Refusal of Quebec MNAs to Compromise their Conscience as Assembly Begins its Work

Refusal of Quebec MNAs to Compromise their Conscience as Assembly Begins its Works

This week, the new session of the National Assembly of Quebec began without the 3 members of the members of the Parti Québécois(PQ) taking their seats. After the general election in October, the three elected members of the(PQ) refused to swear the oath of allegiance to Charles III, the new King of England on the basis that they were elected by the people to represent them, not by the King and so they delayed their entry to the Assembly until today. As a result, it will be up to President of the Assembly Nathalie Roy whether to order the Sergeant-at-Arms to prohibit them taking their seats despite being elected. Québec Solidaire (QS) members had also refused to swear allegiance, but most have since sworn allegiance in private ceremonies permitting them entry.

The President of the previous Assembly had issued an order to the Sergeant-at-Arms to use force to expel the three PQ Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) should they try to take their seats when the new session opened on Tuesday, November 29.

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) forms the government and the Liberal Party forms the Loyal Opposition. The CAQ has indicated that addressing the oath was not a priority for them despite claiming to be “nationalist” however, as a result of the refusal of the PQ MNAs to submit, the new Premier Francois Legault has said he intends to put forward a motion in the new session to remove the requirement of the oath to the King, however that members must swear their allegiance until that time, something the PQ MNAs refuse to do. The QS, despite swearing allegiance has now put forward a Bill to make the oath to the King optional. The PQ has offered numerous alternatives to permit the President of the Assembly to let them remain in their seats despite not swearing allegiance in order to find a compromise.

Between now and February 1, Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) will only sit for eight days, with business ceasing on December 9 to make way for five days of constituency work following which the legislature will resume on January 31.