Half of the New Canadian Cabinet Members Chose to Skip “So Help Me God” in Their Oaths of Office

Yesterday, as new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was sworn in, a lot of attention went to the makeup of his 31-member cabinet. When asked why he felt it was so important to have a gender-balanced cabinet, Trudeau answered very bluntly, “Because it’s 2015.”

That’s a great answer. Also worth noting, though, is that half of his cabinet did not swear in with a religious oath. Instead, they opted to take a Solemn Affirmation that didn’t include any mention of God:

In their oaths of office, they each said: “I, (name), do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear/declare that I will truly and faithfully, and to the best of my skill and knowledge, execute the powers and trusts reposed in me as (cabinet title).”

Individuals had the choice of affirming their oaths, which allowed them to replace the word “swear” with the word “declare” and to omit the expression “So help me God.”

In case you’re wondering, the affirmers included:

  • Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
  • Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General
  • Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board
  • Navdeep Singh Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
  • Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
  • Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
  • Maryann Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
  • Maryam Monsef , Minister of Democratic Institutions
  • Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
  • Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
  • Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
  • Patricia Hajdu, Minister for the Status of Women
  • Hunter Tootoo, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and Canadian Coast Guard
  • Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage
  • Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Meanwhile, we get excited in the U.S. when a member of Congress takes an oath on anything other than the Bible.

Stop showing off, Canada. You’re embarrassing us.

***Update***: Apparently, there was one Minister I missed! I have added Mélanie Joly to the list.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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