Quebec parties want vote to end mandatory oath to King Charles

MONTREAL, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Quebec Premier Francois Legault said on Thursday his government would introduce legislation next week to end elected officials' required oath to Britain's King Charles, as pressure mounted in the Canadian province to cut such ties with the monarchy.

Fresh legislation from the governing Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) would follow a separate bill introduced on Thursday by left-leaning Quebec solidaire that would allow elected officials to just take an oath to the Quebec people.

"It is, I think, a relic from the past," Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, a co-spokesperson for Quebec solidaire, said about the oath to King Charles.

"I think there is strong support in Quebec to modernize our institutions, to make sure that the representatives of the people are not forced in 2022 to swear an oath to a foreign king."

It comes after the death of Queen Elizabeth in September revived debate among Canadians on whether the country should continue with the decades-old system of British monarchy.

Canada is a member of the Commonwealth, made up mostly of former British empire countries that have, or have had, the British monarch as head of state.

Yet in recent opinion polls, Canadians have expressed minimal attachment to the British monarchy, especially in mostly French-speaking Quebec, said Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies.

A Sept. 13 Leger poll of North American attitudes to the British monarchy showed 87% of Quebecers said they had no personal attachment, roughly on par with Americans and compared with 71% in British Columbia and 73% in Ontario.

Charles, 73, automatically became king of the United Kingdom and the head of state of 14 other nations, including Canada, when his mother, Queen Elizabeth, died on Sept. 8. read more

While there have been earlier calls for change in the province, the queen's death, combined with pressure from Quebec solidaire and the Parti Quebecois (PQ), two political parties that back Quebec's independence from Canada, raised the profile of opposition to the oath.

On Thursday, the PQ's three elected members who have not taken the oath tried unsuccessfully to enter the legislature.

Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Stephen Coates and Bernadette Baum

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