New Canadians continue fight to disavow citizenship oath to Queen

Small number – about 30.

While I am not a fan of the current oath (Australia did away with its oath to the Queen in 1994), I do not believe that individual disavowal, rather than advocating for a new oath, is the more appropriate approach. And it does suggest contempt for our history and institutions.

It is possible that at some time, the current government may decide to revisit the oath, as the Chretien government considered doing almost 20 years ago:

Emboldened by comments from Ontario’s highest court, a tiny but determined group of new, and not-so-new, Canadians have been publicly disavowing the oath to the Queen they were forced to take to become citizens.

Some are making the required pledge, then formally renouncing it as soon as their citizenship ceremonies are over. Others have waited decades to declare their anti-monarchist views.

“It is pretty hard for me to consciously swear to be faithful and to bear true allegiance to someone who has inherited her privileges and without having to prove any other merit than the fact to be the ‘child of’,” said Eric Dumonteil, a French national who became a citizen last week.

“How could I rationally swear the same thing to her heirs and successors? Signing a blank cheque to some people that don’t exist yet? Not for me.”

Dumonteil, 31, of Montreal, who came to Canada five years ago, handed a letter stating his position on the oath to the citizenship judge and clerk following his ceremony.

In 2014, an Israeli national, Dror Bar-Natan, along with a Jamaican woman and Irishman, lost a battle to have the courts strike down as discriminatory the requirement for would-be citizens to swear to be “faithful and bear true allegiance to Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors.”

However, in refusing to nix the requirement, the Ontario Court of Appeal noted the trio had the opportunity to “publicly disavow what they consider to be the message conveyed by the oath” as well as the ability to “freely express their dissenting views as to the desirability of a republican government.” The matter died legally last year when the Supreme Court refused to weigh in.

Leaning on the Appeal Court comments, Bar-Natan, who called the oath tantamount to a “hazing” ritual, recanted his oath orally and in a letter to the judge moments after becoming a citizen in November. He also set up a website (www.disavowal.ca) to allow others to make their disavowal views known. To date, about 30 people have done so.

Source: New Canadians continue fight to disavow citizenship oath to Queen – Macleans.ca

Don’t want to pledge allegiance to the Queen? Seek comfort elsewhere: Macleans editorial

More commentary on the recanting of the reference to the Monarchy in the citizenship oath:

It would be easier to be annoyed with Bar-Natan’s hypocrisy if he was less effusive in his praise for his new homeland. “I’m definitely proud to be a Canadian,” he told the Canadian Press after the ceremony. “It’s a wonderful country, a truly wonderful country, with one small iota that I disagree with.” That said, Canada is not an à la carte proposition in which new citizens should be encouraged to sign up for the bits they like and ignore the rest. Anyone who finds the totality of Canadian democracy repulsive is welcome to seek comfort elsewhere. Perhaps in time Bar-Natan will come to realize the bothersome oath to Queen Elizabeth the Second that irks him is actually an essential component of Canada’s remarkable tradition of freedom, tolerance and diversity.

When Britain took control of Quebec following the 1759 Conquest, Canada’s “citizens”—the 70,000 or so habitants who suddenly found themselves British subjects—were initially required to take an anti-Catholic “Test Act” oath to vote or hold public office. Concern for the rights of his French-speaking, Catholic citizenry led Quebec governor Guy Carleton to replace this offensive religious obligation in 1774 with a uniquely Canadian compromise: a secular oath pledging allegiance instead to the Crown. This early expression of Canadian constitutionalism allowed the Canadiens to participate fully in society and guaranteed their freedom of religion.

Today’s oath is a direct descendant of Carleton’s innovation. It is a deliberate effort to mould an inclusive society out of diverse parts—and the very reason Bar-Natan can become a Canadian while at the same time expressing dissent, however sanctimoniously. We should be celebrating this remarkable history of toleration, not disavowing it.

Source: Don’t want to pledge allegiance to the Queen? Seek comfort elsewhere

New Canadian renounces oath to the Queen, pledges ‘true’ loyalty only to Canada – Toronto – CBC News

Further to my earlier post (Man set to recant oath to the Queen right after #citizenship ceremony). He did make his allegiance to Canada clear, limiting the issue to the Monarchy.

Highly unlikely that changing the oath will be a priority for the government given so much else on their agenda, including changes to the Citizenship Act:

At a citizenship ceremony in east Toronto, Bar-Natan first swore the oath along with some 80 others and then, while being handed his citizenship certificate, informed the citizenship judge of his intent to disavow the portion of the oath pledging allegiance to the Queen.

He formally recanted that part of the oath following the ceremony and handed the judge a letter explaining his decision.

“I wish to affirm my allegiance, my true allegiance to Canada and the people of Canada, but also to disavow the royalty part and only the royalty part of the citizenship oath,” Bar-Natan told the judge as others looked on.

“I hear you sir. And I thank you for your honesty,” said citizenship judge Albert Wong, who shook Bar-Natan’s hand. “I welcome you to Canada and I look forward to the contributions you will make.”

Bar-Natan later said he had felt “somewhat humiliated” at having to say the oath at all, despite being able to disavow the part of it he disagreed with later.

“I do feel that it is comparable to hazing, the fact that you are required to stand up and express views that are opposite to yours,” he said. “I don’t think it is a part of Canada to impose political speech on others. To impose opinions on others.”

Bar-Natan added that a website he has set up — disavowal.ca — will allow other Canadians to publicly disavow their pledge to the Queen, regardless of when they took their oath.

Bar-Natan’s controversial decision sparked some strong reactions on social media.

“Strip him of citizenship the moment he disavows the oath. If he doesn’t want to keep the oath, he shouldn’t be made a Canadian,” tweeted one person.

“Why do people come here if they have no intention of following the basic requirements,” said another.

Bar-Natan’s lawyer said he hoped his client’s actions would draw the new Liberal government’s attention to re-evaluating the wording of the citizenship oath that deals with the monarchy.

“He underlined how silly it is to require somebody to say it,” said Peter Rosenthal. “I hope that will contribute to the public debate about this and the present Liberal government will do what the Chretien government almost did in 1994.”

In the 1990s, former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien was set to scrap the oath to the Queen but got cold feet at the last minute, then-citizenship minister Sergio Marchi has told The Canadian Press.

Source: New Canadian renounces oath to the Queen, pledges ‘true’ loyalty only to Canada – Toronto – CBC News

Man set to recant oath to the Queen right after #citizenship ceremony

While I am no fan of the current citizenship oath and its reference to the Queen (even if the reference refers more to the institution of the Crown, rather than the Queen personally), I find these kinds of cases silly.

The proper way to change the oath is not through the courts but rather through Parliament.

And it does beg the question, whether recanting should be viewed as renouncing citizenship?

A soon-to-be Canadian has served notice that he plans to recant the mandatory Oath of Allegiance to the Queen immediately after he becomes a citizen.

In a letter sent to the citizenship court judge earlier this month, Dror Bar-Natan states his opposition to the oath, which he calls “repulsive,” and his plan to renege on the pledge following his citizenship ceremony on Monday.

The Queen is a symbol of entrenched and outdated privilege and the pledge is tantamount to a “hazing” ritual, Bar-Natan said in an interview.

“To become a Canadian citizen, I am made to utter phrases which are silly and ridiculous and offensive,” he said. “I don’t want to be there.”

Bar-Natan, 49, a math professor from Israel who has been in Canada for 13 years, was one of three longtime permanent residents who challenged the constitutionality of making citizenship conditional on promising to be “faithful and bear true allegiance to Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors.”

In upholding the requirement, Ontario’s top court said the Queen remains Canada’s head of state and the oath was a “symbolic commitment to be governed as a democratic constitutional monarchy unless and until democratically changed.”

The court also found that all citizens have the right to espouse anti-monarchist views and new Canadians could “publicly disavow what they consider to be the message conveyed by the oath.”

Source: Man set to recant oath to the Queen right after citizenship ceremony – Macleans.ca