Canadian students forced to pledge loyalty

From The Ottawa Citizen:

(Rest deleted, I can send the full article to anyone who wants to see it.)

So, uh, any of you Canucks have any feelings about this?

“I Pledge allegiance to the Molsens, and to the backbacon with which it is served, one nation, under toques, freezing cold, with 2 languages to divide us. eh!”:smiley:

I’d be interested in hearing other Canadian takes on this, fer sure, eh?

BTW, “one nation, under toques”… shivering… I miss my toque.

Speaking for myself, I can’t think of a dyed in the wool Canuck I’ve ever met who cared much about pledging allegiance to our Queen, who is the head of state, or singing Oh Canada. For the foreigners, south of the border or where-ever, it might cause a slight bit of confusion… Whatayya mean, Head of state?? We’re commonwealth, we’re british dominion of Canada and it wasn’t until the 1980’s we finally brought our Constitution back to reside in the country it constituted! Let alone talked about constitutional reform.

ALso FTR, speaking as a native Newfoundlander, I am not nearly a very enthusiastic Canadian. As is the pattern in so many countries, (I think Australia is a great example), the rigmarole that comes from recognizing an “absentee landlord” head of state is frustrating. For me, its just plain obvious that Newfoundland joined in Confederation with Canada so much later than the other provinces. We have our own identity, and in that sense I can recognize the Quebeqois call for “distinct society” status in some ways. I’d much rather sing my own provincial anthem (it was our national anthem) than Oh Canada,because it means more to me.

That all being said, I pay my taxes, I vote in Federal elections, and I continue to “almost” believe in Canada. Which, I think, is pretty average for Canadians. Oh and I make cheap Canuck jokes, to avoid the topic drifting to cheap “Stupid Newfie” jokes.

I imagine a Quebecer would have something very different to say aout this topic. All the power to him/her. And a person from Ontario might not react much at all… they’re very timid and domesticated, those Ontario-ians.

TIC, and regards,

Jai Pey

I’m disgusted beyond the realms of civil discourse. I’d heard about it. Mike Harris, this complete fascist, is the premier of Ontario, and he’s trying to force school uniforms and pledges of allegiance on Ontario. It’s the same thing with everything he’s done; he treats his elections as referenda on everything he can think of to do, and thinks if he gets a majority it’s the mandate of heaven.

He’s also cut public education and public schools to the bone, given tax breaks to the wealthy, slashed welfare payments while at the same time making panhandling and squeegeeing illegal (!), and basically done his best to make me relieved I live in Quebec.

Whew … Good thing I live in the good old U. S. of A., where we never have to worry about our school children being forced to recite a pledge of allegiance. :rolleyes:

I think this is all perfectly fascinating. Unrest and discontent up on the continent’s third floor. Here’s the entire article, FWIW–the website wouldn’t give me an URL for the article itself. [Note from David B: Please don’t post entire articles, as they pose possible copyright problems. I am editing the article, below.]

Born and bred American citizen speaking here–this sounds to me like “putting prayer back in the schools”, in the hopes that it will somehow improve the national “character”. One senses that there’s more going on here than got into the article. Is this meant to be punitive somehow? Is it in reaction to the Columbine shootings or something? The article says it’s…

Disciplining whom? Students? Teachers? Civil libertarians? The mayor of Ottawa?

The substance of the objection to it seems to be that “the kids wouldn’t really mean it.” I think this goes along with the way the word “oath” keeps coming into the article. I’ve never heard anybody use the word “oath” to refer to the American pledge. It’s just understood that of course schoolchildren are going to parrot it by rote, not really understanding what it means.

This reminds me a lot of the occasional Sunday School teacher you run into who complains that kids pray the Lord’s Prayer “without really meaning it–they just rattle it off at that point in the service without really UNDERSTANDING it.” I never know what to say to this teacher. She seems to want a sort of dramatic reading of the thing, but of course, if you’re going to include it regularly in the service, that’s difficult to keep up.

I also see a lot of mentions of “citizenship”, as though the speaker believes that reciting the Pledge means you are reaffirming your citizenship oath.

Having a little trouble with uppity immigrants, are you? :smiley:

There are students who are “embarrassed” by this? I express my surprise. I wasn’t aware of this phenomenon. Or is he just talking through his hat, for the benefit of the press?

And who exactly IS the Monarchist League? Fringe troublemakers, or backbone of Parliament?

I’d like to underline that this is only in Ontario, the home (as I said) of the person who is probably the most powerful fascist in Canada besides Conrad Black.

Well, that’s one of the things I found interesting about it, since my experience is that non-Americans tend to be baffled by, and critical of, the daily recital of the Pledge.

I would, however, like to point out here that the US Supreme Court has long since ruled that public schools can NOT punish students who refuse to say the Pledge (though I’m sure that hasn’t stopped some schools trying). If these stories are accurate, Ontarian students will have no such protection.

I’m a bit confused. By “Queen of Canada”, do they really mean “Queen of England”?

I remember the good old days of reciting the Pledge, hand over heart, looking at the flag. Okay, looking at the flag, then the clock, then Lori Anders (cutest first grader ever!) and then my shoes… My mouth worked fine, but was on autopilot. I never really thought about what I was saying, and I don’t believe the Pledge ever molded my character or changed my ideals in any way. It was just something they made me do in school, like lining up in alphabetical order to go to lunch.

Years later, upon mulling over the words of the Pledge, I can’t say that I felt any particular connection to them. I had invested them with no sort of personal commitment. To my mind, this is all showmanship, a way of displaying how we’re all such good little troopers. As a youngster it was a meaningless ritual to be endured, and if forced upon older children, a promise extracted under threat. I don’t believe too many folks would take a promise seriously that they were forced to give.

Queen Elizabeth II, in addition to being queen of England, is also the queen of Canada. She is represented by the Governor-General, currently the charming and graceful Adrienne Clarkson, and by the lieutenant-governors of the provinces and territories.

In addition to being Queen of Canada, Lizzie is Queen of a whole mess of other Commonwealth Realms.

Straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak,

I never even knew that there was a “pledge of allegiance” for the queen. I never would have said it.
Anyway, screw the queen. What has she done for Canada lately?

Ptahlis wrote:

Neither did I – but there was one section of the Pledge I didn’t like having to recite in Elementary and Jr. High School, to the extent that I would shut my voice down for one syllable to avoid having to pronounce it.

Namely, I avoided the phrase “under God.”

And not just because I didn’t “believe in God.” The very WORD “God” had an icky sound to it. It conjured up an image of a wrinkled, curmudgeony old man in a white robe with a runny nose. I only ever heard the word used by self-righteous jerks who said things like, “Oooooh, if you’re not baptised, you’re goin’ to hell!” I was really relieved when, in a Porky Pig cartoon filmed during World War 2, I heard Porky recite the pledge of allegiance without the words “under God” in it.

I’ve gone to Catholic schools my whole life every day we would stand and say the Lord’s Prayer. Now its just something I do by rote. (I no longer consider myself Christian or Catholic though I do believe in a ‘greater being’) One time I went to a private school and every day we would stand in Chapel and we would say the Our Father, sing O Canada and say the Pledge to the flag and the Queen.

Now I can’t even remember the words to the pledges (and that was 4 years ago about not all that long ago). They didn’t change my outlook on anything. This isn’t going to stop anything like Taber (Canada’s Columbine) from happening in Ontario no more then the Ten Commandments in the schools (the great debate happening in the States now.)

I can understand that their trying but this will probably annoy the kids more then anything. (At least those that won’t be starting school when this is implemented. Those in the higher grades will be annoyed and protest and stuff. The Grade 12 students though will probably just put up with it until they grad)

Most Canadians as it stands now go their whole lives without pledging loyalty to the Queen. The only times I know of where you do it are if you become a Canadian citizen and if you take public office, and presumably if you join the Military. Oh, and Boy Scouts.

As of circa 15 years ago, you had to take an oath of allegiance to HM the Queen (and her heirs and successors) when you joined the federal civil service. I don’t think it’s done now…but it’s been so long since we’ve hired anyone new in Parks Canada (about 48% of FT staff positions across Canada eliminated between 1989 and '97) that I can’t be sure!

I think that a pledge of allegiance and related foofaraw as suggested by the Ontario Minister of Ignorance is absurd, unCanadian, and just plain silly.

For all the gun-toting folks who sit back and ponder the ol’ 2nd Amendment from time to time… I assume Canada has a recognizable monarchy for a similar line of reasoning. Should our government go corrupt, she (or her heirs) are responsible to us to provide government, with the goal being eventual return to a constitutional system as outlined (i’m assuming) by the Magna Carta or **British North America Act **.

In the case of high courts and commissions into abuse of power, bankruptcy, etc, (all issues near and dear to our hearts, Adam) a royal commission is appointed, and rightfully so… it gives a certain level of objectivity that would not be achievable should canadian’s do it on their own. For goodness sakes, we haven’t had a government in 40 years who’ve avoided charges of conflicting interests… or criticisms on goverment patronal obligations.

That being said, I’m no great admirer of Canada, even as a canadian. And I must say, this outpouring of anti-royalist sentiment I’d expect from the Australians in the room… but not the canadians. What, you folks being oppressed or something??

“When silvern voices tune thy rills, we love thee wind-swept land.” - Ode to Newfoundland

jai Pey

Not surprising, since the phrase “under God” was not added to the Pledge until the Eisenhower administration. This addition was mainly the result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, by the way!

  • Rick

For those who would like to know, the above is “a quick glance at how government in Canada works.” The Queen is pretty much a figurehead.

Domesticated? What am I, a housekatt? :slight_smile: