QUEBECOIS politicians were denied entry to their parliament after refusing to swear fealty to King Charles.
The incident occurred around 11.30 am Quebec time on Thursday, with the parliament’s sergeant at arms blocking the leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, and two of his fellow parliamentarians from entering the building.
This follows their refusal to swear fealty to King Charles, instead pledging an oath to the people of Quebec – referring to the monarchical pledge as a “straitjacket” and “perjury”.
Speaking with The National after being blocked from the Quebec parliament, St-Pierre Plamondon described the royal oath as a way of “discriminating against Francophones”.
He added: “It’s been a form of humiliation or way to remind Francophones that they are under the rule of the British Crown. At some point, it needs to stop because it’s illegitimate and it’s anti-democratic – but it’s difficult because this institution is rooted in the Canadian system.
“For every house representative, for every MP involved, whatever the party, the testimony of those politicians is that it’s an illegitimate and humiliating moment in their career. It’s almost unanimous. It’s anti-democratic and it needs to stop.”
In a show of solidarity with St-Pierre Plamondon and his party colleagues, representatives in the house have passed a motion agreeing to make a law to allow the Parti Québécois members to take their seats.
However, there are concerns that such a law would be struck down, with St-Pierre Plamondon describing that scenario as “most probable”.
St-Pierre Plamondon has branded the bureaucracy involved a “reminder that things can change”, adding: “We are part of a legal regime that is not legitimate and often not in our interests”.
It is here that the Quebecois draws similarities between their situation and that of Scotland in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling that Holyrood cannot legislate for an indyref without Westminster’s consent.
St-Pierre Plamondon said: “It’s the same question of democracy. International law is very clear on the right to self-determination of people and that right is embedded in the principle of democracy. when governments are willing to contradict those principles, essentially saying ‘you will hold the referendum if and when we decide so’ – it’s purely anti-democratic.
“So we are simultaneously working in the hope that democracy prevails over archaic colonial systems and domination. It’s very fundamental and it’s not a surprise that it happens in several parts of the world because some nations in a certain period of our history said that it was okay to dominate other people.
“And nowadays we think it’s not okay to dominate other people and to restrain democracy. It is an effort to fight for democracy, no matter where we are in the world.”
The party leader went on to say that it was a matter of principle and truth, saying the decision not to take the oath was worth the “political price”.
He added: “I’m doing this for historical and political reasons but the core of it is that I’m doing it because I strongly disagree with lying and perjuring myself as my first political act.
“For the people of Quebec, it is firmly connected to our right to self-determination, our right to take our own decisions and to cut the link with the monarchy and that colonial domination.
He concluded: “I think my people in our society deserve that and I dearly wish the same for the people of Scotland.”