Quebec politicians must swear oath to King Charles to sit in legislature: Speaker

QUEBEC — The 14 Quebec politicians who refused to swear an oath to the King after the Oct. 3 election must do so or risk expulsion from the legislature, the outgoing Speaker said Tuesday.

François Paradis submitted his decision to the leaders of Quebec's elected parties, including Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon and Québec solidaire co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. The 11 Québec solidaire and the three PQ members recently elected to the legislature swore oaths of loyalty to the Quebec people, but not to King Charles III, as required by the Canadian Constitution.

Those two opposition parties — both of which advocate for Quebec's sovereignty from Canada — have described the practice of swearing an oath of office to the monarch as archaic and have asked the other parties to help find a workaround.

Paradis said the requirement to swear the oath would be enforced: "I give the formal order to the sergeant-at-arms to ensure that this decision is applied so that members who have not taken the oath cannot be seated in the chamber of the National Assembly or in one of its commissions."

"In the event that a person refuses to comply with this prohibition, the sergeant-at-arms will be legitimized to expel them."

Paradis said that as Speaker, it's his job to maintain order and ensure the rules are respected. He said the elected members who have thus far refused to swear the oath can change their minds at any time.

Pascal Berubé, former interim leader of the Parti Québécois, told Radio-Canada that he and the party's other two elected members planned to keep fighting, and he described Paradis' decision as an opinion.

On Twitter, St-Pierre Plamondon noted that the Speaker is no longer an elected member of the legislature after Paradis decided not to seek re-election.

Quebec's legislature resumes on Nov. 29, at which time a new Speaker will be named.

Québec solidaire finished third and the Parti Québécois finished fourth in the Oct. 3 election, which was won by François Legault's Coalition Avenir Québec.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2022.

Caroline Plante, The Canadian Press