The Edmonton Journal: Saturday, May 22, 2004
Victoria Day another name, group says
Advocates would prefer Citizenship Day
JULIE MOLLINS Journal Staff Writer
- Like many Canadians, Pierre Vincent will celebrate Victoria Day tending
to the garden and playing with his children. But, he would prefer to call
the long weekend Citizenship Day — a change that would better celebrate
the fact that we are Canadian, he said.
it another name and let’s celebrate what it means to be Canadian,”he
said. “We are celebrating the fact that we are Canadian. It is a form of
heritage day, in a sense, because we are all of multiple origins.”
is the Edmonton-based associate director of Citizens for a Canadian Republic, a national organization with plans to
recant a portion of the Oath of Citizenship on the front lawn of the
Queen’s Park Legislative Building in Toronto on Victoria Day as a
symbolic gesture. At issue for the Citizens for a Canadian Republic is
the portion of the oath that requires new Canadian citizens to swear
allegiance to the Queen, her heirs and successors.
“The organization is not advocating abolishing the celebration,” Vincent said. “We just don’t think it should be a national holiday. We should be giving national holidays to truly Canadian things, not to old monarchist concepts from another continent.”
Day was established as a national holiday in 1901. Since 1952, the holiday
has been observed on the Monday before May 25, although Victoria’s
birthday was on May 24, and the Queen’s birthday is on April 21. The
organization would like to switch Victoria Day to April 21.
symbolic recanting of a portion of the oath at Queen’s Park is intended
to give voice to the frustrations of those who believe the Queen to be
merely a symbolic figurehead in Canada.
is a head of state who rarely comes to Canada, doesn’t live here,
doesn’t represent Canada when she travels abroad, and represents all
about Canada that many Canadians wish to relegate to the history book,”
said Tom Freda, the Toronto-based director of Citizens for a Canadian Republic.
two-year-old organization is in the midst of a membership drive. Freda
anticipates it will soon have 1,000 members across the country. Vincent,
who works as a business officer at Natural Resources Canada in Devon, was
invited by Freda to join the group.
became a public figure after he received a reprieve following his refusal
to pledge loyalty to the Queen under the rules of the Public Service
the act was given an official overhaul by the federal government in
November 2003, it will continue to require federal civil servants to
affirm the oath until December 2005.
has not yet organized an official chapter of Citizens for a Canadian Republic, and there will be no staged recanting of
a portion of the Oath of Citizenship in Edmonton.
in the next couple of years when the local chapter is organized we can
have something more symbolic,” Vincent said.
Canadians are disappointed by the planned recanting at Queen’s Park.
John Aimers, dominion chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada,
disagrees with the staging of a symbolic challenge to the Oath of
is a free country, his renunciation has no legal force or effect,” he
said. “The reason we take allegiance to her is to make every Canadian
equal. We don’t take oath to a political document such as the
Constitution which can be changed, or whose provisions can be argued over.
don’t take oath to an abstraction or a symbol such as aflag, because
those can be changed. We’ve got it right here,” Aimers said.
got a form of government here that is stable in a world where so much is