A Liberal Bill introduced this morning proposes to add “a solemn promise to respect the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples” to the Canadian Oath of Citizenship.
The Bill is sponsored by Marco Mendicino, the Liberal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's call to action number 94) was introduced and read to the House of Commons this morning.
The proposed new language for Canada's Oath of Citizenship is as follows:
I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada, including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.
Minister Mendicino released the following statement on the Bill, stressing the need to change the Oath to be “more inclusive”:
The Oath is a solemn declaration that all newcomers recite during the citizenship ceremony. With this amendment, we are changing the Oath of Citizenship to be more inclusive, and taking steps to fundamentally transform the nature of our relationship with Indigenous Peoples by encouraging new Canadians to fully appreciate and respect the significant role of Indigenous Peoples in forming Canada's fabric and identity.
The last time the Oath of Citizenship was changed was under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1977, replacing a 1947 Act. At that time, the phrase “Queen of Canada” was introduced to the Oath. Along with changing the Oath, the 1977 Act revoked the special treatment given to British subjects and allowed for dual citizenship.