Canada’s new vision of citizenship: a privilege in two classes | The Migrationist

Louisa Taylor on the new Citizenship Act, starting off with a reminder just how moving citizenship ceremonies are to all who attend, criticizing the fundamental change in philosophy in differential treatment for single and dual nationals, and lamenting the lack of public debate.

Once we have a number of court cases and decisions, expect debate will pick up as the recent refugee claimant healthcare ruling illustrates:

There was no shortage of informed critique of the legislation, but the issue failed to catch fire with the general public. One migration advocate said privately last week she and her allies were shocked that the issue failed to move Canadians. It affected each one of us, after all, and a national survey in 2012 found that most of us – naturalized and citizens by birth alike – felt existing citizenship provisions were good enough. But to become bigger, the issue would have had to resonate not just with the quarter of Canadians who were born outside the country, but with the so-called “Canadian mainstream” of citizens by birth – exactly the people most likely to rarely think about citizenship at all.

The law will be in force soon, but the bitter aftertaste remains. Thousands more new Canadians will swear loyalty to the Queen this year, knowing – for better or for worse – their new home has put clear boundaries on their citizenship. Is that how we build a stronger sense of belonging?

Canada’s new vision of citizenship: a privilege in two classes | The Migrationist.

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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