MEMBERS of the Quebec parliament have sparked a conversation in Canada after refusing to swear allegiance to King Charles III.

Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, who leads the pro-independence Parti Québécois, said the oath of fealty to the King was a “straitjacket that condemns each elected representative of the people of Quebec to hypocrisy”.

Speaking in French, he went on: "A straitjacket that forces democrats of all parties to take an oath they do not believe in and therefore to perjure themselves, to sully the value of their word and to do that in the first act they are called on to take as representatives of citizens."

St-Pierre Plamondon did take a separate oath to the people of Quebec. However, Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) who do not swear their oath to the monarchy are not allowed to take their seat in parliament.

On Monday, a crowd gathered outside the parliamentary building in Quebec City to show support for the three MNAs under the Parti Québécois banner, as well as the 11 under the Québec solidaire banner, who refused to swear to the King.

Saltires were visible in the crowd as St-Pierre Plamondon (below, often known by his initials of PSPP) spoke to the event organised by Rassemblement pour un Pays Souverain.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Benoit Roy, the group’s president, said he did not think the Quebec government would have any choice but to let the MNAs who chose not to take the oath of allegiance to King Charles III take their seat at parliament.

Roy said there was “an exceptional opportunity … offered to Quebec parliamentarians to find a way to develop and evolve our parliamentary traditions”.

“This institutional anachronism has existed for too long. It is time to put an end to it,” he added.

The 2022 Quebec elections were held on October 3. Commentators in Canada have questioned whether the refusal to swear an oath to the King is a matter of principle or of theatrics for PSPP, whose party suffered very weak results in that election.

Whether MNAs who do not swear to the King can legally sit is a matter of constitutional debate. CTV News Montreal reported that PSPP believes a motion passed by parliament would allow his members to sit, a view supported by some constitutional scholars.

However, others think that a rule change would involve the federal government – which along with other devolved legislatures also requires an oath to be sworn to the British monarch.