Embargo: December 10, 2005
Canada's Citizenship Act target of class action lawsuit
Charter of Rights and Freedoms cited
TORONTO, December 9, 2005 -- In a press conference on Saturday, Citizens for a Canadian Republic will be announcing support for legal action contesting the constitutionality of the Canadian Citizenship Act's oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II and her heirs and successors. The announcement is being made on Human Rights Day, recognized worldwide as a day to mark the anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
The applicant, Toronto lawyer Charles Roach, filed his claim in Ontario Superior Court on Wednesday, December 7, 2005. Roach, a well-known civil rights activist, is a senior member of Citizens for a Canadian Republic as well as the lead defense council for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
The action alleges the federal government is contravening the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression and protects individuals from being compelled to make statements contrary to their personal beliefs or opinions. The plaintiffs claim their deeply felt rejection of monarchy's inegalitarian and undemocratic nature is protected under both the charter and the UDHR, of which Canada is a signatory, and consequently, they should not be forced to discard that belief in order to obtain citizenship.
As has been done with Australia's revised Citizenship Act, the plaintiffs believe that requiring allegiance solely to their new country and its laws is both adequate and in keeping with Canada's status as an independent nation.
Full details and documentation of the legal action, including objectives, will be provided at the press conference.
Date: Saturday, December 10, 2005
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Metro Hall, Rotunda - East side, Main floor, 55 John St., Toronto, ON ON M5V3C6 (between Wellington and King)
Refreshments will be provided.
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