Saturday, May 14, 2011

Charles Roach Refuses to Swear An Oath to the Queen To Gain Canadian Citizenship


Charles Roach's story in the
Toronto Sun of April 28, 2011

Courtesy: The Toronto Sun

(To read the full Toronto Sun story,
you may double-click the above image)

Charles Roach, 79, a Toronto lawyer who is originally from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean Sea and, presently, a permanent resident of Canada for the past 57 years, has a way of viewing the Canadian citizenship.

According to his own admission to the Toronto Sun, he once had applied and was found eligible for the Canadian citizenship. But, due to his refusal to participate in the compulsory official oath-taking ceremony, where new Canadian citizens take an oath of loyalty to the monarch (of Britain), who at the same time is the head of state of Canada, he is still not a citizen of Canada.

Another time Mr. Roach had mentioned elsewhere that the mandatory oath to the “offshore queen” was a violation of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ provision of freedom of conscience.

Why doesn’t Mr. Roach like to take the oath of allegiance? Because, according to him, under the monarchy, the British were involved in slave trade of black Africans in the past. He expressed his willingness for taking the oath of allegiance to Canada and not to the Queen of England.

According to the same report, once he even had filed a class-action lawsuit against this oath-taking requirement, but he lost the case.

As a permanent resident, Mr. Roach is not allowed to vote, he is not allowed to hold any government job, he is not allowed to run a public office, and he even can be deported to his former country if found guilty of serious crimes. In one word, Mr. Roach doesn’t enjoy the rights and responsibilities of a Canadian citizen yet.

The same report states that Mr. Roach once served in the Canadian Armed Forces for about three years. He strove to improve the conditions of the blacks in Toronto and was one of the black persons to found the now world-renowned Caribana festival in Toronto.

The Logic of the Actions of Charles Roach Does Not Stand on the Firm Ground

As a reader of the recent Toronto Sun story on Mr. Roach, one could hardly believe what he or she was reading. He or she must have scratched his or her head on the reasoning used by Mr. Rose in refusing to take the Canadian citizenship under the existing circumstances. The reasoning and actions, mentioned in the newspaper story, are full of dichotomies.

  • Mr. Roach was born and brought up in Trinidad and Tobago, which were British colonies from 1802 to 1962. According to the Toronto Sun report, Mr. Roach was born there around 1933 but these colonies became independent only in 1962 after 160 years of the British rule. So, for 29 years (he came to Canada in 1954), he was the citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, he paid allegiance to and lived his life under the British monarchs of King George V (1910-1936), King George VI (1936-1952), and Queen Elizabeth II (1952 – until now) who ruled those two colonies.
  • When Mr. Roach applied for the Canadian citizenship, he knew well ahead that he would have to take an oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II as the official head of Canada. He later refused to participate in the oath-taking ceremony led by a judge. If he did not like the existing oath-taking ceremony, why did he then apply for the citizenship in the first place?
  • Mr. Roach’s served at the Canadian Armed Forces for three years. The Canadian Armed Forces publicly express their allegiance and loyalty to the head of the state – the British monarch – and, if necessary, they also pledge to defend and protect the monarch and his or her kingdom at the cost of their lives. So, why did he join the army in the first place if he didn’t want to pay allegiance to the monarch?
  • As a permanent resident of Canada for the last 57 years, Mr. Roach has been living in Canada and enjoying necessary benefits (free healthcare, free or subsidized education, unemployment insurance, Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), old-age pension, and others) of the Government of Canada. All these benefits are given by the government in the name of the head of the state (British monarch). If Mr. Roach has any difficulty in pledging to the Queen, why is he taking advantage of these Government benefices? What’s, then, the difference between swearing an allegiance to the Queen and enjoying Canadian government benefits given in the name of the Queen?

These are dichotomies indeed!

The British Were the First to Abolish Slavery, Too

As a reader of history, one must acknowledge that Britain, like other European colonial powers, was deeply involved in African slave trade, and it was also the first to abolish slavery in the late 18th century.

Mr. Roach’s reasoning doesn’t hold water if he wants to blame the British monarch for the slavery and at the same time he enjoys the Canadian government benefices given in the name of the monarch.

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