Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Who's Canadian enough, take two

Okay, once more, with feeling.

What do you call someone who was born in Lebanon, came to Canada as a refugee in the 1970s, adopted Canadian citizenship and built up a successful small business, and then 20 years later decided to expand that business into the now much calmer Lebanon, living part-time in Canada and part-time in Lebanon?

What do you call someone who was born in Canada to Lebanese immigrant parents, married a Lebanese man and moved to Lebanon with him in order to invest in and rebuild that country? Even if she "considers herself Lebanese" as well as Canadian?

What do you call someone born in Canada, who decided to go to university in Lebanon so as to pursue a degree in Middle Eastern Studies with some hands-on experience? Even if he didn't work or pay taxes last year in Canada, or vote in the 2006 election?

If your answer to any of those questions is anything but "a Canadian," you'd better be able to explain why. And you'd better be willing to accept the consequences of that line of reasoning, and support changing our current policies to correspond with it. Because at the moment, we have only one class of Canadian citizenship and one set of rights and responsibilities that go along with that citizenship. At the moment, if you're a Canadian, you don't have to choose between being that and being something else. At the moment, dual citizenship has no influence whatsoever on the rights afforded you as a Canadian. And at the moment, Canadian citizenship grants you the right to live in Canada; it doesn't say that if you fail to take advantage of that right, you will suddenly become less Canadian than those who currently reside somewhere between Victoria and St. John's.


James Bow said...

Hear, here!

Canadian Tar Heel said...

Nice post !

Czar François said...

According to CIC a canadian is somebody who has naturalised to become a citizen or someone who is born here. That is all that should be taken into account when making policies. It may be unfair to those who leave Canada & contribute to other societies or those who live here & pay taxes but have never naturalised; but it is a clear cut definition that takes the responsability out of the government to dabble in the grey if they wish not to.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

czar françois,

The current policy is actually not unfair to those who leave Canada and contribute to other societies, because like you said once someone was born in Canada or has naturalized as a Canadian, that person is a Canadian citizen regardless of where they choose to live and work.

There are those who seem to want to change that policy and demote Canadians who choose to live in other countries to something less. They can certainly support that policy if they want, but it's not the policy we have right now.

Anonymous said...

This seems to tie into the "born Canadian" distinction raised over the proto-terrist wannabees. But it also seem to establish for a lot of people that being born in the country wasn't enough to be Canadian, if bad thoughts were thought.

Where has Ignatieff lived for many years before deciding to run for the party leadership? Gwynne Dyer also must be suspect for citizenship since he's not nestled in Newfoundland 24/7.

Or, is that different somehow?

Anonymous said...

Well said!

For a Yank...


Mark-Alan Whittle said...

And to top it all off your "What makes a Canadian" post was featured as 'The Best of the Blogs, what's hot and on the web' in todays Toronto Sunday Sun, you lucky devil.

Here's the link;

As you say, Canadian is a Canadian, no matter where they started out.

Seems just the new ones are complaining about not having the creature comforts of their adopted home while visiting the one they left, for obvious reasons, how thoughtless of them.

Must have been the indiscriminate shelling from both sides of the equation they endured before Laureen and Stephen Harper rescued then from harm.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


Thanks for letting me in on the secret! I never would have found that.