It seems some new Canadians are having crises of conscience with the Canadian Citizenship Oath. The oath reads, "I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen."
The problem lies with the Queen bit. None of the dissenters has objected to swearing to faithfully obey our laws and duties—quite the contrary, they look forward to enjoying their rights and responsibilities as Canadians—but swearing fealty to a monarch, particularly a foreign one, they find offensive. So do I for that matter, but fortunately I don't have to take the oath.
A website has been set up that lists a number of dissenters along with some quite intriguing quotes explaining their views.
In addition to the Queen's intrusion on Canadian citizenship, God's presence can be equally tiresome. Our national anthem, quite aside from misogynistically demanding patriotic love only from men, begs God to "keep our land glorious and free." That, it seems to me, is our responsibility, not some mythical being's.
Not that any of this stuff need mean anything. It's essentially just symbolic. New Canadians can take the oath and then disavow the Queen bit. I personally, like many other Canadians, simply never sing the anthem. The Charter intro is a bit more problematic; nonetheless, the instrument guarantees freedom of speech, so you are free to express the view that its introduction is half nonsense.
Nevertheless this kind of language is exclusive. It suggests that if you believe a head of state should be elected, or at least chosen on merit, and if you don't believe in a god, both widely held and perfectly respectable beliefs, then you aren't one of the club, you're not quite Canadian.
It is possible of course to write what are intended to be inclusive instruments in inclusive language. Someday, perhaps, someone will do that and we will no longer have to pretend we are all monarchists and believers.