Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The New Citizenship Act

Monty Solberg, our new Citizenship and Immigration Minister from Medicine Hat (a place that is almost devoid of immigrants - only 98 foreign students as of 2004, compared to 32,908 from Toronto alone) was recently asked about a plan to revise the Citizenship Act (something the Conservatives supported previously). Peter Worthington of the Toronto Sun (a 'right'-leaning writer who I would hardly claim to be Liberal-biased) comments, "Solberg seemed a bit out of his depth".

One of the factors of the issue was the following:

Naturalized Canadians are somehow "secondary Canadians" because their citizenship can be revoked by a secret cabinet committee and they can be deported without getting a fair trial, as guaranteed under the Charter of Rights. The new Citizenship Act would have removed that clause, taking the powers away from the Cabinet and granting them to a judge (a non-partisan). As Waterloo-Kitchener Liberal MP Andrew Telegdi, former chair of the committee, mentioned, the Citizenship Act has been on the order paper for years and was adopted unanimously by the House of Commons last fall.

And what does Solberg now claim? That there is no consensus across the country on them. That is blatantly unjust, in my opinion.

"Judging from presentations heard coast to coast," Telegdi had replied [I am quoting the Sun column], "and in all my years in Parliament, I have never (seen) anything closer to a virtual unanimous consensus."

The only groups opposing the Act are a few associations that want to punish some Nazi collaborators who are now here, as citizens, having lied on their application to Canada some 50 years ago. They want those guys (some are allegedly mere camp guards or conscripts and are now over 80 years old) to be instantly deported from Canada without a trial. Well, just because some citizens may have lied on their application form 50 years ago is no reason to deny NEW Canadians their basic rights as Canadians, in my opinion.

Support the new Citizenship Act, Mr. Solberg.



HearHere said...

In Medicine Hat there are so many immigrants per capita that there are 36 different languages spoken in the largest employer which is a packing plant. Tbey have a large number of Sudanese refugees as well.
You think immigration figures can only be determined by the student population?

kris said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kris said...

Both of your stats are faulty. Immigrants per capita is a ratio, the number of languages spoken has nothing to do with this ratio. I could have a town of all immigrants speaking the same language, or a town with only 36 immigrants each speaking a different language.

The problem with Solberg is that he is not from a cosmopolitan area, has no significant education, and is just another old white guy in Harper's cabinet (and party!)

mezba said...

Hearhere: The point is that Medicine Hat has hardly a strong immigrant presence, Solberg is not a man living amongst immigrants who would know their issue. The minister should have been someone from Ontario, Quebec or BC, preferably from one of the big cities.

And on the topic of the post, why should Solberg refuse to pass the new Citizenship Act?