Quebec makes Charles oath optional in ‘beautiful moment’ for democracy

Prince Charles and Camilla depart plane for Canada visit

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Quebec passed a law ending a requirement for elected officials to take an oath of allegiance to King Charles on Friday. It will now be optional for lawmakers to swear allegiance to the Crown.

There have been previous attempts to change the oath in the predominantly French-speaking province.

However, the Queen’s death and pressure from the Parti Quebecois (PQ) and Quebec solidaire – two political parties that support Quebec’s independence from Canada – have brought the issue to the fore.

The bill was introduced by premier Francois Legault on Tuesday.

It was fast-tracked after all parties in the legislature agreed to waive consultation.

Following an election in October, 14 politicians refused to swear the oath.

After they were told they had to swear the oath in order to sit in the legislature, 11 of them backed down.

Last week, however, the three holdouts, all PQ lawmakers, were unsuccessful in their attempts to enter the legislature after they declined to take the oath.

In Quebec, lawmakers traditionally had to swear two oaths to the people of Quebec and the Crown, with the latter being controversial.

The new provincial law amends the Canadian Constitution Act of 1867, exempting Quebec from the oath of allegiance to the King.

Writing on Twitter, PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon said that it was a step in the “emancipation” of the Quebecan people from British colonialism.

He said: “It’s a beautiful moment for Quebec democracy.

“Another step toward the emancipation of the Quebec people from British colonialism.”

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Speaking earlier this month Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, a co-spokesperson for the Quebec solidaire party, said there was no need swear allegiance to a “foreign” King.

He said: “It is, I think, a relic from the past.

“I think there is strong support in Quebec to modernise our institutions, to make sure that the representatives of the people are not forced in 2022 to swear an oath to a foreign king.”

Although the Canadian federal parliament voted overwhelmingly to retain ties with the crown in October 54 percent of Canadians want to sever ties, according to recent opinion polls.

This figure increases to 79 percent in Quebec.

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