Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Sol Mamakwa, the sole Indigenous MPP in Ontario, is questioning the pledge to the Queen required when each MPP is sworn in at Queen’s Park.
Almost all 124 MPPs were sworn into the Legislative Assembly on Thursday ahead of the Premier and his cabinet ministers.
Mamakwa held an eagle feather as he said his vow and spoke in his language, Oji Cree, as well, as he was sworn in for his second term under the NDP umbrella.
“It means a lot to me to be able to do that, to speak my language and pledging to the people that I serve, not just First Nations but riding of Kiiwetinoong and also to honour and uphold the treaties across the province of Ontario,” said Mamakwa.
Mamakwa also pledged his allegiance to the Queen, something that’s required of all MPPs when they take their vows.
The night before, he took to Twitter to question the practice. “I have to pledge allegiance to the Royal Family to become a Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario. It’s so colonial. What would you do if you were Anishnabe?” read his tweet.
I have to pledge allegiance to the @RoyalFamily to become a Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario. It’s so colonial.
What would you do if you were Anishnabe?
— Sol Mamakwa (@solmamakwa) June 22, 2022
“It was hard. It’s the process. It’s the law. Without doing it, I wouldn’t be an MPP if I didn’t say those words,” said Mamakwa.
“I question it because I see how First Nations people are treated. I saw even during the campaign when you see children with skin conditions because of a lack of access to clean drinking water. I see it.”
Pledging to the Queen is unnecessary for a municipal setting, and some other provinces, including Alberta, have removed the requirement.
Mamakwa said he would look into it over his next four years at Queen’s Park.
“That’s something that we should be able to see here for Members of Provincial Parliament here in Ontario.”
“As a First Nations person, that’s something that we will want to change, and that’s something I will fight for to be changed,” said Mamakwa.