Toronto, May 7, 2007 -
The class action lawsuit seeking a
judgement declaring that section 24 of the Citizenship Act
violates sections 2 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms will be heard in the Superior Court of Justice,
Osgoode Hall, Courtroom 5, 130 Queen St., Toronto, on Tuesday 8th
May 2007 at 10:00 a.m. Significantly, it's the first lawsuit
that directly invokes the freedom of conscience provisions of
Filed by Charles Roach, a member of Citizens for a Canadian
Republic, an advocacy group promoting full Canadianization of
the head of state, the class action questions the legality of
requiring new citizens to take an oath containing the words "…
be faithful and bear true allegiance to her Majesty Queen
Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her heirs and
Known as Roach v. Her Majesty the Queen, the case is similar to
an action brought unsuccessfully in 1991 on different grounds.
The office of the Attorney General representing the Crown is
moving to have the class action struck down on the basis that it is
frivolous, vexatious or otherwise an abuse of the process of the
Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
guarantees freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.
The lawsuit contends that the oath in its current form forces
members of the class action into expressing fealty to the
monarchy, an institution that they have strong moral convictions
against supporting. The oath, therefore, is a state-compelled
violation of freedom of conscience and expression, forcing the
Applicants into a choice between remaining faithful to their
spiritual and political beliefs or hypocritically taking the
oath to gain the opportunity to enjoy Canadian citizenship.
Additionally, Section 15 of the Charter guarantees that every
individual is equal before and under the law. Section 24 of the
Citizenship Act, inasmuch as it requires permanent residents who
are naturalized Canadian citizens to have taken the said oath in
order to attain full political rights, violates the right to
equality since it does not require persons born in Canada to
take the aforesaid oath in order to attain the same political
"I have strongly-held beliefs, as do other class members, that
this oath is a coercion of my conscience," says Roach. "An oath
is a solemn declaration; the government should not force people
to swear to things they don’t believe in to gain citizenship,"
says Mr. Roach, who has lived in Canada since 1955.
"The said oath is a pledge to the person who is head of state
and not just to the state itself. The symbol of the head of
state is so integrally identified with the Windsor family and
privilege by birth that it offends my lifelong commitment to
values of equal dignity and equal liberty."
Notably, citing similar concerns, Australia revised its
Citizenship Act in 1994 to delete reference to the Queen and her
successors, instead, requiring new citizens to solely swear
loyalty to Australia and its people. In another precedent, in
2005, Canada ceased requiring the swearing of an oath to the
Queen as a prerequisite for civil service employment.
Australian Citizenship Act – Amendment: Pledge of Commitment
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Roach Schwartz & Associates
688 St. Clair Avenue, West, 2nd Floor
Toronto, ON - M6C 1B1
Tel: (416) 657-1465
Fax: (416) 657-1511
CITIZENS FOR A CANADIAN REPUBLIC
for a Canadian Republic is a registered non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that's been advocating the
Canadianization of the head of state since 2002.
is available at CCR’s website.
Citizens for a Canadian Republic