The Current

Dror Bar-Natan renounces allegiance to Queen, spurs Monarchy debate

The debate over the importance of the Monarchy has been re-ignited with a very pointed and public decision by a new Canadian citizen Dror Bar-Natan's disavowal of his oath to the Queen after his citizenship ceremony this past Monday. Has the time come to swear off an old swearing-in habit?
Dror Bar-Natan, right, with his lawyers Peter Rosenthal (left) and Selwyn Pieters. Bar-Natan is one of three permanent residents challenging the constitutionality of requiring an oath to the Queen as a condition of Canadian citizenship. (CP/Colin Perkel)

The long-standing relationship between Canada and the queen — and the monarchy more generally — is being questioned right now...and by a brand new Canadian.

Yesterday, at a citizenship swearing-in ceremony in Toronto Dror Bar-Natan swore allegiance to the Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors. But he also had something to say.... after the oath.

I wish to affirm my allegiance, my true allegiance to Canada, and to the people Canada and to disavow the royalty part and only the royalty part of the citizenship oath.- Dror Bar-Natan at a citizenship swearing-in ceremony

Dror Bar-Natan is a professor of mathematics at the University of Toronto.
Dror Bar-Natan on his way into our Toronto studio wearing the same sweatshirt he wore to his swearing-in ceremony yesterday. (CBC)

At his swearing-in ceremony yesterday, Dror Bar-Natan was ready for the cameras. He wore a red sweatshirt, with a rhetorical question printed on the back — It said, "Loyalty to Royalty? In 2015?"

Canada's allegiance to the King or Queen of England has been questioned before of course, but we thought it was a good time to revisit it today. 

Because it is 2015!

  • Ashok Charles is a photographer who became a became a Canadian citizen in 1977 but 27 years later, recanted that part of his Citizenship oath in which he swore allegiance to the Queen.
  • John Pepall writes about politics and law and he's the author of "Against Reform." 

This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry and Karin Marley.

A Message from the Queen of England To Canada

The last word on this subject goes to Queen Elizabeth the Second, as channeled by the Kids in the Halls' Scott Thompson. A classic skit by the comedy troupe where the Queen is told that Canada will be abandoning the monarchy and so she delivers a message to her Canadian subjects.