Honourable Discharge

Honourable Discharge

Realizing as I do that the very mention of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada fairly shouts at even the most curious reader “Avert your eyes!” I have to ask: How is it that the Honourable Conrad Black P.C. can renounce his citizenship in Canada, yet remain a member of a body that requires the following oath in order for prospective members to assume their duties:

I, __________, do solemnly and sincerely swear (declare) that I shall be a true and faithful servant to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, as a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council for Canada. I will in all things to be treated, debated and resolved in Privy Council, faithfully, honestly and truly declare my mind and my opinion. I shall keep secret all matters committed and revealed to me in this capacity, or that shall be secretly treated of in Council. Generally, in all things I shall do as a faithful and true servant ought to do for Her Majesty. So help me God.

Now, would it not make sense that, in the event that a member renounces his/her citizenship, said member should be given the boot, at least until he/she has reaffirmed his/her patriotic oath? It’s not like the powers that be don’t have the leverage to revoke a membership if the situation warrants. The British North America Act, 1867 (later renamed the Constitution Act, 1867), provides in Section 11:

There shall be a Council to aid and advise in the Government of Canada, to be styled the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada; and the Persons who are to be Members of that Council shall be from Time to Time chosen and summoned by the Governor General and sworn in as Privy Councillors, and Members thereof may be from Time to Time removed by the Governor General.

I suggest all this notwithstanding my recognition that the Queen’s Privy Council is about as useful as tits on a bull, its only duties, as far as I can tell, being to proclaim the accession of a new sovereign and to give consent to royal marriages. Neither of these, it seems to me, allow for serious brainstem deliberation beyond deciding where to take tea once the council has raised hands in unison and said “aye.”

Still, my original question remains. Over to you, Canadian constitutional experts. My eyes and ears are wide open.