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Martin hopes to amend citizenship oath to specify country, not Queen

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OTTAWA – Manitoba NDP MP Pat Martin is trying once again to amend the Oath of Citizenship so new Canadians swear allegiance to their new country rather than the Queen.

He first tried in 2010 but the motion never made it to the floor of the House of Commons for debate.

On Wednesday’s notice paper, Martin indicated a plan to introduce Motion 440.

"That, in the opinion of the House, the government should amend the citizenship ceremony so that participants are required to swear an oath of allegiance to Canada instead of to the Queen and her heirs and successors.

"It’s a long-standing issue I’ve had," he said.

He first raised it after attending a citizenship ceremony where he was reminded the Oath of Citizenship requires allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II and her heirs and successors, but does not require any specific allegiance to Canada itself.

"It’s wrong on so many levels," said Martin.

He said he’d be open to compromising to have both Canada and the Queen in the oath, but would prefer it just mention Canada.

Here is the oath as it reads now:

"I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen."

Martin expects to be able to put the motion forward for debate in the early fall.

Manitoba junior cabinet minister Steven Fletcher questioned Martin’s judgment on this motion.

"I think it would be helpful if Pat Martin would focus on issues that are more relevant such as the economy," Fletcher said. "He has one of the most socio-economic disadvantaged constituencies in the country and he’s worried about constitutional issues?"

Fletcher said Canada is a constitutional monarchy and that is a system that has served us well.

 

Mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 1:25 PM CDT: Adds reaction from Steven Fletcher

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