A Quebec political party opposed to swearing an oath to Britain’s King Charles said it expects to introduce legislation on Thursday that would make such fealty optional.
Left-leaning Quebec solidaire, whose members grudgingly took the oath that is required for elected officials, plans to introduce a bill in the Canadian province’s national assembly, a party spokesperson said on Wednesday.
It’s not clear whether the party which represents just 11 ridings in the 125 seat assembly would have widespread support.
It comes after the death of Queen Elizabeth in September revived debate among Canadians on whether the country should continue with the decades-old system of British monarchy.
Canada is a member of the Commonwealth, made up mostly of former British empire countries that have, or had the British monarch as head of state.
Yet in recent opinion polls, Canadians have expressed minimal attachment to the British monarchy, especially in mostly French-speaking Quebec, said Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies.
A Sept. 13 Leger poll of North American attitudes to the British monarchy showed 87% of Quebecers said they had no personal attachment, roughly on par with Americans and compared with 71% in British Columbia and 73% in Ontario.
Charles, 73, automatically became king of the United Kingdom and the head of state of 14 other nations, including Canada, when his mother, Queen Elizabeth, died on Sept. 8. Read full story
Longstanding opposition to the rule intensified followed the October election victory of the ruling Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government, which has also pledged to quickly introduce a bill that would end the obligation. Read full story
The death of Queen Elizabeth combined with pressure from Quebec solidaire and the Parti Quebecois (PQ), two political parties that back Quebec’s independence from Canada, raised the profile of opposition to the oath.
“It is, I think, a relic from the past,” Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, a co-spokesperson for Quebec solidaire, said in an interview.
“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.”