May 16, 1972

PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Marcel Lambert (Edmonton West):

Mr. Speaker, may I offer you a new pair of glasses because I must tell you that between the member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) and myself, there is a difference not only in appearance but also in respect of politics.

Topic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CHANGE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Just 100 pounds.

Topic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CHANGE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
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PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lambert (Edmonton West):

Oh, no!

I fully recognize the hon. member's right to put this bill forward, but I disagree violently with the content thereof. The very form of the bill is an anachronism. I call attention to the words:

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and the House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows-

And then Canada's citizens entirely disregard the Crown. What the hon. member has forgotten is that the Parliament of Canada consists of three elements-the Crown, the Senate and the House of Commons.

Topic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CHANGE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
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LIB

William Warren Allmand

Liberal

Mr. Allmand:

I said that.

Topic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CHANGE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
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PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lambert (Edmonton West):

The hon. member may have said so. But if, in his view, this is the oath that a new citizen should take, then he is saying that the oath a Member of the House of Commons should take should be changed into the form he now proposes.

Topic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CHANGE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
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LIB
PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lambert (Edmonton West):

Then I say to him, such an oath would be an entire denial of our form of constitution, of our form of government. The hon. member cannot have it both ways. I do not know how often he may have assisted at citizenship ceremonies, but at least ten times a year at the invitation of the judge I go to Edmonton citizenship court at which new citizens of Canada take the oath, having first renounced their citizenship of some other country. At this point, may I say that the oath

proposed by the hon. member is deficient in that it fails to denounce the country of citizenship of the person about to become a Canadian citizen. To that extent, I say the form is deficient.

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Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CHANGE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
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LIB

William Warren Allmand

Liberal

Mr. Allmand:

Nor does the present oath.

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Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CHANGE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
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PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lambert (Edmonton West):

It does.

On the basis of years of experience at citizenship courts I will say this: I do not know why new Canadians in the Montreal area should be any different from those in Edmonton. I have seen great pride among the people taking their oaths of allegiance to the Queen of Canada. And it is the Queen of Canada who figures in the oath of allegiance taken by Canadian citizens-the Queen, not the constitution. Why bring such a bill forward? There is nothing that it improves.

I remember many years ago as a young man taking my oath as a member of Her Majesty's Canadian Forces. I swore an oath of faithful service to my Queen and to my country. There are millions in Canada who did so. It may be that some were not old enough at the time, and did not have that experience. But without denying other members an opportunity of speaking, I would say that the acceptance of the principle of this type of oath of allegiance at this time or in my lifetime would be a most retrograde step. It amounts to a salami-type of republicanism, hacking away here and nibbling away there. The hon. member may smile, but I ask him to go into my part of the country and try to justify this measure. Oh, there would be some people who would not find it repugnant. I do not deny it. But those who say they respect the constitution would not agree with them.

The constitution says the Queen is the head of state in this country and that she is the Queen of Canada. She is not the Queen of Britain, as the hon. member said, as far as Canada is concerned. The hon. member talked about the possibility of exacerbating difficulties which exist between Canada and Britain. My goodness, there have been difficulties all along. Ever since the British landed in North America there have been difficulties between the authorities of that country and the people of this country. Yet this did not lead to any diminution of the recognition of the Queen's position as head of state in this country. And to recognize Her Majesty on one hand as head of state, and then to swear an oath of allegiance to something quite separate is, to my mind, nonsense. Incidentally, half of this proposed oath of allegiance appears in the present oath. Take the phrase about faithfully observing the laws of the country. What is so great about that? The question is: to whom is the oath of allegiance sworn? Is it to the constitution, to something which can be amended, something which is not sacrosanct? This sort of thing would be quite unacceptable to me.

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LIB

Louis Guy LeBlanc

Liberal

Mr. Guy LeBlanc (Rimouski):

Mr. Speaker, I heartily welcome the opportunity to express my views on the bill brought forward by my colleague, the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grace, not only as a Canadian, but also as the representative of the district of Rimouski, in Quebec, which is situated in one of Canada's most French areas. I am as proud of that title as I am to be a Canadian.

May 16, 1972

The purport of the bill is to provide that new Canadians, those who want to become citizens of our great country will henceforth, instead of swearing allegiance as they do now, to Her Majesty the Queen, her heirs and successors, swear allegiance to Canada and the Canadian constitution.

First of all, I shall say that I fully endorse the views of my colleague for Notre-Dame-de-Grace, who feels that this new oath of allegiance for those who want to become Canadian citizens, joining us in our endeavours for the progress of our great country, will make the people of Canada as a whole more aware of the importance of this oath.

The Queen of Canada is the head of the Commonwealth, as we all know. But now, when swearing allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen we are, in my opinion, performing a highly symbolical gesture, difficult to explain particularly to all groups of Canadians. Living in a democratic system, we know how important it is to be close to the people, to make them understand the reasons for our gestures and the meaning of our symbols, which are very rich and meaningful for us. However it is sometimes difficult, particularly at the level of the media, to go into a full explanation of these things. They are highly symbolical. Symbols, it is true, are very important and very meaningful. Speech itself, the very words we use at every moment of our lives, are mere symbols. We do not quite realize this from day to day because this is so much part of our environment and our everyday life.

We are surrounded by all sorts of symbols which are both important and useful. However, the Queen of Canada, who serves also as head of the Commonwealth, is the symbol of a great accomplishment in this world. As Canadians, we are members of this great family which we call the "Commonwealth of Nations", formerly know as the British Commonwealth. We must be proud of the part we have played in the creation of the Commonwealth, which, as the saying goes, may be considered something as a feat of strength but which also testifies to a sense of diplomacy, to the understanding of the mankind and to this ideal of unity and peace which we wish to see established in our country and elsewhere in the world.

The Commonwealth countries formed a union, thus setting an example for many other countries which would extend their power throughout the world through means other than the democratic ways we approve, which are based on respect, freedom in peace and free enterprise.

I do not want to take up too much time; I want other colleagues to have a chance of expressing their views on the subject. Asking to take an oath of allegiance to Canada does not prevent the Crown, as the hon. member for Edmonton West (Mr. Lambert) said a while ago, from being an integral part of the Canadian constitution. We must insist on that Canadian identity which we want to preserve and encourage. Without wanting to identify with our American friends who achieved what is commonly known as the American "melting-pot", we, in Canada, go on considering this ideal of a country that is a very remarkable mosaic of people. This way, if we insist on Canadian identity in the oath of allegiance of new Canadi-

25316-23)

Canadian Citizenship Act

ans, they will realize that Canada wants to maintain its identity within the Commonwealth.

And I conclude my remarks by pointing out that as to the Quebec group to which we belong and where we are proud to live in spite of the difficulties which a minority has been creating lately, we want to maintain our own identity, as do all the other groups of the Canadian mosaic and every hon. member and every Canadian. Despite the admiration and interest that I feel for a neighbour and friend, I want to preserve my identity, like everyone else.

The same thing goes in my opinion for groups, races and peoples. It is natural for the French-speaking group of Quebec to cling to its identity as it is for our Englishspeaking friends and for other groups in Canada. But all together, in this immense and beautiful mosaic, we are going to continue pursuing our Canadian ideal, insisting on our Canadian identity in the diversity that we want to preserve and develop.

Topic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CHANGE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
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LIB

Mark R. MacGuigan

Liberal

Mr. Mark MacGuigan (Windsor-Walkerville):

Mr. Speaker, I find myself in general support of Bill C-18, presented by my colleague for Notre-Dame-de-Grace (Mr. Allmand), but perhaps my reasons for supporting it are slightly different from the ones he advanced for presenting the bill. I would put my reasons in terms of the principle of respect for the law, which I believe is not adequately taken care of by the present oath. I would extend my comments to include not just the oath of allegiance required for citizenship, but the oath of allegiance required in all the contexts with which I am familiar.

This issue was raised centuries ago by the great philosopher Aristotle, in chapter 15 of book III of "The Politics," in this question:

Is it more expendient to be ruled by the one best man, or by the best laws?

This question was not one that originated with Aristotle; the problem had been raised, and an answer given, by Plato, Plato coming out in favour of kingship rather than in favour of law. Aristotle tended to come to a conclusion rather in favour of the law, and I think it is worth looking at his argument for a moment. He said that personal rule may have the advantage of initiative but that the law has the advantage of impartiality; that in the human mind there must always be some element of passion, whereas the law is free from such possibility of perversion. Thus, the rule of law is better, and law must be supreme except where, because of its generality, it fails to deal adequately with the individual case. Even so, he went on, such individual matters are more properly decided by the whole people than by an individual man.

From the viewpoint of our present perspective, the issue is somewhat distorted by Aristotle's presentation. Perhaps he confuses the question as to who really is in control, whether it is a government, or a single person, or government by the whole people, with the question of justice according to law. At least today we would want to give a considerably more complex answer to the question than he gave at that time.

In our country today there is no question that, however we express the oath or our form of government, we are talking about constitutional monarchy, about a form of

May 16, 1972

Canadian Citizenship Act

democracy in which it is the people who are really the sovereign, not a single person. At the same time, however, there is a very important question of symbolism involved. The question is whether the law is better symbolized by a person or by the law itself.

The answer to this question may be different in different circumstances. The hon. member for Edmonton West (Mr. Lambert) asserted that the present oath adequately takes care of this problem because it uses the phrase "according to law". I would remind the hon. member that the use of the phrase "according to the law" in the present oath does not, I believe, refer to obedience of the law by the people. It has limited application merely to the accession to the monarchy. I do not have before me the exact terminology, but I believe the wording is "true allegiance to Her Majesty, her heirs and successors, according to law". It is "heirs and successors, according to law" which are to be obeyed, and not the law itself. I would suggest that the phraseology of the present oath, therefore, does not do adequate justice to the symbolism of the law, which I would like to see included in our basic oath and in our basic constitutional documents.

This matter might not perhaps have seemed so important were it not for the fact that in recent months many people in Canada have clearly shown their misunderstanding of the question. An organization has circulated to many members of parliament a document dealing with continuance of the monarchy. In this it is exercising its democratic right and I support its right to do so. This organization, however, suggests that any member of parliament who would advocate abolition of the monarchy would be false to his oath of loyalty to the Queen.

Of course, we in this House realize that our basic allegiance is to the monarchy, according to law-and that if parliament should change the law, our allegiance to the monarchy would be changed. I am not here to advocate such a change, but I believe that in considering the form of the oath it is important to realize this fact, because the change, if it took place, would be the new law of Canada and part of our constitution. It is quite lawful for a member of parliament to advocate such a change, just as it would be to advocate any change which is not brought about by unlawful means.

This matter is also misunderstood by some of the leading press writers in the country. Thus we have a situation where an organization in our country attempting to influence members of parliament, and even part of the fourth estate, generally believes that if a member of parliament were to advocate abolition of the monarchy he would in some way be contravening his oath of allegiance. Consequently, we must reconsider the oath of allegiance and try to make it clearer.

I should like to add, along the same line, that we can hardly overstress today, even in the atmosphere that was present in the House earlier in the day, the necessity of obedience to the law and the great status which the law must have. The achievement of justice according to law is certainly not enough if one thinks only of law and not of justice. At the same time, we all realize, after many centuries of struggle, that justice cannot be achieved unless

[Mr. MacGuigan.J

there is adherence to an impartial law which is passed, we hope, by impartial men in parliament and administered by impartial men in the judiciary. It must be a question of the law and not of men. In today's climate, when so many people challenge the law, it is extremely important for us to make clear in all our basic documents that it is the law above all to which we in this country give allegiance. This is the reason I find myself very much in sympathy with the bill proposed by the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grace (Mr. Allmand).

Having said that, I would express two reservations. It seems to me somewhat ironic that the Canadian constitution to which the hon. member referred in his proposed oath of allegiance is still a document of the British Parliament and we do not have a Canadian constitution. We have something which we describe in that way, but we do not have a Canadian constitution that has been made fully our own.

I would be the last to suggest that the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grace does not realize this. He and I for some two years sat on the constitution committee. We travelled across the country and heard hundreds of witnesses on these questions. The hon. member is certainly as aware as I am of these questions. I merely point out that a situation wherein we do not have a Canadian constitution is one in which the use of that expression in an oath could lead to misunderstanding and to other problems.

In conclusion I would also suggest, with all due respect to the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grace and his very considerable ability with language, that perhaps a poet might do better with this wording. I do not see why the oath has to be always three or four lines in length. I do not see why in a moment of solemnity while taking an oath to be a member of parliament or to be a citizen, a person should not be happy to swear a longer oath than the one proposed here.

I would hope that if the bill should pass in its present form it would be possible subsequently to amend the formula which is proposed therein. I would suggest to the mover that it might be beneficial during the committee stage on this bill, if we should reach that stage, to call witnesses to give their views in respect of the best formula, from the point of view of adequately expressing not only the symbolism of the law but the devotion our people have to their country and to what we hope will be a new constitution.

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LIB

Edmund Boyd Osler

Liberal

Mr. E. B. Osier (Winnipeg South Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to speak for a long time on this subject but I have been warned that other members wish to contribute to the debate; therefore I shall limit my remarks. My colleague the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grace (Mr. Allmand) is a man whom I greatly admire. I admire him more almost every time he opens his mouth and I witness the effect of his good work. I cannot say strongly enough, however, that I disagree completely with his words this afternoon. I regret having to say that, but I must. It may be a question of difference in temperament, but I believe it is much more than that.

It seems to me that people have loyalty to people. They always have had loyalty to people and not to pieces of

May 16, 1972

paper. This is a natural phenomenon for people. In our parliamentary system, all actions are taken in the name of the head of state. Why should that most intimate, personal commitment, the oath of allegiance, be an exception to this rule? It is a fact that Her Majesty, and at other times His Majesty is part of the Canadian constitution. The Queen is far warmer, lovelier, more lively and therefore instinctively more worthy of allegiance than all the dry pieces of paper and legal judgments that many more learned and possibly more honourable friends could split hairs over until the end of time.

If Her Majesty is part of the constitution, surely it is sophistry to propose that we swear allegiance to all the dead or non-human parts of that same constitution and not the living part which is the monarch herself. I suggest the monarch is the keystone of the constitutional arch, as our Queen is the keystone in the arch of Parliament as well. Remove her and you remove the human symbols of all for which we are striving. And for what result? Just for the record, and to hearten myself and other people who feel as I do, I would like to quote two items and point out that this is an academic debate, thank God, and nothing more. First, we will talk out this bill and forget about it.

Second, so far as the government is concerned, the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) has said that the monarchy will last as long as this government lasts. Presumably he means by that, any government that he heads. He also said that the government's position was made quite clear in a white paper which was submitted to the constitutional conference in 1968 and again in 1969. He declared that the new constitution of Canada, if we were to have one, would be a monarchy and the head of state would be the Queen or the King. So the government has been on record for more than two years as taking this position. So long as we have a monarch, the keystone of the constitution, it is to the monarch that we shall swear allegiance and to no one or nothing else.

There is a human aspect to this question that cannot be ignored. All parts of Canada have been a kingdom since white men landed here in the sixteenth century. There were parts of Canada that were kingdoms among the Indians also, because they did not all elect chiefs or councils. Thus, the majority of Canadians have always sworn allegiance either to the crowned head of France or the crowned head of Great Britain or the crowned head of Canada. This is the one true, continuous Canadian fact of identity for over 400 years. Those of us who have kept up on the subject of Canadian identity should meditate on that fact. We have had all sorts of other things: we have had responsible government, we have built railroads, we have put satellites up in the sky, we have brought in old age pensions, we have tried to make life easier, we have fought with people in various parts of the world, we have had good times and bad times; but the one thing we have had continously for over 400 years is a crowned head to whom we Canadians swear allegiance.

If we are looking for a Canadian identity then, the first thing to do is spotlight our continued allegiance to the Crown. I would suggest throwing away a lot of other

Canadian Citizenship Act

things before we throw away that. This is part of our flesh and blood.

Topic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CHANGE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
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?

George Albert Proud

Mr. Prud'homme:

Yours.

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LIB

Edmund Boyd Osler

Liberal

Mr. Osier:

Do not say "Yours," my friend. You have had a monarchy in Canada for longer than I have, because your people have been here longer than mine. A great deal of good blood is flowing in our present monarch which happens to be blood which came from France in the first place. We have all come from the same place and we have the same traditions, so do not say that it is mine, not yours. We are also all going to the same place in the end.

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LIB

William Warren Allmand

Liberal

Mr. Allmand:

I don't know about that.

Topic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT
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LIB

Edmund Boyd Osler

Liberal

Mr. Osier:

There may be different annexes, but it will be the same place. For a Canadian to swear allegiance to the Canadian constitution would be an unnatural act and flying in the face of our history and traditions. I suggest that the monarchy is a very simple fact of life which can be explained to any new Canadian who does not understand it. It can be explained far more easily than to tell them that we find a pressing urge to change our whole way of life and our structure of being.

It is no accident that the most stable, most politically mature nations of this world are almost all constitutional monarchies. Those who speak French in our country have a great deal for which to be thankful. One of the things for which they should be thankful is that, because they have lived continuously under a monarchy, they have missed all the convulsions, bloodshed and terrible things that have occurred in their mother country since France ditched the monarchy instead of making it more pliant and suitable to modern times. So they have no relationship whatever to republicanism. By being Canadian, they escaped that black period of time through which their mother country went. Others have come to Canada from countries with absolute monarchies. It should not be too difficult for them to see that our monarchy is not an absolute monarchy and that their prejudices and fears are groundless here.

Do we want deliberately and unnecessarily to reject our own nature as a nation and to join the ranks of the constitution worshippers, almost all of whom have at some time in the relatively recent past got into serious trouble? There is nothing much wrong with Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Holland or Belgium-constitutional monarchies all. Most of the happiest and most progressive countries are constitutional monarchies.

We will not solve our problems by throwing out our monarchy or by swearing allegiance to some empty piece of paper. People with a lot of happy experience, relatively speaking, compared with many other countries of the world have found that to stick with the monarchy is a pretty good thing.

I will be accused of sentimentality concerning this subject. This I deny. I will own, however, to strong sentiment, which is quite different from sentimentality. I have strong sentiment where our oath of allegiance is concerned, for personal relationships of one human being toward anoth-

May 16, 1972

Canadian Citizenship Act

er are the sole phenomena that give significance to this spinning hunk of rock in space that we all inhabit.

You can keep your dusty piece of paper and do with it what you like, Mr. Speaker, but as for me I will keep on swearing my allegiance to the Canadian Crown.

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PC

Hugh John Flemming

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Hugh John Flemming (Carleton-Charlotte):

Mr. Speaker, I find myself compelled to offer a few remarks in connection with this bill. I begin by saying that I agree wholeheartedly with the hon. member who has just spoken. I do vary, however, from his approach to the matter because he said I believe-I hope I am quoting him accurately-that his approach was not sentimental. I am willing to acknowledge that my approach to the matter is sentimental, but I give anybody the right not to agree totally with me unless it happens to suit him and he has the same feeling.

I would point out that in taking an oath of allegiance we are really swearing allegiance to a person, but in this case that person happens to symbolize something. In the case of a Canadian who swears the oath of allegiance to the Queen, as we all have, he does so because she stands for the Parliament of Canada; she is part of the Parliament of Canada which consists of the Queen, the Senate and the House of Commons. We swear the oath of allegiance to her as a living person, one who symbolizes the things for which I believe we all stand.

Those who fought in two world wars and who have contributed tremendously to the development of our country swore an oath of allegiance to the Queen because she symbolizes the love of liberty; she symbolizes those things for which people from all over this great country of ours were willing to risk their lives. Personally, I think she is a great woman, a great person, and I love her. I am fond of her and I have no hesitation in saying that. But I do not necessarily try to inflict that feeling on other members of the House if they do not have it. However, what I do say is that you cannot swear allegiance to a constitution, to a piece of paper. There is nothing to a piece of paper; it is just something you can scribble on and throw into a waste paper basket. The explanatory note to this bill reads:

Under the present oath of allegiance the applicant for citizenship swears allegiance to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors. This bill would make the oath more meaningful-

I do not agree that it would make the oath more meaningful. Whoever wrote those words should never have done so. It does not make the oath more meaningful to swear to the constitution, a piece of paper. That, to me, is ridiculous. The hon. member talked about what we should do by lawful means. Mr. Speaker, there is nothing more precious to people than what we call justice. There is no justice as great in the world, in my estimation, as British justice. Anybody who knows anything agrees with that.

Because she happens to be Queen of Great Britain does not necessarily mean that she cannot be Queen of Canada. I think it is a very fine thing that we have such a wonderful person to symbolize our great country. Mr. Speaker, the Queen is the symbol of something with which we can all agree. We in this House have our differences and argue our points back and forth. But the

[Mr. Osier.)

minute we get outside this chamber, and even in it, the thing we all agree on is the symbol of the Queen. There is no difference between us so far as the Queen is concerned. We are all for the Queen because she stands for something. Like the old saying, unless you stand for something you fall for anything. That could be so.

In mf opinion it is a great thing to have a person whom we all agree is a wonderful symbol of a wonderful institution and that, of course, is Canada in our case. It may be Britain in the case of people who live there, but that does not make it any less attractive, potent, desirable and precious for the people of Canada.

It would be a terrible thing if this bill were to pass. In the first place, it would not be fair to the people of Canada because no change of this nature should be made without at least a vote of two-thirds of the members of this House or of the people of Canada: it is too serious a matter. People stand up here day after day and talk about the greatness of our country. We have gone along for 100 years with this oath of allegiance and apparently we all agree we have done pretty well, that we have made great progress as a country. Now some people want to change this. I am always in favour of change provided the change brings about improvement. That is the acid test of the desirability of change, to bring about improvement. The change suggested in this bill would be a tragedy; it would be no improvement and it would be a terrible thing to do.

So I say that for sentimental reasons, if you like, but also because she is a part of the Parliament of Canada, no Canadian need be ashamed to take the oath of allegiance to the Queen. So far as I am concerned, I am very proud of it. But even if you are not and do not have the kind of feeling that I have, you still can feel that with this oath of allegiance our country has done pretty well. We have lasted over 100 years and have made great progress. Those who contributed to our heritage and fought the battles of this country took the present oath. They were glad to take it. There were no complaints from those gentlemen when they risked their lives for this country. They did not question the kind of oath they took. They did not ask to take an oath to the constitution.

I tell you, Mr. Speaker, this change would be a terrible mistake. I cannot express myself in strong enough language. And hon. members cannot even agree on the language; they are already fighting about the language. The hon. member who proposed the bill put in certain language and another hon. member who supported the bill said that that language should be changed. Before they even get it through the House they have started to fight about the language. The whole situation is ridiculous. Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to vote against the bill if I get the opportunity.

Topic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CHANGE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
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LIB

Grant Deachman (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. Grant Deachman (Vancouver Quadra):

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-18 would change the oath of allegiance essentially by eliminating the reference to the monarch and substituting therefor "allegiance to Canada and the Canadian constitution". Most hon. members who have spoken on this bill during the last hour-and there have been quite a number of short speeches-have said that we are a constitutional monarchy. Certainly this party and this government have no mandate from the people to accept anything except our position as a constitutional monarchy, and this

May 16, 1972

has been affirmed and reaffirmed by the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) when the question has been put to him on numerous occasions.

I doubt very much that, in the circumstances, this party or this government would want to adopt a policy of eliminating the reference to the Queen from the oath of allegiance. I feel very strongly, as hon. members on both sides have said, that the Queen holds a special place in the hearts of Canadians and that the oath of allegiance has real meaning to us. We swear to that oath and it has real meaning to new Canadians who take it. I do not believe that new Canadians coming to this country and learning a little about our history, as they must before they go to the citizenship court, feel anything but pride in taking part in a ceremony in which Canadians have taken part over the years. I think that in fact it gives them special pride in their country and in joining hands with Canadians who have taken this oath in the past.

Topic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT
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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

PRIVILEGE

May 16, 1972