US & Canada

Canadian court upholds requiring oath to Queen for citizenship

Queen Elizabeth II Image copyright Getty Images

Canada's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal to remove the country's citizenship oath, which requires applicants to swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II .

The appeal was launched by three permanent residents who wanted to obtain citizenship but not pledge allegiance to the UK monarch.

Native-born Canadians do not have to take any oath.

The plaintiffs say the vow violates religious and conscientious beliefs.

Simone Topey, a Rastafarian from Jamaica says that his religion forbids him from taking an oath to any person, while Dror Bar-Natan, an Israeli, argued that the oath represents entrenched privilege he opposes.

"I can't do something that I don't believe in," Topey, told reporters outside a Toronto court on Tuesday according to Canadian TV News. "I want to be real to Canada, I want to be loyal to the country. I'm trying to become a citizen not a subject."

Michael McAteer, a staunch republican from Ireland, says he believes the oath is unnecessary and would violate his conscience.

The trio's lawyer Peter Rosenthal told the Court of Appeal on Tuesday that allowing would-be citizens to opt out of the oath doesn't cause any harm.

"Someone who wants to be a citizen is being forced to say, 'I support the constitutional monarchy,'" he said. "How repugnant must that be to someone who's a staunch anti-monarchist?"

'Literal approach'

Australia, also a constitutional monarchy, scrapped its pledge to the monarchy 20 years ago.

Government lawyer Kristina Dragaitis argued the monarchy symbolizes the Constitution, the rule of law and the right to dissent. She said, the appellants are taking a "literal approach" to the oath.

The Supreme Court, as is customary, gave no reasons for refusing to hear the appeal.

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