Quebec’s elected officials must swear oath to King Charles to sit in National Assembly

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FILE PHOTO: A woman votes in the riding of Chauveau in Quebec City, Quebec

(Reuters) – Quebec National Assembly speaker ruled on Tuesday that all elected members must swear an oath to Britain’s King Charles and not just to the people of Quebec in order to perform their duties in the predominantly French-speaking Canadian province.

“As the law currently stands, this oath is not optional,” Speaker Francois Paradis wrote in his ruling, adding that a member who does not take the oath cannot take his seat in the Assembly.

Charles, 73, automatically became king of the United Kingdom and the head of state of 14 other realms, including Canada, when his mother, Queen Elizabeth, died on Sept. 8.

Shortly after an election on Oct. 3, Parti Quebecois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, stated that he and the two other elected members of his party would not swear an oath to the King, CBC News reported, after which 11 elected members of Quebec Solidaire followed the same. Both parties advocate independence from Canada for Quebec.

The Quebec Solidaire co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois described the oath to the King as “colonial, archaic and outdated,” CBC said.

The separatist party Bloc Quebecois also called on the federal government last month to sever ties with the British monarchy, saying the recent transfer of the crown to King Charles was an opportunity to do so.

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Britain colonized Canada beginning in the late 1500s, and the country remained part of the British empire until 1982. Now it is a member of the Commonwealth, made up mostly of former empire countries that have or had the British monarch as head of state.

(Reporting by Rhea Binoy in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)