Citizens for a Canadian Republic
This article needs to be updated.March 2017)(
|Tom Freda, National Director Pierre L. J. Vincent, Associate Director|
Citizens for a Canadian Republic (French: Citoyens et Citoyennes pour une République Canadienne) (CCR) is a Canadian advocacy group founded in 2002 that advocates the replacement of the Canadian monarchy with a head of state who would either be chosen through a general election or elected by the Parliament of Canada.
While CCR favours the retention of the Westminster-style parliament, with the prime minister as head of government, the organization does not endorse any particular republican model of government. The organization's general objective is "to promote discussion and help raise awareness of the clear advantages of amending The Constitution to allow for a democratically-chosen Canadian citizen to serve as head of state."
Citizens for a Canadian Republic was formed in 2002 "in an effort to provide balance in the debate over whether or not Canada should remain a constitutional monarchy" and advocating the "Canadianization" of the head of state. It remains the only formal organization devoted to the establishment of a Canadian republic.
O'Donohue v. Canada
That same year, CCR became involved in O'Donohue v. Canada, a lawsuit filed by one of its members, Tony O'Donohue. This suit challenged the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Act of Settlement, 1701, one of the laws governing succession to the Canadian throne, which disallows the sovereign from either being or married to a Roman Catholic. O'Donohue argued that it thus violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The case was dismissed in 2003, a ruling that was upheld in 2005, part of the rationale behind the decision being that, as the Act of Settlement is a constitutional document on equal-footing with the Charter, it could not be pre-empted by the Charter.
Oath of Allegiance
The co-founder of the CCR, Pierre L. J. Vincent, became a republican activist in 1998 when he objected to taking the Oath of Allegiance, then required by law for all Canadian public servants beginning employment within the Civil Service. His refusal, partly based on his Acadian ancestry, sparked a publicized three-year legal battle involving the Government of Canada's Public Service Commission.
In 2001, the commission ruled that he could keep his job, a legal precedent that was later applied to a similar oath refusal. Both cases are recognized as being a major impetus for the 2003 Public Service Modernization Act, which ended the requirement for Government of Canada civil servants to swear an oath to the Queen as of December 31, 2005.
In 2007, CCR member Charles Roach filed suit in opposition to the requirement of new citizens to swear an oath to the Queen. The case was on May 17, 2007, allowed to proceed, but has since been dismissed by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
Organization and structure
CCR's national director and principal anglophone spokesperson is Tom Freda. The associate director and principal francophone spokesperson is Pierre L. J. Vincent. Other prominent members of the group include O'Donohue, Professor Randall White and civil rights lawyer Charles Roach. The organization has local chapters in Fredericton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver, plus international chapters in the US and the UK.
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