(Quebec) Former MP François Paradis, still President of the National Assembly until a successor is found for him, has decided: the MPs from Québec solidaire and the Parti Québécois who have not taken the oath to the King Charles III may be expelled from the Blue Room of the National Assembly.
“I give the formal order to the Sergeant-at-Arms to ensure that this decision is applied so that the deputies who have not taken the oath cannot take their place in the Chamber of the National Assembly or in the one of his commissions. In the event that a person refuses to comply with this prohibition, the Sergeant-at-Arms will be justified in expelling him,” wrote Mr. Paradis in a decision handed down on 1er november.
Mr. Paradis stated that “the oath of allegiance referred to in article 128 of the Constitution Act of 1867 is compulsory for taking part in parliamentary proceedings. Rebel MPs can take an oath at any time to remedy this situation.
On October 19, the 11 deputies of Québec solidaire (QS) took an oath “towards the people of Québec”, but did not pledge allegiance to King Charles III. Same thing for the three elected members of the Parti Québécois (PQ). The PQ leader, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, insisted during the election campaign that he would not do it.
Mr. Paradis acknowledges in his decision that it is “unusual” for an outgoing president to rule this way, but says that the situation justifies it. “The question is not hypothetical since some deputies have already refused to take the oath of allegiance […] “. He fears “difficulties from the start of the first session of the new legislature, before the election of the new members of the presidency”.
It ruled that “in the hierarchy of sources of law, legislative and constitutional provisions take precedence over any other rule of internal procedure”, and that “the National Assembly […] cannot derogate from it by simple motion”. He closes the door to the PQ, who says that a simple motion would allow elected officials to forget this famous oath for good, but seems to recognize that a law could change the situation, judge constitutionalist Patrick Taillon. It is also the reading of the government. “To sit, MPs must respect the law that currently applies and therefore comply with both oaths. The decision also confirms that a motion is not enough, ”said the office of CAQ parliamentary leader Simon Jolin-Barrette.
The PQ asks the CAQ to intervene
The PQ is not fond of the exit of Mr. Paradis. “The very outgoing President of the Assembly expressed an opinion that no one asked for,” launched the PQ MP Pascal Bérubé, who was far from being delighted. Mr. Paradis, “by coincidence”, is going “exactly in the same direction as his colleagues from the CAQ”, he lamented.
“It’s his opinion. We have 12 opinions that tell us that we can proceed,” said the member for Matane-Matapédia to The Press. The solution is political, believes Mr. Bérubé, who points out that the ball is in the court of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ).
One should not question those who stand, one should question those who crash. The CAQ government has made it clear in the past that it wants to end ties with the monarchy. It’s happening now, three quarters of the population are with us.
Pascal Bérubé, PQ MP for Matane-Matapédia
This is the request that the party will make on Wednesday, during the first negotiation session between the political parties to determine whether QS and the PQ will obtain the status of recognized parliamentary groups, with a budget and speaking time. On this question, moreover, the CAQ is “open[e] recognize groups”, unlike the Liberal Party.
Mr. Bérubé is also asking CAQ MNA Nathalie Roy, who is campaigning to be elected President of the Assembly, to take a public position on this issue.
QS is “not in panic mode”
As for QS, the new parliamentary leader, the deputy for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Alexandre Leduc, repeated several times that his party was “not in panic mode” and that he would take the time to analyze Ms. . Heaven.
“It’s an important moment, it’s an official decision of the president. This is not an opinion piece. We are going to gauge it as the official text of the president, ”he told The Press.
As to whether the QS deputies will be sworn in to King Charles III by November 29, the day parliament resumes, Mr. Leduc said his party first wanted to check whether precedents exist elsewhere on the subject in other similar legislation in Quebec.
Without an oath to the king, deputies receive a salary and can hire constituency staff, but they cannot enter the Blue Room, where laws are passed.
QS introduced a bill to make the oath to the king optional before the election, but it failed to pass. The CAQ now wants to move forward with its own bill to turn its back on this practice deemed retrograde. But the legislative process takes time, and the elected representatives of QS and the PQ will have to play spectators when parliament returns if they still refuse to pledge allegiance to Charles III.