Canada’s Quebec makes mandatory oath to British monarch optional

Canada’s Quebec province on Friday passed a law that ended the requirement for elected officials to take an oath in the name of the corresponding British monarch of the time. The elected officials may now choose not to take an oath to Britain’s King Charles. 

Charles, 73, became king of the United Kingdom and the head of state of 14 other nations, including Canada, when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died in September.

Earlier as well, there have been various calls in Quebec to change the oath. However, Queen Elizabeth’s death as well as political pressure from the province’s two main opposition parties, Party Quebecois (PQ) and Quebec solidaire, forced the legislative change this week. Both these parties also back Quebec’s independence from Canada, and thereby run over a significant anti-monarchical sentiment.

“It’s a beautiful moment for Quebec democracy,” said PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon on Twitter. “Another step toward the emancipation of the Quebec people from British colonialism.”

“I think there is strong support in Quebec to modernize our institutions, to make sure that the representatives of the people are not forced in 2022 to swear an oath to a foreign king,” Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, a co-spokesperson for Quebec solidaire was quoted as saying by Reuters last week. 

The PQ’s three elected lawmakers tried unsuccessfully last week to enter the legislature after declining to take the oath.

Canada is a member of the Commonwealth, made up mostly of former British empire countries that have, or have had, the British monarch as head of state.

(With inputs from agencies)

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