modify the citizenship oath to include a nod to First Nations
treaty rights. Now, I find this slightly redundant as the
current oath already has the speaker swear that they "will
faithfully observe the laws of Canada". But as far as additions
go I guess its okay.
The problems start when you consider the last battle over the
oath. Back in 2015 a man by the name of Dror Bar-Natan
took the oath of citizenship and then immediately renounced
the part concerning the Queen. It has already been
determined that such renunciations do not effect one's
citizenship status (as much as you might think it should) and
are a purely symbolic action. And so far you get a few crazy
republicans doing so from time to time. That the media has
covered such non-events is annoying but overall their entire
effort is not really a concern.
What does concern me is that by allowing the renunciations
we have essentially created a situation where any part of the
oath may be symbolically excised at the preference of the
new citizen. What is the harm in that you might ask? Well,
while concepts such as the Queen, succession, laws, and
duty are universal concepts of our fair dominion the First
Nations treaties are not widely perceived as such. While such
treaties were negotiated between various tribes and the
Crown (and as such should be respected) they largely effect
First Nations on a day-to-day basis and the rest of Canadians
only during periods of tension (pipelines, fishing/hunting
rights, etc). As such you already have Canadians who feel the
treaties should be ripped up. And those coming from other
countries could conceivably view the treaties as creating
unequal status. So lets consider what happens if they did
renounce that section.
Imagine if you will a person deciding to publicly renounce the
proposed section of the oath dealing with treaty rights. It
would be just as symbolic as the renunciation of the Queen
but would cut at the mutual trust between First Nations and
the rest of Canadians. Oh, and the media would cover it. If
anything is clear about the media after 2016 its that it will
cover the most obnoxious drivel imaginable. And opinions
denigrating First Nations would have their airing. And while
that might be as far as it goes (which is still too far) it could
create a climate where some feel violence is justified as has
happened recently in Quebec.
Such grandstanding might even lead some to say those who
renounce that part of the oath should have their citizenship
stripped. After all, as a monarchist I can understand where
that sentiment would be coming from; "Those people are
undermining a key pillar of Canada, they must be stopped!"
Which may be the correct response. As I have noted before
the Citizenship Oath is a reciprocal promise between subject
and sovereign. It was never meant to be an opportunity for
bigoted grandstanding and it shouldn't be allowed to become
one. So if the government intends to go ahead with the change
to the oath I'd like to suggest one common sense measure:
-Renunciation of a part of the oath constitutes a renunciation
of the whole oath.
Its not even a free speech issue since republicans have already
failed to kill the Citizenship Oath with that argument.
A Kisaragi Colour