Douglas Todd: 10 ways Ottawa diminishes Canadian citizenship [my comments embedded]

Not all of these are on the same level and have embedded comments. Needless to say, agree on the oath:

Last week, the House of Commons debated the Liberal move to play down the in-person citizenship ceremony and allow more newcomers to become Canadians by the click of a laptop key.

This technological technique for fulfilling a solemn oath is startling to many, even past governor general Adrienne Clarkson, who is long associated with liberal-left values. She is among those saying the ceremony is essential to building healthy pride in Canada.

We shouldn’t, though, be surprised by Ottawa’s latest diminishment of citizenship.

Even while many joke about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2016 musings to the New York Times that Canada is the world’s first “post-national state,” he keeps finding ways to convince the world he actually means it.

Trudeau and his backers often reveal their support for almost an open-border policy, as would fit with someone who believes, as he does, that there truly is ‘‘no core identity, no mainstream in Canada.’’

By his fruits shall you know him. The most recent sign is the 15-percentage point drop, since Trudeau was elected, in new arrivals taking Canada’s oath of citizenship.

More people in the immigration process are not bothering with Canadian passports. They’re hanging in on work or study visas or going no further than permanent resident status, which provides full social services and economic advantages.

Fewer are choosing to take the oath of Canadian citizenship
Fewer are choosing to take the oath of Canadian citizenship

It was announced Thursday that Canada accepted a record one million new immigrants in 2022, the kind of milestone that can bring out Trudeau’s often-confusing rhetoric about pride in being Canadian. But what values does he expect Canadians, native-born and naturalized, to uphold?

As a former immigration department director, Andrew Griffith, notes, one quarter of young adults who immigrated tell pollsters they will probably leave Canada in two years. Like Canadian-born people, they’re frustrated by the cost of living and home ownership, which Liberal policies have worsened.

In addition to the Liberal effort to make optional Canada’s identity-affirming citizenship ceremony, here are nine further developments that, in different ways, undermine the value of citizenship:

Urging non-residents to vote

[Agree, although important to note while the number tripled once the change was implemented, only a total of about 30,000 expatriates voted in 2019 and 2021]

: few did so in One early indicator the Liberals were reducing the meaning of citizenship occurred in 2018, when Bill C-76 allowed any passport holder who doesn’t live in the country to vote federally. While most countries that accept immigrants expect them to maintain a meaningful relationship to their new nation, Senator Linda Frum criticizes the push for non-resident citizens to vote regardless of how long they’ve been away or whether they ever intend to return.

Buying citizenship

[Don’t have the sense that the Quebec program is that active recently.]

The Conservatives in 2014 cancelled the national immigrant investor program, by which rich offshore nationals could, in effect, buy Canadian citizenship. But the Liberals basically allow it to continue, including through provinces’ nominee programs and especially Quebec’s investor scheme, which former Quebec immigration director Anne Michèle Meggs said last year admitted 5,000 multimillionaires.

Foreign nationals can vote for political candidates

[Two schools of thought here, one that it is part of the integration process, the other that it provides more opportunities for foreign interference.]

is ripe for abuseIt’s telling the Liberals and NDP allow not only non-citizens — but non-permanent residents — to become party members and vote in nomination battles. Sources told Global News recently that CSIS investigators alleged international students from China, who are on study visas, were bused in to support one Liberal candidates’ nomination.

Pushing for permanent residents to vote

[Agree, given that Canadian citizenship relatively easy (if costly) to acquire.]

Many Liberal and NDP politicians, as well as Vancouver city council in 2018, have pushed to give permanent residents the privilege to vote in elections, especially municipal. That is arguably the only significant right permanent residents do not have.

Reduced immigration requirements

[Largely just a reversal of Conservative changes in 2014 and reversion to previous requirements.]

The Liberals have lowered the bar for citizenship, by cutting expectations on how much time would-be immigrants need to spend in the country, and by reducing requirements for skills in an official language.

Don’t have to pay foreign-buyers tax

[Haven’t seen evidence of that being a major factor.]

Mortgage brokers are quick to tell newcomers to Canada they only need to be permanent residents to avoid paying provincial and federal taxes on foreign buyers of Canadian land. Immigration specialists say it’s leading to shrinking interest in citizenship.

Dual citizenship remains

[Largely a practical measure, as some countries require immigrants to use their country of origin passport when visiting. The dual citizenship ban of China affects Canadian naturalization more than that of India.]

Ottawa continues to celebrate dual (or multiple) citizenship. Despite few Canadians calling for the policy to be changed, it’s the opposite of China and India, which do not recognize dual citizenship. One reason arrivals from those countries are shunning Canadian citizenship, say specialists, is to avoid giving up their original passports.

Permanent residents can become Canadian soldiers

[This change essentially adopted a long-standing USA policy.]

Last year, says Meggs, the Liberals made it OK for those with only permanent resident status to serve in the Canadian military.

CBC plays down Canadian identity


It should be no surprise that the CBC, the public broadcaster led by Liberal-friendly Catherine Tait, is behind a strange campaign pronouncing: “It’s not about how Canadian you are, it’s about who you are in Canada.”

The slogan sends a “mixed message” about whether to commit to hard-won common Canadian values or to highlight differences, says Meggs. It mostly seems like in-vogue identity politics, which declares the most crucial thing about any Canadian is their gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

While some can claim there are benefits to these 10 actions, it’s more than fair to also question whether they diminish citizenship.

Source: Douglas Todd: 10 ways Ottawa diminishes Canadian citizenship

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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