British Columbians Troubled by Birth Tourism, Call for Change

Although a less than reliable online survey, overall concerns among all British Columbia residents, whatever their origins, sounds about right:

Many residents of British Columbia are concerned about the practice of “birth tourism”, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 82% of British Columbians believe “birth tourism” can be unfairly used to gain access to Canada’s education, health care and social programs.

“Birth tourism” is the practice of traveling to a specific country for the purpose of giving birth there and securing citizenship for the child in a country that has birthright citizenship.

Canada allows expectant mothers who are foreign nationals to gain automatic citizenship for their children born in Canada.

There have been reports of unregulated “for profit” businesses that have facilitated the practice of “birth tourism”  in Canada. Across British Columbia, 49% of residents say they have followed this issue “very closely” or “moderately closely” over the past year.

More than three-in-five British Columbians say “birth tourism” can degrade the value of Canadian citizenship (66%) and can displace Canadians from hospitals (63%).

An e-petitionendorsed by Joe Peschisolido, the Member of Parliament for the Steveston—Richmond East constituency, is calling on the federal government to commit public resources to determine the full extent of “birth tourism” across Canada. A considerable majority of British Columbians (85%) agree with this proposal.

Seven-in-ten British Columbians (73%) believe Canada should “definitely” or “probably” consider establishing new guidelines for birthright citizenship, while 18% would keep the existing standards.

“There is no substantial variation on these questions when the ethnicity of respondents is considered,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “We find that 71% of British Columbians of East Asian descent and 75% of those of European descent would like to see some modifications to the current rules for birthright citizenship.”

Source: view the release on our website

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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