Naturalized Canadians between the oath to save Canada and the vote to break it

Naturalized Canadians between the oath to save Canada and the vote to break it
Posted on April 16, 2014 | Yasser Harrak | Written on April 16, 2014
Letter type:
Blog Post

The separatist discourse may not be a serious theme in Quebec politics for at least the next four years after the defeat of the PQ in the last election. The discourse hibernates waiting for an other PQ season to wake up and try an other chance of breaking this country. One may view the victory of the Liberals in Quebec by majority as a third referendum against separatism. The PQ leadership before the last election, knowing the sensitivity of the issue of separatism, tried to use close terms such as "sovereignty", "identity" and "values". At the end, Quebecers have proven hard to fool. It was clear that a majority separatist government means a step, or perhaps steps, away from Canada. When talking about a referendum on Quebec separation, an important question comes to mind about the legality of the participation of naturalized Canadians, or Canadians by contract not by birth, in such referendum. Can naturalized Canadians who willingly contracted Canada under oath participate in a vote to break Canada?

Thanks to the Conservatives, The House of Commons overwhelmingly passed a motion recognizing "Quebecois" as a nation within Canada. It became clear that the right to self determination in Quebec is now beyond questioning considering that the right of nations to self-determination is a cardinal principle in modern international law.

Knowing all that, one must not ignore the difference between the citizen who is born Canadian and the other who willingly contracted the state under oath to become its citizen. It is understandable that a person who is Canadian by birth in the province of Quebec, for example, did not have another choice. Thus, in the context of a distinct society or "nation" that person can rightfully be granted the chance to chose whether or not to separate from Canada. On the other hand, naturalized Canadians have a totally different background when it comes to the right to self determination. Naturalized Canadians (with the exception of naturalized minors) are mature people who have engaged in a social contract with Canada. They have promised under oath to obey the laws and customs of Canada regardless if a province objects to some of it, fulfill their duties as citizens, and recognize the authority of the monarch. The citizenship oath reads:

"I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen".

In my opinion, inviting naturalized Canadians to participate in any referendum that may have a negative impact on Canadian sovereignty or territorial integrity is an act that breaches the contract between them and Canada. In case where a secession referendum is necessary in a given province, naturalized Canadians should not be invited to the possibility of breaching their binding social contract. Their vote should count by default as a "NO" to secession.

It is important to bring the issue of the social contract between naturalized Canadians and Canada when debating separatism . In fact, this issue is the only legal challenge that might face any attempt by any province to secede. The conservatives who passed a motion recognizing the nation of Quebec are required today to work on passing a motion respecting the social contract of naturalized Canadians. The lawmakers in the House of Commons need to work on issues that lead to unity not those that lead to division among Canadians.

About The Author

Yasser Harrak's picture

Alma mater: American Public University (MA, Grad Cert), Concordia University (BA). 


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Daniele Duquette

Enfin,ça fait des années que je le dit,tu fais un serment,tu le devrait y avoir des sanctions contre les nouveaux canadiens qui essaies de détruire le pays qui les a accueilli


Nous avons besoin d'un membre du parlement a Ottawa qui va proposer une loi obligeant les provinces de resecter le contract entre les nouveau Canadiens et létat Canadien. On veut que dans le cas d'un referendum, il faut compter chaque citoyen contractuel comme un vote pour le Canada. J'espere que Mr Harper et son equipue passeront cette motion au lieu de passer les motions etectoralists et partisan.