To swear or not to swear, that's the question
A New Brunswick MLA says there should be an alternative to pledging allegiance to the Queen. The Speaker of the House says it's unlikely the tradition will be changed.
Politicians can be elected as MLAs to the provincial legislature, but unless they swear an oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II, they can't take their seats in the Chamber.
Liberal MLA Bernard Richard says pledging allegiance is fine; he just thinks it's about time an alternative was offered. "I'd like to see members having a choice of either swearing an oath or swearing an oath to the country, to the province, to the people of New Brunswick."
The Speaker, Bev Harrison, disagrees. He says the Queen personifies what Canada and New Brunswick stand for. "The Queen is more democratic in my view, and she represents all Canadians. To me, I'd like not to swear an oath to an abstraction."
Harrison quotes journalist MacKenzie Porter, "The Queen is you and me and all other folk on every street. Since we cannot all sit on the throne, she sits on it for us."
Richard had his own source to cite on the matter. "I suppose I could quote the Beatles. 'Her Majesty's a very nice girl but she doesn't have a lot to say.' "
Richard says it's not a major issue, but with his Acadian heritage he would feel more comfortable having another option.
But that's not likely to happen anytime soon. Harrison says any change would require the unanimous consent of every province, the House of Commons and the Senate.