Letter to Editor 1


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Letter to the Editor,

Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s poor administration of the citizenship process is arbitrarily withholding voting rights to tens of thousands of qualified, tax-paying, long-time residents. We deserve a fair and timely path to citizenship. The citizenship backlog is at a record high of 344,516 cases. This includes tens of thousands who have been given the demanding Residence Questionnaire (RQ) as part of Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney’s “anti-fraud” efforts. The RQ is given with no explanation or forewarning to approximately 20% of citizenship applicants. The CIC estimates that the RQ extends a recipient’s citizenship timeline by one to four years. While the CIC has the right to verify the integrity of citizenship applications, they also have a responsibility to administer the grant of citizenship in a fair and timely manner.

Residence Questionnaires provide no indication of what deficiencies or falsehoods citizenship officials suspect. Applicants are asked to disprove the unspecified suspicions of unspecified officials within 45 business days and then left to wait years for any response. This lack of transparency does not engender confidence in the process but instead suggests that it could be arbitrary and vulnerable to prejudice.

By increasing the frequency of the RQ without allocating the resources to process them, former Minister of Citizenship Jason Kenney decided to increase the wait times, increase the backlog and delay the grant of citizenship to tens of thousands of qualified, tax-paying applicants. Despite receiving record numbers of applications, the CIC approved far fewer citizenship applications in 2012 than at any time in the last five years.

The growing backlog of citizenship applications leaves us vulnerable to a mass “wipe-out” of in-process applications. In March 2012 MP Kenney arbitrarily eliminated almost 98,000 backlogged Federal Skilled Worker applications representing 280,000 individuals who had been in queue for five years or more.

Like the overwhelming majority of RQ recipients, I am not a fraud and I do not deserve to have citizenship withheld from me indefinitely. Canada has long enjoyed a reputation for good governance. This is not strengthened by an opaque and seemingly capricious citizenship process rife with unknown delays. Taxpaying, longtime permanent residents who have built their lives, careers and families here deserve better. Canada deserves better.


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