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

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Bear orphanage dealing with high number of cubs

Northern Lights Wildlife Society needs fruit and vegetables for orphans

Northwest Wave Riders return from Victoria Dragon Boat Festival

This was the first time in 25 years that northern B.C. teams competed

Feds approve $4M for Tahltan protected and conserved areas

Well defined stewardship will help nation reduce uncertainties for resource partners

BC Parks student rangers complete several northwest B.C. conservation projects

This was the first time the summer program operated out of Terrace

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

Activity, socializing helps maintain health, Adrian Dix says

Most Read