C-24 – Citizenship Act Revisions – Committee Hearings Started

Will be interesting to see how these play out. First day was essentially introduction plus some initial positions from the opposition parties:

… NDP opposition critic Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe started off by asking Alexander to address the bill’s constitutionality. Given the Harper government’s record on tests of constitutionality before the Supreme Court recently, the question’s a touchy one.

In particular, she asked whether the new requirement for those applying for Canadian citizenship to declare their intention to reside in Canada post-citizenship — violated sections six and 15 of the Charter — those that protect the right to free mobility and equal protection under the law.

“With regard to our bill and the constitution — of course we reviewed this bill in that context. I carried this out with my colleague the minister of justice and we believe this bill is in complete conformity with the requirements of our constitution,” Alexander answered in French.

“It is reasonable, in our view, to require that a permanent resident wishing to become a Canadian citizen express his or her intention to reside in Canada.”

Liberal critic John McCullum focussed on the impact of no longer providing credit to foreign students for time spent in Canada prior to becoming permanent residents as part of residency qualifications. Minister Alexander restated the government’s position.

This change also affects refugees, arguably not a priority for the Government, and live-in caregivers. The latter, largely Filipinos, may, should the Filipino Canadian community become active on this issue, may be more problematic given that this community is one of the Government’s political target communities.

To be continued, and thanks to iPolitics for covering the hearings.

Citizenship reform bill is constitutional, Alexander assures committee

We’re cleaning up the Liberals’ immigration mess | An Immigration System strangling in red Tape

The duelling narratives on immigration and related policies, starting with Costas Menegakis, parliamentary secretary to CIC Minister Alexander:

In doing so, the Liberals will prove again that they are the party of missed opportunities and the same old group of do-nothing hypocrites who repeatedly slashed immigration levels, settlement funding and resources to tackle long wait times for newcomers. Our Conservative government will take no lessons from them on matters of immigration.

We’re cleaning up the Liberals’ immigration mess | iPolitics.

Followed by John McCullum the Liberal critic for CIC:

At a time when Canada competes with other countries for immigrants and visitors, speed is of the essence. On this score, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his former longtime Immigration minister, Jason Kenney, have failed miserably.

From visitors and skilled immigrants to non-economic immigrants and citizenship candidates, processing times have mushroomed on their watch, typically rising by 50 per cent to 100 per cent or more.

An immigration system strangling in red tape | iPolitics

My sense was that CIC officials largely favoured some of the “supply management” restrictions decided by the government given the backlogs and lengthy processing times, largely unmanageable.