Pierre L. J. Vincent, MSc (Hons.), LLB
in 1964 in Red Deer and raised in Edmonton, Alberta,
studied law at
Université de Moncton
and geology at University of Alberta.
co-founder of Citizens for a Canadian Republic, he's
held the position of Associate
Director and francophone media spokesperson for CCR since its inception in 2002.
After law school in 1992, he articled with an Edmonton law firm
and, despite his hopes to the contrary, the provincial government
refused to lift the requirement to take the Oath of Allegiance
to the Queen. He refused, and consequently, never
became a lawyer.
In 1998, during his tenure as a federal government employee,
Pierre was publically transformed into a republican activist
by again refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance. This time,
with his job and the livelihood of his family threatened, he
didn’t back down. Citing his constitutional right to freedom of
conscience and speech, a nearly three-year legal battle with the
federal government’s Public Service Commission followed.
Widely covered by the national media, he later said to a
reporter that he refused the oath due to his republican beliefs and
because of his Acadian roots.
"The oath was introduced in Canada to subjugate the conquered
people," he said. "Two hundred and fifty years of it is enough."
He also argued that the government had no right “to force us to
think things and have political opinions we wouldn't have
Many federal parliamentarians agreed. Ontario MP John Bryden
said Acadian descendants are not the only ones who might prefer
a more updated oath. "I really think Mr. Vincent strikes an
absolute chord, in the sense that we should be swearing
allegiance to Canada."
Alan Borovoy, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties
Association, said the Public Service Alliance of Canada ought to
reconsider its general policy. "These are rituals and they ought
not to be seen as job requirements," he said. "As far as we're
concerned, there is a principle that could well apply and ought
to apply to others."
In 2001, Natural Resources Canada quietly accepted the
recommendation of the Treasury Board Secretariat to allow Pierre to keep his job without taking the oath.
Later in the
same year, this decision was used as precedent in a
similar act of refusal in Ontario. The end result was
the Treasury Board's realization that the oath was both
unnecessary and unenforceable. In 2003, calling
the current system "cumbersome and outdated," Lucienne
Robillard, President of the Treasury Board of Canada introduced
The Public Service Modernization Act in parliament to
modernize human resources management in the federal public
service. One of the revisions included ending the requirement
for federal civil servants to swear an oath to the Queen as of
December 31, 2005.
Currently, Pierre is
employed as a Commercial Officer at the Business Development
Office of Natural Resources Canada.
Fluent in English and French - and
learning Spanish - he's also
Francophonie Jeunesse de l'Alberta and, as a volunteer, is
Vice-President of L’Association canadienne-française de
l’Alberta, régionale de Centralta, a kayak
instructor for summer youth camps in Alberta and an
interpreter during the North American Indigenous Games.
He lives in
Edmonton with his wife and two children.