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The Parliament of Canada is debating a new Citizenship Oath under bill C-99 which is a Government bill. It would replace the old Oath, the one I took when I became a Public Servant back in 1983 and also when I re-affirmed my Citizenship in 1996 and got a nice certificate for it. This Oath is taken also by all people who wish to become Canadian Citizens at Citizenship Ceremony presided by a Judge. The Oath must be spoken by the Oath taker with your right hand on the Bible or other sacred book of your religion.

 “I swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.”

The current government is very invested into social politics and advocates a progressive agenda on many topics, reconciliation with Native groups, individual rights, minority rights, feminism, LGBTQ rights, BLM, etc…. Prime Minister Justin T. has made it the signature focal point of his government’s agenda since 2015.

We had the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Native Canadians and their relationship with the rest of the population of Canada, we also had the Enquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women and girls and its recommendations. The PM marches in every Gay Pride Parade contrary to leaders of other parties who abstain. Trudeau has also appointed women to every position that comes under his purview such as judgeships, Head of Crown Corporations, various public service senior positions, etc…

This rewriting of the Oath of Citizenship was a recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s. Recommendation number 94, proposes a change to the oath of citizenship set out in the schedule to the Citizenship Act under section 24. Clause 1 proposes amending the text of the schedule, or, in other words, it proposes new wording for the citizenship oath, including the solemn affirmation.

Given that we have a minority government in the House of Commons at the moment, this means that in order for bill C-99 to become Law it will require the support of other political parties in the House when it comes to a vote.

The new propose text is as follows:

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, including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.

I am afraid that this change may cause some reaction amongst those who believe that there is no need for such a change or who do not care to recognize the reality of Canada today. I had a chance last Summer while the painting exhibit of Kent Monkman was on show at the Confederation Centre Art gallery to hear the comments of visitors. Not everyone endorsed the views expressed by the artist in his paintings on Canadian historical events between the Government of Canada and Native groups, many were openly dismissive, even angry. Some said they never taught this in school to indicate that it may not have happened, just propaganda.

I also wonder if immigrants from around the world who are becoming Canadian Citizens will understand what this Oath means. Not knowing the history of the Canada and only knowing the happy message usually presented this may cause some confusion. Since education is a provincial jurisdiction and some provinces will resist changing the curriculum for various political reasons, how then do we communicate factual information.

Bill C-99 was read for the first time in May 2019. It is not clear when it will move to second reading. The Government has other pandemic priorities at the moment.