Eastern Ontario town to debate whether oath to King Charles should be scrapped
Town council in Prescott, Ont., is set to consider a motion calling on the Ontario government to follow Quebec's lead by scrapping a requirement that elected officials swear an oath of allegiance to King Charles III.
The motion is being brought forward by Coun. Lee McConnell, and if it receives a seconder, it will be discussed by council on Feb. 27.
If passed, council in the town roughly 90 kilometres south of Ottawa would then call on Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark to consider amending the Municipal Act.
The act currently requires anyone elected or appointed to a municipal council to swear the oath.
CBC reached out Sunday to council members including McConnell, who said he wasn't prepared to address the motion until it's discussed at the Feb. 27 meeting.
McConnell added he didn't believe there would be any problem getting a seconder.
In a statement, Coun. Mary Campbell indicated she was in favour of having the oath be optional and replaced with a different type of oath.
"I think swearing to the people of Prescott would suffice, since they are the people we are serving," she wrote in an email.
Town may be split on idea, says mayor
The town's mayor, Gauri Shankar, said he has no problem swearing allegiance to the King, but believes the community may be divided on the issue.
"I think there are those that are fully in favour of the royalty and colonialism, and then there are those that are not," he told Radio-Canada on Sunday.
The motion specifically references the Quebec government's passage of its own bill in December, which made the oath optional for members of the National Assembly.
That bill also amended the Constitution Act of 1867, adding a specific exemption for the oath for Quebec.
Ontario's current declaration of office includes the statement, "I will be faithful and bear true allegiances to His Majesty King Charles the Third."
If the motion is passed, the town plans to send it to both Clark, who is also the local MPP, and Premier Doug Ford, as well as all municipalities across the province.