Open main menu

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 with a head of state who would either be chosen through a general election or elected by the Parliament of Canada.[1][2]

Citizens for a Canadian Republic
Citizens for a Canadian Republic.png
FocusCanadian Republicanism
Key people
Tom Freda, National Director Pierre L. J. Vincent, Associate Director

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. CanadaEdit

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 AllegianceEdit

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 publicized three-year legal battle involving the Government of Canada's Public Service Commission.[12]

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 Government of Canada 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,[13][14] but has since been dismissed by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.[15]

Organization and structureEdit

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.[16]

International affiliationsEdit

CCR is a member of Common Cause, an alliance of Commonwealth republican movements[17] that seek to change their countries' status as Commonwealth realms to Commonwealth republics.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Patmore, Glenn, "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. ^ Cross, William (2007). Democratic Reform in New Brunswick. Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press. p. 217. ISBN 1-55130-326-4.
  3. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions: What republican system should Canada use as a model?". Citizens for a Canadian Republic. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
  4. ^ "Citizens for a Canadian Republic / Goals". Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  5. ^ Anderson, Laura. "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" (PDF).
  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 Archived November 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Hyung Gu Lynn. Bipolar Orders: The Two Koreas Since 1989. London: Zed Books, 2007, p.10. ISBN 1-84277-743-2
  9. ^ Humphreys, Adrian (September 25, 2002). "Anti-monarchy group joins Catholic's fight: Citizens for a republic: Lawsuit challenges act limiting succession to Protestant line". National Post.
  10. ^ O'Neill, Juliet (October 2, 2002). "The fight for the Republic of Canada". The Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on August 8, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  11. ^ O’Donohue v. Canada, 2003 CanLII 41404 (ON S.C.) Archived June 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Missing title". CBC News.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Lawyer allowed to challenge citizenship oath". CBC News. May 18, 2007.
  14. ^ Gombu, Phinjo (May 18, 2007). "Lawyer cleared to challenge loyalty oath to the Queen". Toronto Star.
  15. ^ "Roach v. Canada, 2008 ONCA 124". CanLII.
  16. ^ "Citizens for a Canadian Republic / Local Chapters". Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  17. ^ 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 linksEdit