Eastern Ontario town dodges vote on nixing oath to king

Town council in Prescott, Ont., sidestepped discussion on whether it supported scrapping the oath to King Charles III Monday when nobody seconded the contentious motion.

Nobody seconded a councillor's motion to debate asking for change

The exterior of a municipal building.
Town hall in Prescott, Ont., earlier this month. The community south of Ottawa won't be asking the province to change the oath of office for elected officials. (Rosalie Sinclair/Radio-Canada)

Town council in Prescott, Ont., didn't even debate a motion to call on the Ontario government to scrap the oath of allegiance to King Charles III currently required of elected officials, let alone vote on it.

The motion, brought forward by Coun. Lee McConnell, failed to receive a seconder during the council meeting Monday evening.

"In four terms I've been on council, I have never encountered a council disrespect another member of council by somebody not seconding a motion such as this," McConnell said.

"To not give the opportunity to a member of council who obviously has put a lot of thought into it, to talk about something that is very important to him, shows, in my opinion and in my experience, a considerable lack of respect for that person."

McConnell previously told CBC he believed there would be no problem getting a seconder for the motion.

"The feedback that I had from my constituents, or residents, was not to support your motion," said Coun. Justin Kirkby. "There's no disrespect."

McConnell said he believed another councillor should have seconded the motion anyway, whether they intended to vote for it or not.

"It is a disrespect," he said. "And I'll remember it."

A room with  multiple photographs hanging on the wall.
A photograph of Queen Elizabeth II hangs in Prescott's town hall. (Rosalie Sinclair/Radio-Canada)

Had the motion passed, it would have required the town about 90 kilometres south of Ottawa to call on Ontario to amend the Municipal Act: either removing the oath or making it optional.

Ontario's current declaration of office includes the statement "I will be faithful and bear true allegiances to His Majesty King Charles the Third."

McConnell's motion had referenced the Quebec government's passage of its own bill in December, which made the same oath optional for members of its National Assembly.


  • A previous version of this story misspelled Coun. Justin Kirkby's last name.
    Feb 28, 2023 7:48 AM ET