Citizenship oath an unacceptable double-standard

Thom argues it’s time to stop making new citizens swear (or affirm) pledge to Queen

Last week, Ahmed Hussen, the federal minister of citizenship announced proposed changes to the Oath of Citizenship.

He wants to add explicit reference to the rights of Indigenous people.

If Bill C-99 is passed, new citizens will be required to state:

“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, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada, including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.”

There are so many problems with the oath, I’m not sure where to start, but let’s go with: Why are they swearing (or affirming) to bear allegiance to the Queen?

LAST WEEK: You know nothing Jon Snow (fans)

I get that she’s the symbolic figurehead as we are technically a constitutional monarchy, but Canadians have not been British subjects since 1947 and isn’t it time that we shed this archaic vestige of an undemocratic and inegalitarian institution?

But never mind that.

Why does the government feel it is necessary to explicitly state that which is implicit? If citizens are required (we are) to faithfully observe the laws of Canada, it is completely unnecessary to say “including the Constitution” much less single out one, and only one, specific element of the Constitution.

But never mind that.

The real problem with the oath is that it exists at all.

As of Friday, I will have been a Canadian citizen for 56 years. Not once in those 20,454 days have I ever been required, or even asked, to take an oath of citizenship.

And rightfully so. I am a citizen, entitled to the benefits and privileges and bound by the obligations and responsibilities.

So, why do we require new citizens—those who choose to become Canadians and acquire the status through a long and rigorous process that includes proving proficiency in one of our two official languages, paying an application fee, previously attaining permanent resident status, paying taxes, taking a test and even being fingerprinted in many cases—to take it?

It is not right.

MORE BARKING AT THE BIG DOG:

The big benefits of tiny living

A negotiation by any other name

Am I any less obligated to fulfill the duties of a Canadian citizen because I never took the oath?

No, I am not.

Are the consequences of not fulfilling those duties any greater for my naturalized fellows?

No, they are not.

A citizen is a citizen is a citizen.

And no, the other option, to make us all take the oath, is not an option.

It would be, at best, redundant and I for one, would refuse on the grounds it violates my Section 2(b) Charter right to “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.”

In 2014, several new Canadians, including Israeli national Dror Bar-Natan, recanted the part of the pledge that deals with the monarchy at the citizenship ceremony moments after receiving their certificates.

The citizenship judge thanked Bar-Natan for his honesty and welcomed him to Canada.

Bar-Natan and others then challenged the constitutionality of the pledge in court.

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled against the complainants saying the oath for new citizens was constitutional and the pledge to the Queen was merely symbolic and not to be taken literally.

Nevertheless, the court upheld the right of those new Canadians to publicly recant the portion of the oath they found offensive.

To rule otherwise would violate a citizen’s Charter rights, but it’s okay to deny those rights to prospective citizens moments before they become citizens only to allow it moments later?

If that does not underscore the need to abolish the oath altogether, I’m not sure what does.



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Ramona Wilson Memorial Walk: Twenty-five years, but still no closure

“What we’re standing for today is that nobody is going to sweep this under the rug, nobody.”

Muheim class repeats 2017 award for interaction with seniors

Liliana Pesce’s Grade 4-5 class honoured by BC Retired Teachers Association

Bulkley Valley U14 boys soccer squad wins zones

The Rapids will now proceed to provincial championship in Prince George July 4-5

Donaldson announces seal coating for portions of Hwy 16, Kispiox

Two sections of road in the Bulkley Valley have had their fate sealed.

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Most Read