Quebec Unilaterally Exempts Itself from the Oath of Allegiance: The Demise of the Crown Reinforces Autonomist Nationalism

The New Nationalism in 21st-Century Quebec

The recent demise of the Crown from Queen Elizabeth II to King Charles III has made the occasional flare ups of active derision toward constitutional monarchy the new normal state of affairs in Quebec and has merged with the powerful current of unilateral autonomism already flowing through Quebec’s politics. Charles III happened to ascend to the throne and become the King of Canada during Quebec’s most recent provincial general election, which provided nationalists and secessionists long tired of the oath of allegiance to the Crown that MNAs-elect must swear to become full-fledged MNAs the perfect political opportunity. The oath of allegiance to the Sovereign in 128 of the Constitution Act, 1867 has become the latest flashpoint in this New Nationalism in Quebec.

In my view, nationalism in Quebec has gone through three distinct stages since Patriation in 1982. This is how I perceive the evolution of Quebec’s politics over the last forty years as a bilingual but not bicultural English-speaker peering in on another world, so you should ingest as many grains of salt as you think fit.

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Posted in Amending Formulas, Constitution (Written), Oaths of Allegiance | 2 Comments

Stripping Disgraced Former Senators of their Honorific Title

The Saga of Former Senator Don Meredith Haunts Us Still

Don Meredith resigned as a Senator from Ontario in May 2017 before the Senate could expel him outright on the recommendation of the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators.[1] The Ethics Committee found that Meredith’s sexual relationship with a young woman (who, according to the Ethics Officer’s initial report from March 2017, did not work in Meredith’s office) breached the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators.[2] Continue reading

Posted in Crown (Powers and Office), Parliament, Parliamentary Privilege, The Honours System | 1 Comment

With Andor, Star Wars Finally Gets Politics Right

The Sede Vacante: No One Presides Over the Senate under Fascist Dictatorship

The prequel trilogy contained the kernels of several interesting ideas but suffered under George Lucas’s rudimentary understanding of politics. The system of government of the Old Republic infamously makes no sense and combines a random hodgepodge of elements of presidentialism and parliamentarism.

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Posted in Comparative, Film & Television, Parliamentarism v Presidentialism, Reviews | Leave a comment

The Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Bill and Henry VIII Clauses

The Opening Salvo in the Speech from the Throne: “Standing Up to Ottawa”

On 29 November 2022, the Salma Lakhani, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, read a Speech from the Throne containing a pugilistic sub-section on “Standing Up to Ottawa,” with which Her Honour presumably disagrees based on her public musings three months ago that she would reserve or veto an eventual Alberta Sovereignty Act.[1]

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Posted in Constitution (Written), Division of Powers, Separation of Powers | 2 Comments

Question Period and the “Administrative Responsibility” of Federal Ministers

Sede vacante

The Moral Panic Over Ontario’s Invocation of the Notwithstanding Clause Breaks the Rules of the House of Commons

The moral panic over the Notwithstanding Clause escaped containment in Toronto and spread to Ottawa on 2 November 2022. The federal House of Commons devoted several minutes of Question Period to the Government of Ontario’s decision to invoke the Notwithstanding Clause pre-emptively in the Keeping Students in School Act. The Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Education of Ontario do not sit as MPs in the federal House of Commons, so they therefore cannot answer questions in the House of Commons but only in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Frankly, this entire line of questioning should not have happened, and Peter Milliken and Andrew Scheer would not have allowed it to happen during their tenures as Speaker of the House of Commons. The current Speaker of the House of Commons has broken decades of precedent in allowing MPs to ask questions of federal Ministers of the Crown that fall entirely outside the scope of their administrative responsibilities, wasting a good proportion of Question Period on 2 November with this over-heated rhetoric about a provincial issue.

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Posted in Constitution (Written), Decorum, Notwithstanding Clause, Parliament, Traditions and History | Leave a comment