Following a unique decision in Hearst this week, the province is working on a solution.

After would be councillor Gaetan Baillargeon decided not to take the oath while being sworn in Monday evening, he reluctantly was forced to give up his seat on town council.

Baillargeon says that his views on the relationship between Indigenous Canada and the Crown are clear, he sees the Queen as a representation of the residential school system and previous broken treaties.

He says he instead would like to pledge allegiance to Canada and its laws, to the province of Ontario and to his township and the people of Hearst, making it clear, he did  not want or wish to give up his seat in anyway.

Tuesday evening Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark said there are no exceptions to the requirement to take the declaration prior to taking a seat as councillor. Even stating that this is established provincially and no local authority can change this.

Baillargeon says he was told to accept the outcome by some, but he says that’s not way to set an example.

“Alot of people told me why don’t you cross your fingers, or why don’t you just swallow your pill, if that is the way we are going to run politics, then we are going to call all politicians liars. That is not what I want people to see. I have integrity and I am a man of my word and I want change, and if I can’t do change then why am I trying to be a politician.”

Baillargeon though has been reached out to by Mushkegowuk-James Bay MPP Guy Bourgouin, who has told him he will stand for his fight at Queen’s Park.

“As soon as the news came out and started going kind of viral Guy Bourgouin reached out to me and we started talking and he said I understand what you are going through Gaetan, I need to help you, and if you don’t mind can I go speak on your behalf. And I said you know what Guy that’s all I want is somebody to go speak on my behalf.”

He says he received a call from Bourgouin today around 1:00pm alerting him of some good news that things are moving along in regards to changing the wording when pledging his allegiance.

Baillargeon says if all goes well others will have the choice going forward long after him.


Full In-Depth Interview with Gaetan Baillargeon on MooseFM: