Quebec Lawmakers Refuse to Pledge Allegiance to King

Separatist leader says it's time for country to cut its ties with the monarchy
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2022 2:06 PM CDT
Party Leader Wants Canada to Ditch 'Archaic' Monarchy
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet arrives for a debate in Montreal, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.   (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)

Canada now has a king as its head of state for the first time since 1952, and the leader of the separatist Bloc Quebecois party says the change in monarch is a good time for the country to ditch the monarchy altogether. It's "an opportunity for Quebecers and Canadians to free themselves from a dilapidated monarchical link," Yves-Francois Blanchet said Tuesday, per Reuters. "It's archaic. It's a thing of the past. It’s almost archaeological. It’s humiliating," he told lawmakers during debate in the House of Commons on a motion that would see Canada cut ties with the monarchy.

Blanchet called King Charles III, who automatically became Canada's head of state with the death of Queen Elizabeth II last month, a "foreigner who knows nothing about Canada." The motion is considered certain to fail Wednesday's vote—and even if it passed, the proposal to change the country's constitution would also have to pass Canada's Senate and obtain the unanimous consent of all provinces, the CBC reports. Critics called the motion a stunt and a distraction from much bigger issues facing the country. They also said that since Blanchet's party wants Quebec to separate from Canada, he shouldn't be the one to decide who leads the country, even symbolically. Polls show that around half of Canadians—including almost 80% of Quebecers—support cutting ties with the monarchy.

In Quebec, 14 newly elected lawmakers have refused to recite an oath of allegiance to the king as part of their swearing-in to the provincial legislature, the BBC reports. Daniel Beland, a political science professor at McGill University in Montreal, says there's "quite a bit of suspense" over what will happen, since the politicians are legally required to recite the oath before they can sit in the assembly. A spokesperson for Quebec Premier Francois Legault said the premier supports calls to get rid of the oath to the monarchy—but to pass a change to the law, the lawmakers will have to to join the assembly. (More Canada stories.)

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