In the article below the new Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, is reported as indicating that his government will be repealing at least part of the previous government’s citizenship law that enabled the federal government to revoke citizenship of people engaged in violence overseas in circumstances where they held dual citizenship. (Interestingly, this rule has also been adopted by several other countries including the U.K. and Australia as a means of combating the outflow of people joining the ranks of ISIS.) The article also goes on to indicate that the current federal government will be targeting a growing number of refugees to come to Canada this year to as many as 50,000.

In regard to taking aim at the old citizenship law passed by the previous Conservative government, that is a noble goal. Most, if not all of that law, Bill C-24, merits deletion from Canadian jurisprudence. In addition to deleting the provision regarding revocation of citizenship, a primitive practice in a civilized society precisely for the reason advanced by the Liberal government ie. that a citizen is a citizen – period, the bill also unnecessarily brought in longer wait times to become citizens. All that needs to be deleted.

As regards bringing in more refugees, it is a fact that no matter how many refugees Canada accepts it is a mere drop in the ocean of the 50 million refugees worldwide looking for new homes. I have argued elsewhere that the approach to be taken should be one of helping displaced persons, as opposed to refugees, and in the form adopted by Canada in bringing displaced persons to Canada at the end of World War II. That program involved sponsorship by Canadians and a pay-back by those who were sponsored. But even adopting such a program does not justify bringing in so many refugees in such a short period of time. It is a fact that even if Canada achieves its goal of 50,000 by year end, this will hardly relieve the burden or do much to help the world crisis in that regard. It would be better to adopt a more organized and well thought out program than to rush in 50,000 refugees at a time where financially and logistically Canada is straining to accept half that number as it is.More importantly, Canada needs to engage in the effort to find a solution to the larger challenge of displaced people seeking homes worldwide – a mission that should start by addressing the conditions of people living in the 50 refugee camps currently holding the vast majority of the refugees. An aggressive strategy of ameliorating the conditions in those camps and making them livable, including providing for basic health care, education and institutions of civil society would be far more useful an effort than herding people into Canada for the sake of meeting some goal by the end of the year.


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