An appeal by three permanent residents of Canada who wanted to obtain citizenship but did not wish to pledge allegiance to the British royal family, has been rejected by the Canadian Supreme Court, according to BBC News.
The plaintiffs are as follows; an Israeli Jew, a Jamaican Rastafarian, and an Irish Republican.
There’s a joke in there somewhere, if only we could get the three of them to walk into a pub together.
Both the Rastafarian and Jewish faiths forbid their followers from swearing an oath to any person (in this case of course, Queen Elizabeth II).
Simone Topey, the Rastafarian resident, told Canadian TV news “I can’t do something I don’t believe in. I want to be real to Canada. I’m trying to be a citizen, not a subject.”
Michael McAteer, the Irishman with strong republican views, objected to taking the oath on the grounds that it would be a violation of his conscience.
Peter Rosenthal, lawyer for the three would-be Canadian citizens, told the court of Appeal that being forced to say “I support the constitutional monarchy. How repugnant must that be to someone who’s a staunch anti-monarchist?”
Technically, Canada is a constitutional monarchy. So is Australia, which did away with a similar oath two decades ago.
Native Canadians, by the way, are not required to take the oath.
The Supreme Court gave no reason for refusing to hear the appeal, which is customary.
Government lawyer Kristina Dragaitis did have something to say, however. She argued that—and I am being serious—that the monarchy symbolizes the Constitution, the rule of law and the right to dissent, and that the appellants were taking a “literal approach” to the oath.
One of the definitions of “oath” according to Webster is “a solemn attestation of the truth or inviolability of one’s words”.
So in order to become a citizen you either have to violate your sacred religious/deeply held political beliefs, thereby making yourself a heretic and/or liar. And then you say, “just kidding”.
It’s really not that big of price to pay for being a Canadian citizen.
Just don’t take it too literally.