Judge John Hodgman Episode 55: Battle Royale


Rachel and Leeman are American citizens who moved to Canada for school and work. Having lived in Toronto for some time now, the couple have planted their roots in Canadian soil and plan to make the city their home for the foreseeable future. They've already become permanent Canadian residents, and enjoy the primary benefits of being Canadian (universal health care, foremost). Rachel believes they should go all the way and become citizens so that they may vote, run for office, and fully commit to life in the Great White North. Leeman takes issue with the Canadian Oath of Citizenship, however, particularly the idea of pledging allegiance to the British monarchy.

Should they stand on guard for thee united as a family, or is Leeman correct in rebelling against the crown? In this royal rumble, only one man can decide!



Filed by Leeman -- It is this particular section of the Canadian Oath of Citizenship with which he takes umbrage:

"I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen."


New Canadian to renounce oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth


A soon-to-be Canadian has served notice that he plans to recant the mandatory Oath of Allegiance to the Queen immediately after he becomes a citizen.

In a letter sent to the citizenship court judge earlier this month, Dror Bar-Natan states his opposition to the oath, which he calls "repulsive," and his plan to renege on the pledge following his citizenship ceremony on Monday.

The Queen is a symbol of entrenched and outdated privilege and the pledge is tantamount to a "hazing" ritual, Bar-Natan said in an interview.

"To become a Canadian citizen, I am made to utter phrases which are silly and ridiculous and offensive," he said. "I don't want to be there."

Bar-Natan, 49, a math professor from Israel who has been in Canada for 13 years, was one of three longtime permanent residents who challenged the constitutionality of making citizenship conditional on promising to be "faithful and bear true allegiance to Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors."

In upholding the requirement, Ontario's top court said the Queen remains Canada's head of state and the oath was a "symbolic commitment to be governed as a democratic constitutional monarchy unless and until democratically changed."

The court also found that all citizens have the right to espouse anti-monarchist views and new Canadians could "publicly disavow what they consider to be the message conveyed by the oath."

Bar-Natan said he would follow the court's advice.

"I will be following precisely what the judges of the Appeal Court effectively suggested," Bar-Natan said. "I am going to tell the citizenship judge, 'I hereby completely disavow it'."

To that end, he has prepared a second letter — copied like the first to the immigration minister and attorney general — that he plans to give the judge immediately after the ceremony formally reneging on the part of the pledge that refers to the Queen.

"I find it regrettable that I have to do this; I have done my best to avoid it," he writes, according to a draft of the letter seen by The Canadian Press.

Bar-Natan has also set up a website "as a service to others" to allow other new Canadians to publicly disavow their pledge to the Queen.

'I hereby disavow …'

So far, two others have signed on, including Ashok Charles, who recanted the oath he had made in 1997 in a notarized letter sent to the immigration minister in May 2004. In response, Citizenship and Immigration Canada assured him his status as a Canadian was legally safe.

Peter Rosenthal, a former New Yorker who became a Canadian decades ago and the lawyer in the constitutional battle against the pledge, has also used the website.

"I hereby disavow any implication that I ever affirmed any allegiance to any monarch," he states.

In the 1990s, former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien was set to scrap the oath to the Queen but got cold feet at the last minute, then-citizenship minister Sergio Marchi has told The Canadian Press.

Rosenthal said he hoped the current Liberal government would finally take the plunge.

"The rest of the oath talks about being a good citizen of Canada — that's relevant — but why put that in the context of the Queen?"

Related - Court upholds constitutionality of citizenship oath

Oath to the Queen upheld by Ontario Court of Appeal

Ontario's top court has dismissed a constitutional challenge to the oath of citizenship launched by three permanent residents who refuse to swear allegiance to the Queen.

The Canadian Compromise

There is an another solution that the judge overlooked, and that is for Leeman to take his oath of Canadian Citizenship in French. When Canada became a country, we had two very distinct founding peoples (not counting the First Nations, who seem to get perpetually screwed over...) - the British and the French. Our capital was put on the English/French Canadian border as a compromise, and the oath of citizenship is slightly different in the two official languages. Of particular importance to this case, the French oath of Canadian citizenship does not include a pledge of allegiance to the Monarch, and it is the choice of the prospective citizen which oath they want to take. If the only thing standing in the way of his obtaining citizenship is the Monarchy issue, then he should just take it in French.

PS, God save the Queen!

The French Oath

Still requires the monarchy. Sorry!

Je jure fidélité et sincère allégeance à Sa Majesté la Reine Elizabeth Deux, Reine du Canada, à ses héritiers et successeurs et je jure d’observer fidèlement les lois du Canada et de remplir loyalement mes obligations de citoyen canadien.

(Off the CIC website)

This is the

sound of a gavel,


That was excellent!!!

Leeman a real person?

Leeman sounded suspiciously like actor slash voice artist slash Twitter celebrity, James Urbaniak.

He is a real person. You can

He is a real person. You can see his Lovecraft impersonation on Youtube by searching for Ask Lovecraft.

JJHO recommended by the Guardian.

This episode was mentioned: http://bit.ly/I8DqLA

Good episode

It's good that you broke away from always siding with the wife. Indeed!!