I’ve got a lot of feelings about this new Citizenship Act, and in general, they’re not good. I don’t like seeing the citizenship and equality rights of newcomers used as a political football. Our rights should not be withheld, delayed and disrespected for the political gain of the ruling party.
Some basic points:
1. This bill is a power grab for the Minister with no accountability in return (the minister will have wide leeway to revoke citizenship. The bill will severely limit access to appeal)
2. If citizenship and accountability are important to this government, they will create a universal maximum processing timeline and a citizenship ombudsman.
4. Citizenship is about equality. This bill creates sub-citizenship for newcomers. (It requires us to promise we don’t ever intend to exercise our Kenney-Ignatieff Charter Mobility Rights, unlike prominent politicians Jason Kenney and Michael Ignatieff, who have both spent years or decades outside of Canada. It repeals the MP Fred Rose Amendment and banishes us from Canada if we commit certain crimes, rather than acknowledging that a Canadian behind bars is still a Canadian.)
5. Citizenship, equality and democracy are important. Citizenship is not strengthened by withholding it from longtime residents, tax payers, coworkers and community members.
6. This bill puts citizenship further out of reach for those who have studied, worked and lived in Canada for years (The bill eliminates accounting for any time spent in Canada as a student, live-in caregiver, pending refugee, temporary worker time, despite how important and formative this time can be in “Canadianizing” newcomers.)
7. This Bill plays politics with equality. It plays politics with voting rights.
8. This Bill sends future immigrants the message that they are not wanted in Canada.