OTTAWA – With the Queen now in her mid-80s, outspoken NDP MP Pat Martin says it’s time for Canada to consider severing ties with the British monarchy and suggests his private member’s motion to strike her out of the citizenship oath is a small first step.
The Winnipeg MP has resurrected a motion he first tabled two Parliaments ago that seeks to “amend the citizenship ceremony” so that new Canadians swear an oath of allegiance to Canada rather than “the Queen and her heirs and successors.”
After attending a recent citizenship ceremony in his riding and watching 80 new Canadians from 21 countries swear an oath to the Queen with “no mention of their loyalty to Canada,” he concluded the issue was still relevant.
“It’s just so fundamentally wrong. These people are from all over the world – Paraguay and the Congo and the Philippines and Vietnam. Why are they swearing loyalty to some colonial vestigial appendage from the House of Windsor? It’s bizarre really,” he said. “I honestly do believe that the time has come to thank her majesty for her 60 years of services and use the transition between monarchs to revisit the issue.”
While the party has taken no formal position on the monarchy, some New Democrats called for a periodic constitutional review that would include discussion on the future of the monarchy in Canada during a policy convention earlier this year last weekend.
Martin said it’s a proposal he fully supported and would ultimately like to see a referendum on the future of the monarchy in Canada. While he’d love to see his party get behind him on this, for now he’s just grateful NDP brass let him champion it as a private member.
Unlike backbencher Conservatives, eight of whom have complained about muzzling in the House of Commons by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on contentious subjects like abortion, Martin said New Democrats are still allowed to “follow our own hobby horses without having to beg for permission.
“The only thing (NDP Leader) Tom (Mulcair) directly intervened with me, is he asked me to stop swearing at people, which I’ve tried to do to the best of my ability,” said Martin, who’s been known to run off at the mouth. His motion has been put on notice but likely won’t come up before the fall.