Toronto, October 28, 2006 -
Canada's republican movement is calling on the federal
government to bring the National Defense Act into the
twenty-first century by removing the penalty for members of the
Armed Forces speaking openly about the monarchy. Presently, the
Act 's section on dealing with spying, mutiny and desertion also
covers "Disgraceful Conduct - Traitorous or disloyal
utterances," which states the following:
"Every person who uses traitorous or disloyal words
regarding Her Majesty is guilty of an offence and on conviction
is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years
or to less punishment."
"It's shocking that in 2006, this extreme wording remains in the
National Defence Act," says Tom Freda, national director of
Citizens for a Canadian Republic. "Legislation including
imprisonment for criticizing the head of state puts us in the
company of despotic regimes such as Belarus, Iran, North Korea
countries that value free speech merely allow for a court
martial, such as in the U.S.A. There, it's referred to as
'contemptuous words,' with no reference to being 'traitorous or
disloyal' and it applies only to commissioned officers. In
Canada, it applies to all military 'persons.'
In calling for
changes to the National Defence Act, Citizens for a Canadian
Republic is also supporting Royal Military College Captain Aralt
Mac Giolla Chainnigh's legal action to address the requirement
for Forces members to publicly display their loyalty to the
British monarchy. Mr. Mac Giolla Chainnigh, who is not a member
of Citizens for a Canadian Republic, is an associate professor
of physics at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario
and is challenging the military's conventions of saluting during
the ceremonial singing of God Save The Queen and while
displaying the Union Jack. Refusal to comply with either could
be interpreted as disloyalty.
"There seems to be a colonial mentality here," says Freda. "God
Save the Queen is foremost, the national anthem of a foreign
nation, the United Kingdom, and the Union Jack their official
flag. Would it not be more prudent for our soldiers to be
saluting O Canada and the Maple Leaf flag?"
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