Citizens for a Canadian Republic

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Citizens for a Canadian Republic
Citizens for a Canadian Republic.png
Founded 2002
Focus Canadian Republicanism
Key people

Tom Freda, National Director

Pierre L. J. Vincent, Associate Director

Citizens for a Canadian Republic (French: Citoyens et Citoyennes pour une République Canadienne) (CCR) is a Canadian advocacy group founded in 2002 that advocates the replacement of the Canadian monarchy (in both its federal and provincial jurisdictions) with a head of state who would either be chosen through a general election or elected by the Parliament of Canada;[1][2] no proposals relating to a replacement for the monarch in right of each province have been proffered.

While CCR favours the retention of the Westminster style parliament, with the prime minister as head of government, the organization does not endorse any particular republican model of government.[3] The organization's general objective is "to promote discussion and help raise awareness of the clear advantages of amending The Constitution to allow for a democratically-chosen Canadian citizen to serve as head of state."[4][5]



October 1, 2005. During the swearing-in ceremony of Governor General Michaëlle Jean on Parliament Hill, the Ottawa chapter of Citizens for a Canadian Republic demonstrated for the office to be elected and severed from the monarchy.

Citizens for a Canadian Republic was formed in 2002 "in an effort to provide balance in the debate over whether or not Canada should remain a constitutional monarchy"[6] and advocating the “Canadianization” of the head of state.[7] It remains the only formal organization devoted to the establishment of a Canadian republic.[8]

O'Donohue v. Canada[edit]

That same year, CCR became involved in O'Donohue v. Canada,[9] a lawsuit filed by one of its members, Tony O'Donohue. This suit challenged the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Act of Settlement, 1701, one of the laws governing succession to the Canadian throne, which disallows the sovereign from either being or married to a Roman Catholic. O'Donohue argued that it thus violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.[10] The case was dismissed in 2003, a ruling that was upheld in 2005, part of the rationale behind the decision being that, as the Act of Settlement is a constitutional document on equal-footing with the Charter, it could not be pre-empted by the Charter.[11]

Oath of Allegiance[edit]

The co-founder of the CCR, Pierre L. J. Vincent, became a republican activist in 1998 when he objected to taking the Oath of Allegiance, then required by law for all Canadian public servants beginning employment within the Civil Service. His refusal, partly based on his Acadian ancestry, sparked a ([1]) publicized three-year legal battle involving the federal government’s Public Service Commission.

In 2001, the commission ruled that he could keep his job, a legal precedent that was later applied to a similar oath refusal. Both cases are recognized as being a major impetus for the 2003 Public Service Modernization Act, which ended the requirement for federal civil servants to swear an oath to the Queen as of December 31, 2005.

In 2007, CCR member Charles Roach filed suit in opposition to the requirement of new citizens to swear an oath to the Queen. The case was on May 17, 2007, allowed to proceed,[12][13] but has since been dismissed by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.[14]

Organization and structure[edit]

CCR's national director and principal anglophone spokesperson is Tom Freda. The associate director and principal francophone spokesperson is Pierre L. J. Vincent. Other prominent members of the group include O'Donohue, Professor Randall White and civil rights lawyer Charles Roach. The organization has local chapters in Fredericton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver, plus international chapters in the US and the UK.[15]

International affiliations[edit]

CCR is a member of Common Cause, an alliance of Commonwealth republican movements[16] that seek to change their countries' status as Commonwealth realms to Commonwealth republics.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Glenn Patmore, "Choosing the Republic: The Legal and Constitutional Steps in Australia and Canada." Queen's Law Journal, Vol. 31, 2006; U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 169. Available at SSRN:
  2. ^ William Cross, Democratic Reform in New Brunswick, Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press, 2007, 217. ISBN 1-55130-326-4
  3. ^ Citizens for a Canadian Republic: Frequently Asked Questions: What republican system should Canada use as a model?. Accessed August 20, 2010. we choose to Canadianize our Head of State
  4. ^ "Citizens for a Canadian Republic / Goals". Retrieved 2012-05-21. 
  5. ^ Laura Anderson. "Gendered and Racialized Portrayals of the Governor General: Newspaper Coverage of Canada’s Head of State." Prepared for Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Political Science. Association, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. May 30- June 1, 2007
  6. ^ Citizens for a Canadian Republic: Press Release: 4-10-02
  7. ^ Kimberly Fu, "Long Ditch the Queen: Anti and pro monarchist movements spark debate," Vol. 08 Issue 07
  8. ^ Hyung Gu Lynn. Bipolar Orders: The Two Koreas Since 1989. London: Zed Books, 2007, p.10. ISBN 1-84277-743-2
  9. ^ Adrian Humphreys, "Anti-monarchy group joins Catholic's fight: Citizens for a republic: Lawsuit challenges act limiting succession to Protestant line", National Post, September 25, 2002
  10. ^ Juliet O'Neill, "The fight for the Republic of Canada," The Ottawa Citizen, October 02, 2002{1F3EF50E-2A74-401B-883E-AD27A04B271A}
  11. ^ O’Donohue v. Canada, 2003 CanLII 41404 (ON S.C.)
  12. ^ CBC News: Lawyer allowed to challenge citizenship oath; May 18, 2007
  13. ^ Gombu, Phinjo; Toronto Star: Lawyer cleared to challenge loyalty oath to the Queen; May 18, 2007
  14. ^ Roach v. Canada, 2008 ONCA 124 (CanLII)
  15. ^ "Citizens for a Canadian Republic / Local Chapters". Retrieved 2012-05-21. 
  16. ^ Allison Henry. "An Australian Head of State: Where Are We At?" The Sydney Papers Volume 17, Issue 2 (Autumn 2005): 32. Availability: <;dn=974062298431301;res=IELHSS> ISSN 1035-7068. [cited 12 Nov 08].

External links[edit]