Canada’s citizenship oath, before and after changes to include Indigenous rights

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OTTAWA — Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has introduced a bill that would change Canada’s oath of citizenship to include a reference to the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Liberal government says the proposal demonstrates its commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and a renewed relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect and co-operation.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett says the change demonstrates to all Canadians, including the country’s newest citizens, that Indigenous and treaty rights are an essential part of the country’s character.

The bill contains new language for the oath that includes a pledge for new citizens to faithfully observe the laws of Canada including the Constitution, which “recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.”

The proposed change is also part of the Liberal government’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which spent six years probing Canada’s residential-school legacy before it issued 94 calls for action.

Sen. Murray Sinclair, who chaired the commission, says he welcomes the government’s legislation to change the oath, saying it reflects a “more inclusive history of Canada.”

 

Canada’s citizenship oath as it stands today:

“I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.”

After a proposed change to recognize Indigenous rights:

“I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada, including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.”

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