Monday (Nov. 5) I was sworn in for a second term as a Saanich councillor. I first took the Oath of Office and then I took the Oath of Allegiance. I did the same in 2014.
While in Victoria it may have been a story the next day in the news, in Saanich it was not. However, today in the Saanich News I read a letter to the editor about this topic and so I’ve decided to share my thoughts on the matter.
To explain what this oath means to me I will start by actually providing the actual oath:
“I, Colin Stephen Plant, do affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors.”
It is a single sentence. Yet it creates a lot of controversy.
But not for me.
So why did I take it? There are several reasons:
#1) My grandparents were British. At least my maternal grandmothers both were. I took the oath partly to honour them because I know they would have wanted me to take the oath to show my respect to their history and dedication to the Queen.
I remember as a boy the fondness my grandmothers had for the Queen (ie. we would be forced to stop playing with our new toys and quietly listen to the Queen’s Christmas Day message) and did not feel torn showing my respect by taking the oath. It actually made me think fondly of my family history as both my grandfathers served in the armed forces during WW2 bearing the name the Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy. Note the word Royal.
#2) i am a Chief Scout. Throughout my participation in Scouting I always pledged to do my duty to God and the Queen. It felt good to be of service. I have always enjoyed being of service. It is part of who I am. Swearing to do my duty to the Queen meant doing good to me as a young man. I still want to do good and I appreciate the history of the monarchy in Canada and how it shaped our existence.
#3) The monarchy is an institution that is not perfect. But not much is. Canada is an awesome country, but it is also not perfect. I accept that the monarchy is both part of my heritage and something that has caused a lot of pain to others. But we cannot move forward as a culture by blindly ignoring or cutting off ties to our past. We must learn from it, evolve and do better in the future.
And it is this last point that is so important to me; it is how I live my life. I try to do good but when I make mistakes I learn from them and try to do better the next time I am faced with a similar challenge.
So while the monarchy is not an institution I spend a lot of time thinking about, I did not mind taking the Oath of Allegiance because it does represent being of service to others, it connects me to my past and inspires me to do better in the future. If others choose to take (or not take) the oath, I imagine they have their reasons too.
And in this great place we call Canada, you have the right to make that decision too.