Citizenship: Finding the Right Balance – New Canadian Media

My overall assessment of the proposed changes to the Citizenship Act, with the conclusion being:

The challenge for all governments is how to balance citizenship as a “place,” assuming citizens remain in their country of immigration, and citizenship as a “status,” a more instrumental view of citizenship as a means to secure employment and other rights.

It is hard for any government to craft options that address the diverse needs of people applying for citizenship. Immigrants who choose Canada for economic reasons may have a more instrumental view of citizenship. Providing them with greater flexibility, and encouraging them to choose Canada, without weakening the meaning of citizenship, or providing additional opportunities for citizens of convenience, will always be a challenge. With the longer residency requirements and “intent to reside” provision, Mr. Alexander may be reducing the attractiveness to the more highly skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants.

Mr. Alexander has come down firmly on the side of citizenship as “place.” The emphasis on integrity and streamlined business processes is understandable, with the possible exception of differential treatment of Canadian citizens and dual nationals in revocation. His inattention to fairness issues and citizenship promotion is regrettable. However, taken together, Mr. Alexander’s proposed changes remain largely within the Canadian context of encouraging immigrants to become citizens, and remaining competitive with other countries.

Citizenship: Finding the Right Balance – New Canadian Media – NCM.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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