Millroy: The Oath Issue

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A couple of weeks back the Ontario government said it was looking into rules requiring all municipal councillors to pledge allegiance to the Queen.

The issue arose in Hearst where indigenous councillor-elect Gaetan Baillargeon said he was forced to vacate the seat he recently won in a general election because he wouldn’t take the oath.

“It’s inconsistent with my views regarding the relationship between the Crown and the Indigenous people of Canada,” Baillargeon was quoted as saying in an interview. “To me, the Queen represents residential schools, the reserves, and the breaking of all the treaties.”

Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark was made aware of the issue and said the Ontario government was considering options.

It came up with a solution fairly quickly.

Clark phoned Baillargeon to say the province would provide an alternate declaration which will allow publicly elected officials to be sworn in without pledging allegiance to the Crown.

Baillargeon was sworn in on Dec. 11.

Section 232 (1) of the Municipal Act says councillors are required to take the pledge in the form “established by the minister for that purpose.” It reads in part: “I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second (or the reigning sovereign for the time being).”

Clark initially had said in a statement that the declaration is established provincially and there is no local authority to amend the declaration.

“We’ve been following this story with interest,” said Malcolm White, Deputy CAO / City Clerk.

“The Declaration of Office is required by all members of Council prior to beginning their new term, whether re-elected or elected for the first time. To my knowledge no one has objected to the declaration locally.”

But there apparently was another objection in Hearst in 2011.

In that one the town formally appealed to then-Liberal municipal affairs minister Rick Bartolucci to drop the requirement after a francophone councillor raised the issue. Bartolucci refused, saying it was not a priority for the government.

Baillargeon pointed out other Indigenous politicians have been allowed to bend the rules in other situations by using Cree for a pledge or changing the wording.

The oath issue also surfaced a few years ago in a failed challenge to Canadian citizenship rules, which requires a pledge of allegiance to the Queen.

I am happy that this issue has been resolved but I am waiting to see what the new wording will be like.

It must not deal only with Indigenous people; it must deal with all.

I don’t believe an oath of allegiance to the Queen has any place in local politics. In fact, I don’t believe it has any place at any level of government in this country.

Canada is a member of the Commonwealth but as a sovereign nation. As such, its allegiance should be to the other members of that body, not to a titular head of state.

 

I HAVE AN UPDATE on my column of last week in which I said I thought police, Crown and a Justice of the Peace overreacted in regard to a client of local lawyer Don Orazietti’s law firm who had been charged with breach of recognizance.

He was arrested while sitting in a car in the Canadian Tire parking lot on Dec. 6. His surety, Michelle Boland, was apparently using a washroom inside the store at the time.

He had a bail hearing on Thursday and in her decision announced Friday, Justice of the peace Kathleen Bryant remanded him in custody. He will appear in a video remand court on Jan 3.

Orazietti said he and representatives of the federal and provincial governments agreed that

Bryant had a conflict of interest in hearing the case in that she signed the search warrant for the search of his client’s apartment in respect of the drug charges.

But he said she refused to recuse herself, saying she signs many warrants and does not recall anything about this one.

Orazietti said his client will therefore spend the holidays in jail but the real tragedy is that no one cares.

He said his client has absolutely no record for violence and is a unfortunately a very high functioning individual who, despite his age, 47, has aspirations of completing his medical degree. “There is no issue that he has become derailed because of substance abuse, but he has taken steps to rehabilitate himself in treatment facilities such as Elliot Lake,” he said. “He certainly has those issues and on the recent charges from early November it is the Crown’s position that he was in possession of drugs in sufficient quantity to infer trafficking.

“He has no criminal convictions, but he was granted three conditional discharges, i.e. a finding of guilt but no registration of a conviction,  two for drug-related offences and one for a criminal code offence for violating bail. Discharges are granted usually in minor infractions of the law.

“All that said, the narrow legal issue here is that once he was granted bail by a lawyer Justice of the Peace on Nov. 2 after a full bail hearing, which was not appealed by the Crown, does the violation of bail by sitting in the car without his surety mean he forfeits bai?

“He has served the equivalent of 21 ( 1.5days X14 ) days jail. What would a reasonable person think is a proper sentence for that kind of breach?” Orazietti asked.

Orazietti also questioned, with two Crowns involved in the matter of bail for his client, “where was all the gusto in the “big sell-out” in the Hallam case? When it was time to draw the line in the sand the Crown ran for the exit and folded like a cheap tent and even had to bring in outside Crown to do the plea for “the big fix.

“So I find it sad that this is how the Crown uses its overwhelming power against an accused in a situation like my client finds himself in, on a breach of recognizance by sitting in a car.

“It is unfortunate that people like Wes Hallam,  being a marginalized member of the drug culture, and his powerless family  were left feeling they had been denied justice. And they were.”

Actually, I find it hard to understand why the police, Crown and Justices of the Peace seem to be so heavy in the pursuit of Orazietti’s client.

It would seem they would have enough bigger stuff: to keep them busy.

And then there are those who would throw aside the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, commenting that they would agree with putting people like Orazietti’s client in jail until a decision as to their guilt or innocence is rendered.

I guess I am becoming what is generally referred to as a bleeding-heart liberal.

But I just can’t see what is to be accomplished by keeping Orazietti’s client in custody over the holidays, which will probably mean he will spend more time in jail than he would have if he had pleaded guilty to the breach.

It will be interesting to see what comes down and where he goes, if anywhere, after he appears in video remand court on Jan. 3.

 

 

14 COMMENTS

  1. Mark, you should get your own column instead of riding on the back of everyone else that wants to post an opinion.. You are so far out you could run with Ford or Trump… Are you allowed back in council chambers yet?? I hope not because you are definitely a Class “A” flake….You are living proof that it’s true, opinions are like a##holes, everyone has one… It’s just that yours are getting to be old hat.. Run for council… Franks gone so now you may stand a chance…LOL. Luck to you, bud…

    • The election is over Bill, and I did not run. I’m very happy being an active citizen doing what I can to help make our community better.

      Thanks for your support though, Bill, I appreciate it very much.

      As for your column idea, Bill, again, I’m happy contributing to the discussion community. However, I will stop contributing any time that Mr. Millroy asks me to stop. No questions asked.

      As for your rudeness, Bill, I forgive you.

      Your comments say so much more about you than they do about me.

      Merry Christmas Bill. May the joys of the season fill you with light.

      Citizen Mark Brown

      • Sorry mark, but my comments no more border on rudeness than yours do,the main difference is I don’t try and sugarcoat them with a lot unnecessary verbiage…Doug does these posts with the full intent of stirring up comment, right, wrong, or indifferent as he always did.. My comment about you getting your own column was in respect of some of your posts running longer than his column in the first place..LOLOL.. Merry Christmas to you too..LOL..Actually, I would vote for you if you did run for council, as we Frank Manzo on council…

      • Thanks for the comparison to Councilor Manzo, may he rest in peace.

        Councilor Manzo was a force of nature when it came to helping everyday Sault citizens. Whether it was by being on their doorstep helping them out 10 minutes after they had called him, or by getting everyone to become more informed about Sault issues and opportunities to help by watching City Council meetings because you never quite knew what Frank Manzo was going to do. Councilor Manzo did a ton of good for our community, and even his memory is still contributing to the Sault.

        The comparison is a kind one, Bill, because I don’t come anywhere close to being as good for citizens as Councilor Manzo, but it’s certainly not for a lack of trying as you have seen and read over the past 20 years.

        You can’t bake a cake without breaking a few eggs my friend.

        It’s just a little harder for me to help my fellow citizens because I”m an everyday citizen myself, and unlike Councilor Manzo I don’t have a camera recording my every move every two weeks with the entire community watching, nor do people have my phone number at their finger tips like they had Councilor Manzo’s, but they’re certainly welcome to contact me for help any time at all.

        My phone number is: 705-942-six168

        And my email is: CitizensFirst(at)shaw.ca

        Thanks, again, for the compliment Bill.

        I know… too long… “unnecessary verbiage”, as it were.

        What can I tell you Bill. I gotta be me.

        Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

        Citizen Mark Brown

  2. I think I have this Oath issue solved:

    Just like Naturalized Citizens of Canada have to pledge an Oath of allegiance to the Sovereign, so too should all Canadian Citizens who have citizenship as a result of being born in Canada be required to pledge an Oath of allegiance to the Sovereign at a Citizenship Ceremony within one year of attaining the Age of Majority for voting, or before actually voting and/or running for Elected Office, which ever comes first.

    There are several reasons why this Oath should be a requirement of Canadian Citizenship. The reasons, in no particular order, are:

    1) Pledging allegiance to the Sovereign is required by some citizens, and should, therefore, be required by all citizens,

    2) Pledging allegiance to the Sovereign is important because the Sovereign, or their Representative in Council (our Governor General), is the decision maker of last resort in our Parliamentary System, and is the apolitical person, or delegate, at the top of the Commonwealth who is focused solely on the question: “What is the best decision for my loyal subjects.” With the answer to that question being partially informed by the identification of publicly declared loyal subjects. (We’re talking largely about war time decisions here, and/or times of political meltdown.)

    Unfortunately as it stands right now Canadian Citizens who are born in Canada are assumed to have sworn an Oath of allegiance to the Sovereign, and as we all know that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    Therefore, an actual swearing of an Oath of allegiance to the Sovereign must be made at the appropriate time for those who are born in Canada so that those people who do make that Oath are granted the rights, privileges, and obligations of being a Canadian Citizen, and those who do not make that Oath are not granted those rights, privileges, and obligations.

    The appropriate time to swear that Oath, in my humble opinion, is soon after attaining the Age of Majority to vote, and before voting or running for elected Office.

    If this solution were to be adopted the gentleman who refused to swear an Oath of allegiance to the Sovereign at the Municipal Council Swearing In Ceremony would have already opted out of being a Canadian Citizen as a matter of principle when he reached the Age of Majority for voting, and would, therefore, be ineligible to represent Canadian Citizens as a Municipal City Council Member.

    The gentleman who refused to swear an Oath of allegiance to the Sovereign at the City Council Swearing In Ceremony wants to have his cake and eat it too.

    He wants to say he is a Canadian Citizen with all of its associated rights, privileges, and obligations, one of those obligations being an assumed swearing of an Oath of allegiance to the Sovereign because he was born in Canada (as it stands right now), yet he publicly declares that he is not one of the Sovereign’s loyal subjects, and, therefore, at best has divided allegiances, and at worst has allegiance to a potentially warring Nation should there ever come a time that our Canada goes to war.

    Now it’s unlikely that our First Nations partners would be the enemy of our Sovereign’s Canadian loyal subjects because, historically, they have fought along side of the Sovereign’s Loyalists to our tremendous benefit, and we have been very lucky to have them as allies during those many times of war.

    But that does not mean that they will always want to be our allies in times of war, as unlikely as that is.

    But still this gentleman is asking for a vaulted position of representation of loyal Canadian subjects of the Sovereign without, by his own admission, being one himself.

    Granting this declared “non-Canadian” a vaulted position of leadership is not a good idea because if the loyal subjects of the Nation he sees himself as a citizen of ever do go to war with the loyal Canadian subjects of the Sovereign – Canadians – those Canadians that he represents as a City Council Member will likely have divided loyalties between him and/or his Nation and the Sovereign. If not total devotion to him and his Nation.

    In times of war the Sovereign requires undivided loyalty for the ultimate benefit of the Commonwealth.

    In summary, this man cannot say he is Canadian without pledging an Oath of allegiance to the Sovereign, and without being Canadian he is ineligible to run for elected office. That’s the law.

    It’s just that simple.

    By the way, Mr. Millroy, the Sovereign is not a figure head. They have real and practical responsibilities, albeit they rarely, if ever, exercise them. War and/or political meltdown have not happened for a very very long time. And hopefully they never will again. Unfortunately, however, there is always that possibility.

    Citizen Mark Brown

  3. “Hold ALL alleged drug traffickers without bail until they are charged, or exonerated, or the Crown gives up”
    This would be very costly.
    I was talking about being a lawyer in general, representing all sorts of guilty low lives, not this case in particular.

    • Not if the Defense gets to pick the date of the trial Ted.

      Presumably the Defense wants it’s clients out as soon as possible. Like the same day in the case of it’s improperly charged clients. Trial waiting times for charged drug traffickers would be MASSIVELY reduced with Defense lawyers in charge of the Trial Schedule.

      It actually seems to me it would cost the Province LESS, and get actual drug trafficking criminals behind bars a lot more quickly if the Defense lawyers are in charge of the charged alleged drug trafficker Trial Schedule.

      Hmm, seems like a cost saver, and convicted drug trafficker incarcerating winner to me.

      Oh, and I see that your comment was just a, “how can you live with yourself knowing that your work sets actual criminals free?”, Ted.

      The answer is a Defense Lawyers work keeps innocently charged citizens from being wrongly sent to jail as much possible if not ALL OF THE TIME.

      That’s an extremely worthy pursuit IMHO.

      Sincerely,
      MAB

  4. The Municipal Oath of Office also says:

    “2. I have not received and will not receive any payment or reward, or promise thereof, for the
    exercise of this office in a biased… manner.”

    This takes me back to City Council Member, and City Council appointee Algoma Public Health Chair Marchy Bruni back in 2015.

    Councilor Bruni’s role on the APH was as a Member of City Council as a City Council representative. He was not acting as a citizen on the APH Board. He was acting as a City Council Member.

    And as you have written previously, Doug, then Councilor Bruni signed on to be an APH representative of as a presumably paid Director of a proposed private Medical Marijuana production facility that was undergoing a government of Canada Application approval process that eventually saw the APH Board approve his Directorship of the Medical Marijuana production facility as an APH representative, apparently at Councilor Bruni’s urging from behind closed doors.

    This seems to me to be a “biased” promise of payment for being a Director of the Medical Marijuana production facility in his role as a City Councilor on the APH Board.

    It seems to me to be a breaking of his Oath back around the end of 2014 / beginning of 2015.

    I guess Councilor Bruni should have been turfed from City Council for that apparent breaking of his Oath?

    Oh well, he’s been re-elected and taken a new Oath so I guess he’s in the clear.

    Or is he? I don’t know. Does anybody else know?

    Sincerely,
    MAB

  5. Ask Mr. Orazietti what his client was doing all by himself between the time his client left his surety at the Canadian Tire washroom (if there is one), and the time his client arrived at the car in the parking lot. Who knows, maybe Mr. Orazietti’s client walked with his head in a medical book through Canadian Tire studying to complete his medical degree?

    Yeah, that’s probably it. I mean anything is possible!?!

    BTW, this reasonable person thinks that all alleged law breakers who are CHARGED with illegal drug selling should be kept in jail without bail until their (expedited) court case WITHOUT THEIR NAMES BEING RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC to avoid unnecessary public ostracizing in case they are innocent of the charge(s).

    This so as to disrupt the distribution of drugs if the alleged is actually guilty, and to protect the reputation of the accused if they turn out to be not guilty.

    Reasonable Person #1: Hold ALL alleged drug traffickers without bail until they are charged, or exonerated, or the Crown gives up, with the accused going to trial at the defense lawyer’s timeline (not the judge’s or the crown’s they have to go to trial when the defense says they do (expedited)).

    Sincerely,
    MAB

    • The province would go broke doing what you suggest.
      Isn’t it wonderful being a lawyer representing and trying to get many guilty people off? I couldn’t sleep at night knowing that I helped put a criminal back on the street without punishment to continue breaking the law, perhaps even escalating their criminal behavior to something even more serious.

    • Mr. Orazietti’s client hasn’t been convicted, Ted, and is, therefore, not a criminal.

      In every case in the criminal law you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law (i.e. not the court of public opinion). It is better to let actual criminals go free than it is to wrongly convict even one innocent person.

      I’m suggesting that that not be the case for CHARGED drug traffickers because the social devastation to individuals, and families, and friends, and neighbours, and far flung community members whose houses are burglarized by individuals seeking to feed their addictions are so far reaching as to outweigh the benefit of letting a silently CHARGED individual go free.

      My suggestion puts pressure on the Crown to have strong proof of actual conviction before charging an individual of drug trafficking because the defense can immediately have the charges dealt with if the Crown cannot prove it’s charges.

      I too am of the belief that it is better to let many criminals go free than it is to convict an innocent person.

      Sincerely,
      MAB

      P.S. What do you mean the province would go bankrupt Ted doing what I suggest?

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