Black community activist Charles Roach says he’s escalating his 24-year legal
battle to have an allegiance to the Queen dropped from the Canadian Oath of
Roach, 78, a long-time Toronto lawyer, has been waging a legal challenge
since 1988 to have the oath changed.
The permanent resident of Canada chose not to become a citizen because of a
refusal to swear the Oath of Citizenship because it contains a promise to bear
allegiance to the Canadian monarch.
He and his supporters are staging a protest on Tuesday at noon outside an
Citizenship office, at 55 St. Clair Ave. E., as new Canadians
are being sworn inside.
He claimed many new immigrants are forced take the oath without fully
understanding its meaning or may have strong feelings against colonialism.
“Some new Canadians don’t understand what they’re saying when they recite
the oath,” he said. “This case is still alive and proceeding before the
Roach, who unsuccessfully filed a class action suit over the issue, took his case to the Federal Court of Canada in 1992 claiming the oath was a violation of the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court ruled against his motion and an
appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed.
He said the case will be heard on May 28 at the Ontario Superior Court of
Justice, on University Ave.
But, Robert Finch, chair of the The Monarchist League of Canada, accused
Roach of conducting a publicity stunt.
“This issue is not even on the radar of most Canadians,” Finch said on
Monday. “This is a distraction and at the end of the day, Canadians love
their Queen and will be celebrating her diamond jubilee.”
He said the monarchy is popular with new Canadians who have fled war-torn or
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stephen Harper marked Commonwealth Day on Monday by
extending friendship to other countries that celebrate the day.
“This day provides us with the opportunity to celebrate the strong bonds of
cooperation and friendship that exist among the 54 countries that form the
Commonwealth,” Harper said.