Paul St-Pierre Plamondon refuses oath to King Charles
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King Charles’ authority in Commonwealth countries was dealt yet another blow, as the leader of Canada’s pro-independence Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, refused to swear his oath to the Royal Family. In a stinging rebuke of the Crown, Mr Plamondon said the oath of fealty to the King was a “straitjacket that condemns each elected representative of the people of Quebec to hypocrisy”. Instead, he said he would swear allegiance only to the people of Québec before taking his seat in the province’s National Assembly.
Mr St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of a sovereigntist party that advocates for Quebec’s independence from Canada, told reporters he sent letters to the leaders of the three other parties that won seats, asking for their support.
He told a news conference in Quebec City: “We are faced with a question that goes beyond the usual divisions and traditional political parties,” adding he was confident if each elected member was asked privately, the vast majority would find taking the oath “embarrassing and humiliating.”
“The King of England is the (head of) the Church of England,” the PQ (Parti Québecois) leader said. “In what universe are we going to force an elected Quebecer from a state based on secularism to swear loyalty, an oath to the king of a foreign state who, moreover, is the head of a church which, in my case, absolutely does not correspond to my ideas or convictions?”
He added it would be a “conflict of interest” for him as a leader of a Québec party favouring independence to swear allegiance to the “King of England”.
To that end, Mr St-Pierre Plamondon has made a formal request to Quebec’s National Assembly to swear allegiance solely to “the Quebec people”.
He continued: “Things evolve, things change. And I think it’s beyond the Parti Québecois at this point. Everybody agrees that we shouldn’t be simultaneously giving our loyalty to the people and giving our loyalty to the King of a foreign country.
“And I think whether people are federalist, sovereignist – no matter in which party they are – everybody feels this malaise, this discomfort towards an act that just doesn’t make sense.
“I think there is wide support in the population. So why not move forward? Why not find a solution that’s what I’m putting on the table today.”
The tradition of pledging allegiance to the British monarchy is enshrined in Canada’s Consitution and has been enforced since 1867. Section 128 stipulates that all MPs, senators and provincial legislators must swear “to be faithful and bear true allegiance” to the British monarch.
According to a province-wide poll, two-thirds of Quebecers believe that MPs who refuse to take the oath of allegiance to the British monarchy when they take office should still be allowed to exercise their functions.
And three-quarters of citizens say elected officials should take the oath to the people of Quebec, with only 15 percent attaching importance to the oath of allegiance to the monarchy, the same poll finds.
Daniel Turp, a chairman of the board and scientific committee at the polling institute, told Le Journal de Montréal: “It is in complete coherence with a people who say: we do not want a monarchy, we want to abolish it. The polls to this effect are constant: 70 percent of Quebecers want to abolish the monarchy.
“So it makes sense that we also want to abolish the practices of a monarchical regime.”
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This act of rebellion is the latest in a series of blows dealt by Commonwealth countries to the Royal Family since before King Charles rose to the throne in early September.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted her country will “inevitably” break away from the British monarchy and become a Republic in her lifetime.
After Barbados left the Commonwealth in 2021 to become a Republic, other countries could soon follow suit, including Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda whose leaders have announced their intentions to hold referendums on whether they should remain Commonwealth realms.
These countries’ independence would leave the Commonwealth with only 9 realms: Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands.
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