Who rules Canada?
Quick Answer: “The Queen” – whose representatives signs legislation into law (Royal Assent).
It is significant that the main oaths for federal and provincial representatives require allegiance to the Queen and do not seem to require allegiance to or service to the people or to matters of conscience.
I would like to think that despite these oaths, that there is always a possibility that some of these individuals will listen to reason and conscience, and not always be locked in to a fixed agenda.
Federal Members of Parliament, Privy Council Members, Cabinet Ministers
1) Individual Members of Parliament take the first oath, but federal ministers take all three oaths:
- Oath of Allegiance
- Privy Council Oath
- Oath of Office – for a particular office
OATH OF THE MEMBERS OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL
I, __________, do solemnly and sincerely swear (declare) that I shall be a true and faithful servant to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, as a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council for Canada. I will in all things to be treated, debated and resolved in Privy Council, faithfully, honestly and truly declare my mind and my opinion. I shall keep secret all matters committed and revealed to me in this capacity, or that shall be secretly treated of in Council. Generally, in all things I shall do as a faithful and true servant ought to do for Her Majesty.
So help me God.
The actual name of the constitutional body is the Privy Council. However the media usually only refers to the “cabinet,” which is not the entire Privy Council.
The Governor General represents the Queen.
The members of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada are appointed for life. Here is one politician just as an example: https://jmckay.liberal.ca/biography/
You can see the current list of members here: https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/services/queens.html and these include politicians, non-politicians, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke of Edinburgh.
The same type of advisory body in countries such as France is called the Council of State: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_State
2) Members of a provincial legislature (in this case Ontario) take the first oath below, whereas provincial (e.g. Ontario) cabinet ministers take all three oaths–which are required by the Canadian constitution: http://www.canadiancrown.com/uploads/3/8/4/1/3841927/en-new_ministry_documents.pdf
- Oath of Allegiance
- Executive Council Oath
- Oath of Office
Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Member of the Executive Council
I do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law.
I swear that, to the best of my ability:
I will serve honestly and faithfully as a Member of Her Majesty’s Executive Council in the Province of Ontario;
I will be vigilant, diligent and circumspect in the performance of my duties;
I will speak my mind in Council openly and honestly without partiality, fear or favour;
I will respect as secret all matters that may be discussed by the Executive Council in arriving at a decision of the Council and not disclose outside the Council any facts pertaining to such matters;
I will not discuss the decisions of the Executive Council outside the Council without the consent of the Executive Council, provided that I may discuss such decisions with members of my Ministry staff if I deem it advisable;
I will not disclose to any person outside the Executive Council any discussions or decisions relating to the conduct of a Member of the Executive Council.
So help me God.
Notice that the actual term for the provincial body in these oaths is the Executive Council, although the media only refers to the “cabinet.”
Unlike the federal Privy Council, Executive Council members are not appointed for life according to this article.
The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (or other provinces) represents the Queen.
3) In the case of lawyers, judges, etc. it is a different picture depending on the province.
In Ontario, the oath legislated for judges and court officers does not mention the Queen:
This page has copied the oath for lawyers in Ontario from the Law Society of Upper Canada, and it doesn’t mention an oath to the Queen:
A comment states that some other provinces such as Alberta require an oath of allegiance to the Queen: http://www.lesaonline.org/samples/24_21_04_p1.pdf
There is a lot more info about the Oath of Allegiance in this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_Allegiance_(Canada)
Lawyers in Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island
With or without an oath to the Queen, there might be similar professional oaths for other provinces and other professions, but the oath for Ontario lawyers, members of the Law Society of Upper Canada, is encouraging, so maybe it’s a good idea to appeal to this oath when we are asking Ontario lawyers–politicians or not–to defend the rights of Canadians against dictatorial policies:
I accept the honour and privilege, duty and responsibility of practising law as a barrister and solicitor in the Province of Ontario. I shall protect and defend the rights and interests of such persons as may employ me. I shall conduct all cases faithfully and to the best of my ability. I shall neglect no one’s interest and shall faithfully serve and diligently represent the best interests of my client. I shall not refuse causes of complaint reasonably founded, nor shall I promote suits upon frivolous pretences. I shall not pervert the law to favour or prejudice any one, but in all things I shall conduct myself honestly and with integrity and civility. I shall seek to ensure access to justice and access to legal services. I shall seek to improve the administration of justice. I shall champion the rule of law and safeguard the rights and freedoms of all persons. I shall strictly observe and uphold the ethical standards that govern my profession. All this I do swear or affirm to observe and perform to the best of my knowledge and ability.