Thursday, 3 August 2017

Who is a Canadian?

Citizenship is the status  or position of a person being a legal member of a sovereign state.  You are a citizen either by birth or by application. Each country has different rules, but in the end, in my view, it is not a right, it is a privilege which should be cherished and respected. So why is Canada so enamoured with dual citizenship, and how citizenship laws are applied?

 To be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship, a person must fulfill a number of requirements. Currently the conditions include the following: Permanent resident status, time you have lived in Canada, tax filing and language abilities. You may not be eligible, for a certain period of time, if you have committed a crime in or outside of Canada

Governments of different ilk have over the years defined and changed the Citizenship Act to suit their political agenda. In 2008, The Conservatives have placed more emphasis on Canada’s diversity values, and past history. In 2017 Liberals are changing the laws but they have yet issued their views of what really defines a Canadian.  As C.P Champion writes in the National Post:  “The citizenship guide must do more than reproduce bon mots. It needs to explain why: Why is Canada a successful society, why do we enjoy “ordered liberty,” and why do we have “unity in diversity”

While we wait to see what the Liberal citizenship test study guide, there are some concerns as to how current laws are being applied in different cases where Canadian citizenship can be revoked.

For example Helmut Oberlander, 93, of Waterloo, Ont., accused of hiding or lying about his past service with a Nazi death squad prior to becoming a Canadian citizen in 1960, has had his Canadian citizenship stripped four times, and yet he is still in the country and challenging the order.

Under Trudeau’s Bill C-6, Canadian judges no longer have the ability to strip citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism. Zakaria Amara the leader of the so-called Toronto 18, who planned al-Qaeda inspired terrorist attacks on The Toronto Stock Exchange, The CBC and a siege on Parliament Hill, is now protected from losing his citizenship.

Trudeau believes that: “revocation of citizenship can and should happen in situations of becoming a Canadian citizen on false pretences. Furthermore he also stated that: “Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian”—even if that “Canadian” is a foreign-born agent convicted of terrorism—was never clear, and that stripping citizenship from foreign-born terrorists amounted to “two-tiered citizenship,” and yet, somehow revocation for lying or covering up war crimes was justifiable. Under Trudeau’s idiotic logic, because the government would have lost a legal case, we also paid $10.6 million to a convicted terrorist, who happens to be a Canadian citizen.
All these government decisions regarding citizenship brings forth the other argument: Should we allow dual citizenship? If we  are  willing to strip Canadian  citizenship from a former Nazis, what about those people who have dual citizenship and use Canadian passports to protect themselves and then commit acts of terrorism against Canada and its allies. Should they be deprived of their Canadian citizenship and sent back to their other country of citizenship? In the eyes of the current government why is there  a difference made between a former Nazi and a convicted terrorist?
In my opinion, dual citizenship in this era of terrorism is no longer a viable proposal. One should hold a citizenship of choice and swear allegiance to only one state. We can no longer protect people who have allegiances with other states. With, many refugees being accepted and granted citizenship in a very short period, we run the risk of having more dual citizenship Canadians. This does not bode well if many of these refugees decide to go back to their country of origin after being granted Canadian citizenship. Years ago many Lebanese were given Canadian citizenship and after being eligible to collect Canadian benefits they returned to Lebanon, to once again face a war. As a result Canadian taxpayers were forced to spend millions to re-patriate those with a Canadian citizenship. I have no doubt that this situation may once again happen with Syrian refugees.
While citizenship cannot be denied to a Canadian born in this country, it would be wise to start rethinking the policies of granting citizenship to immigrants and refugees who would want to keep their other citizenships By the same token should our elected officials be allowed to have dual citizenship?  Other countries like Australia and now Pakistan do not allow dual citizens to hold government office. In Canada we have Mulcair and Dion as examples of dual citizens holding office.
 As an immigrant I renounced all my citizenship ties with my country of origin. I was given a Canadian citizenship and I am extremely proud of it.  In my view it is a privilege and not a right for an immigrant to become a Canadian, therefore you should become a Canadian and nothing else.  A Canadian is a Canadian but not a half-Canadian. Isn’t it time for our government to demand that if you become a Canadian that you renounce your previous citizenship? The only good thing about dual citizenship is that the government can choose to return the perpetrator of a crime to his country of origin – that is if the government has the resolve to do so.