(Quebec) The Legault government has pledged to “swiftly” introduce legislation making the oath to the king optional for elected officials, an “important” gesture emphasized by Quebec Solidaire, which does not rule out a final oath of allegiance. For its part, the Parti Québécois is sticking to the hard line.
Posted at 5:21 p.m
Charles Lecavalier The Press
“I think the Parti Québécois must accept the outstretched hand that we are offering them. We don’t want to take an oath to the king and we can change that by passing a law in the National Assembly. On the other hand, you have to sit […] We stand ready to introduce legislation quickly to ensure the Oath of Allegiance to the King is ended,” said Justice Secretary and CAQ Speaker of Parliament Simon Jolin-Barrette.
He made this statement on the sidelines of a negotiation meeting between the parties to decide on the recognition of QS and PQ as factions. But these important discussions – they will determine research budgets and particularly the ability of these parties to hire political personnel – are overshadowed by another debate, that of the oath to King Charles III.
Earlier this fall, PQ and QS refused to pledge allegiance to the Crown. They attempted to overcome a passageway to circumvent this ritual, which was considered obsolete. On Tuesday, the President of the National Assembly, François Paradis, broke off the debate: as long as the oath has not been taken, they cannot sit in the Blue Room or on a parliamentary committee, even if this means expulsion. He also ruled that the situation could not be remedied by a simple parliamentary motion, as the PQ wants, but by legislation, as the obligation stemmed from the 1867 Constitutional Act.
But to pass a law you have to sit in the Blue Hall and therefore… Charles III. take an oath one last time. The elected QS officials must weigh the pros and cons in the faction. “Two new elements came in yesterday and today: the President’s decision and the Head of House’s commitment to quickly introduce a bill to make the oath optional. These are two important elements that I must report to the Group,” said Solidarity Parliamentary President Alexandre Leduc.
In the Parti Québécois, however, both the decision of President Paradis and the proposal of the Coalition avenir Québec were rejected. PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon maintains the hard line. “I sincerely resent lying and perjury as the first act as an elected official. I genuinely resent swearing allegiance to the representative of the Anglican Church. And no, I don’t intend to take the oath,” he said to a press crowd.
He reiterated that several options were on the table: for example, asking Pascal Bérubé or Joël Arseneau – the other two elected members of the PQ – to take a sit oath or just stay on the sidelines.
lack of will
However, he states that a parliamentary motion is the best option and that the CAQ lacks the “political will”. “The law is a much less robust solution as it will be subject to review by the courts of how the Constitution is applied. The probability of this bill failing is much higher than the motion, which is a matter of the internal administration of the assembly,” he said.
He directly attacked President Paradis’ credibility and the legal basis of his decision. Mr Paradis is no longer an MP and will be replaced once Parliament returns. He was a “very outgoing” president who had been given a “political assignment” by the CAQ, he suggested. He regrets that this decision “closed the door on the negotiations and the solutions that are already on the table”.
The Caquiste Jolin-Barrette denied asking Mr Paradis to intervene. He finds it “concerning” that the PQ is challenging an assembly decision and calls for the party to take an oath to pass legislation with QS and CAQ.
For Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon, this reflection lacks height. “They secretly say we took an oath, we were not in temptation, so you’ll take an oath too,” he cursed.
But regardless of whether you pass a law or a motion, you have to be able to sit. Mr St-Pierre Plamondon admits he could not vote in favor of the motion he is asking the CAQ to allow him to do his job as legislator without swearing allegiance to the King. “Obviously they are the only ones with the power to do this,” he replied.