will vote in a vote on Wednesday afternoon.

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