The Canadian Press
TORONTO–The Ontario government says indigenous people no longer will have to swear allegiance to the Queen while being sworn into municipal office.
An alternate oath is being offered after an indigenous councillor-elect in a Northern Ontario town was forced to vacate his recently-won seat because he wouldn’t pledge allegiance to the Queen.
Municipal Affairs minister Steve Clark said he was made aware of Gaetan Baillargeon’s case and asked ministry staff to create an alternate oath that would better reflect the views of indigenous people.
The new oath has a section acknowledging that an indigenous person’s declaration of allegiance to the Queen would be inconsistent with their views regarding the relationship between the Crown and indigenous people.
Baillargeon, who was elected to council in Hearst, Ont., had said he would not pledge allegiance to the Queen because the Crown represents residential schools, the reserve system, and broken treaties.
He welcomed the alternate oath and said he was set to be sworn in to office this afternoon.