The Canadian province of Quebec has passed a law making it optional for members of the local parliament to swear allegiance to King Charles III.
The bill was introduced when three parliamentarians refused to swear allegiance to Charles after he was declared king.
In October, Canadian federal parliamentarians voted overwhelmingly against severing ties with the British crown.
In Canada, Quebec is the most supportive of the idea of abolishing the constitutional monarchy.
The bill was introduced on Tuesday by Quebec Prime Minister François Legault.
In October, after the county held an election, 14 politicians refused to swear allegiance to King Charles. After being told that they could not sit in the Legislative Council without doing so, 11 of them backed out.
But three lawmakers have not, and have been banned from entering the National Assembly since late November, pending the introduction of a bill in this regard.
In Quebec, members of the legislature were required to take two oaths, to both the people of Quebec and the British Crown. The latter has long been controversial.
The new provincial law amends legislation dating back to 1867, by adding a clause exempting Quebecers from their oath of allegiance to the king. The Oath of Allegiance is a requirement for all members of local legislatures across Canada.
“I think it’s a relic,” Gabriel Nadeau-Dupois, a co-spokesperson for the Quebec Solidere party, said in early December of the oath of allegiance to King Charles.
He added, “I think there is strong support in Quebec to modernize our institutions, to make sure that in 2022 the representatives of the people will not be forced to swear an oath to a foreign monarch.”
Constitutional scholar Philippe Lagasse told the BBC in an email that Quebec does not have the power to amend the constitution through a bill alone.
He said such a change would either need the support of seven provinces, which together account for more than 50 percent of Canada’s population, or the federal Parliament would have to agree with Quebec to allow the change in Quebec alone.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can challenge this new law in court.
Canada considers whoever sits on the throne of Britain as the head of state. But the monarchy’s role is mainly symbolic, with the Canadian government holding power.
Opinion polls indicate that Canada as a whole remains divided on the monarchy. In an Ipsos poll conducted after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, half of Canadian respondents – about 54 percent – said their country should sever ties with the crown.
A large majority, about 79 percent, of Quebecers support this trend.