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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Citizenship Oath without the Queen?

When I recently read that three permanent residents of Canada are challenging in court the reference to the Queen in the citizenship oath I felt myself getting really annoyed.  If they find the idea of the Queen and thereby Canada being a Monarchy offensive, why would they even want to become citizens. After all they are free to remain permanent residence of Canada and enjoy all the benefits of citizens with the exceptions of holding a Canadian passport and voting.  Instead they want to challenge the inclusion of the reference to the monarchy in the citizen oath as a kind of denial of the fact that the Queen is the head of State and a symbol of the Nation as a whole. The Monarchy is an integral part of our political system standing above our bicameral  parliament and supreme court.


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II signing the Canadian Constitution 1982

(click on photo to enlarge)

The Preamble to the Constitution  prominently features the Queen

The above document shows how central the Queen is the Canada.  She is the author of this page. This latest addition of our Constitution  (the 1982 document is not the limit of our Constitution which include all other Constitutional documents and amendments back to 1867 British North America Act) in no way is an agreement to have a Monarch. The Monarch unquestioningly preexists. At the top she is referred to as Elizabeth the Second. We are referred to as her subjects and the document is "by her command". At the bottom is the respectful comment "God Save the Queen".

For Canada, the get rid of the Monarchy, there is a special amending formulae.  Most amendments to the Constitution must meet the 7/50 standard. At least seven province representing 50% of the population must approve.  To change the Monarch, the use of two official languages or the Supreme Court there must be unanimous support of the Provinces.  This demonstrates the importance of the Monarchy to Canada. 

The centrality of the Monarchy is the very reason that the Queen should be included in the Oath of Citizenship.  I doubt if any court will uphold a challenge to this fact on the grounds that to include the Queen denies someones rights.  The challengers can enjoy the benefits of living in Canada without becoming citizens. They are not stateless, for they are citizens of the country they came from. It they did not know that Canada was a Monarchy when then decided to come to Canada, shame on them for not doing their homework.. If they would prefer a Republican for of democratic government, their is the United States just south of our border.

I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth IIQueen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.

Je jure fidélité et sincère allégeance à Sa Majesté la Reine Elizabeth Deux, Reine du Canada, à ses héritiers et successeurs et je jure d’observer fidèlement les lois du Canada et de remplir loyalement mes obligations de citoyen canadien.
I like the fact that the Queen is the personification of Canada, the Nation,it is so much better that having corporate governance and laissez-faire politics as being the heart and soul of the Nation.  How much richer it is to have our affection for the country focused in the person of the Monarch.

I am not without sympathy for people having problems swearing an oath which included literal items the disagree with.  My church denomination has a long history of refusing to affirm oaths.   The Unitarian Universalist denomination has always refused to have a creedal test for membership.  This resulted in being excluded from the National Council of Churches that required to affirm "that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour". To my knowledge we are still members of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, mainly because our denomination was a founding member.  There was a time that the Lutherans tried to get us excluded.  The Universalists, when they were a separate denomination in the 19th Century were prevented from giving evidence in a court of law because they believed in universal salvation and without a belief in the possibility of eternal damnation they could not be trusted for telling the truth if the swore an oath on the bible.  Sometimes to take a moral stand on anything is to be willing to stand outside of the mainstream.  Such should be the case of those who would like to become Canadians but who in good conscience cannot swear loyalty to the Monarch.

My oldest friend's family came to Canada when he was a small child. They never became Canadian citizens. His oldest brother moved to the United States and had a career in the military there. His sister, moved back to Montana and married a rancher. Another brother, who served a period in jail for a felony was deported back to the US as a middle aged man.  As a family, I think they were happy to be in Canada but they decided to  not take out citizenship while enjoying the many benefits of living in Canada.


At 1:45 p.m., Blogger possum said...

Hmmm, I wonder how that works for Buddhists and Jehovah Witnesses who do not take oaths or Pledge allegiance to the flag. I stopped doing that some years ago... mostly because of George W Bush. He and Cheney brought so much shame on this country, I decided it was the thing to do - or not do. I stand out of respect, but that is it.
I don't like saying One nation under God and then persecuting others for their beliefs.

Not swearing on a Bible gets you out of jury duty, too.

At 8:45 a.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

The monarchy can be debated, but I think this is very cheeky (for want of a better word) by people who aren't citizens.

At 8:58 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

I agree with AC. I had no idea that people could garner all the good things about Canada and yet not become citizens. Seems pretty one sided to me.
You always teach me something, Philip.


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