Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration hearings
on Bill C-18, the proposed Citizenship of Canada Act
[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Jerry Pickard (Chatham—Kent Essex, Lib.)): May I first of all say to all of you, thank you very much for coming and bringing your thoughts and concerns with regard to the legislation we're dealing with.
Ms. Sylvia Parris (President, Multicultural Association of Nova Scotia):
As an African Nova Scotian woman whose grandfather came here in the late 1800s and whose father was a member of the No. 2 Construction Battalion, a black battalion, I come with a legacy of family heritage rooted in Nova Scotia. Even though my family's coming here was due to forced immigration, they were indeed immigrants.
The bill indicates a leaning towards categorizing who is worthy to remain Canadian. Just as the immigrant Canadian -- which is everyone except the aboriginal person, and I refer to those who are here for generations in that comment -- is Canadian no matter what he or she does, those who become Canadians should be confident that they can remain so. The person who is charged with any of the crimes pointed out in the bill should be dealt with in the same way as we treat the “Canadians” who existed prior to Bill C-18.
Clauses 16 and 17, which speak to the revocation of citizenship, should be reconsidered and allow a requirement for an adherence to technical and legal rules of evidence. As well, the lack of access to appeal processes should be reconsidered. Along with being firm when addressing false representations, practices must be in place to assist with attainment of necessary documents. As well, instruments need to be in place to assist with highlighting alternatives to data and information gathering.
It will be interesting to clearly articulate the “values” that are alluded to in clause 28 and to bring ways of measuring and weighing these values. Certainly, citizenship commissioners will need to be able to do so.
Ms. Sylvia Parris: We are still speaking in terms of what we saw was a need to keep the same standards. We're talking about someone who's become a Canadian. They've gone right through all of the process. So for now, it's a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.
So in terms of a response to someone who has been a Canadian for a number of generations, I guess we're suggesting that the same, then, would be applied to a person who has recently become a Canadian. So trying to say that we use our court system, the judicial system, in a way that we would for that other Canadian is really the part that we want to try to speak to, because as people are coming up to attaining the citizenship, it seems to me there are some other checks and balances in place to address that individual who has legal issues, who commits a crime, or whatever.
The part we chose to focus on was that once you're a Canadian.... It counteracts an interpretation of it that we have classes of Canadians or categories of Canadians rather than that you are a Canadian once you've been given that privilege.