Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration hearings
on Bill C-18, the proposed Citizenship of Canada Act
The Chair (Mr. Joe Fontana (London North Centre, Lib.)): Colleagues, now that we're finally all here, we can commence.
I have just a couple of housekeeping matters. You have before you the new package of amendments, which I believe includes six additional amendments by Libby of the NDP.
Just to pick up where we left off, because I know there might have been some confusion as to exactly what's been done and what hasn't, we're on clause 3 -- even though there were some motions on clause 2, which we stood on the basis that it is the interpretative clause, and so and so forth. We'll probably do those motions at the end, because with changes in definitions, you never know, and so on and so forth.
(On clause 3—Purpose)
The Chair: For your recollection, we have passed a couple of things on clause 3. Amendment NPD-3 has been adopted, subject I think to a technical change we may need. Amendment BQ-2 was defeated, and amendment L-1 has been adopted -- but not formally.
What I'd like to do is go to amendment G-1A, which essentially replaces amendment G-1.
Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ): Mr. Chairman, before we begin, I would like to say something to my colleagues.
In view of the importance of what we are doing in adopting the clauses of the bill, I would ask that in the future, the amendments be distributed to committee members as soon as the clerk receives them.
I would be very grateful if that could be done.
The Chair: I would agree, Madeleine. You're right. I know the amendments have been coming fast and furious, especially from the government side. That's why I think there was some confusion as to which amendments replaced other amendments. That's why we had some confusion the last time.
I would agree with you. So I'll make sure -- and I know Bill is listening very intently -- that if amendments are coming, they will be sent immediately to the members of the standing committee, so that first and foremost they know what's going on -- and in due course.
Please, I'm sure there will possibly be some amendments coming from here, but we're going to need everybody's cooperation if we're going to do this in a logical, systematic way.
So perhaps everybody would turn to amendment G-1A in their book. The only part of amendment G-1A that we're really dealing with is paragraph 3(b), because paragraph 3(h) has already been adopted by virtue of amendment NDP-3, and paragraph 3(a) has been adopted as well. So it's only paragraph 3(b) in amendment G-1A that we're dealing with.
So I would ask that we turn all our attention to paragraph 3(b) in amendment G-1A, to resume our discussion and debate on that one. As you know, paragraph 3(b) in amendment G-1A replaces lines 10 and 11 on page 3 with the following:
values essential to a free and democratic society, including respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, commitment to social justice and equality, accommodation of a wide variety of beliefs, respect for cultural and group identity and faith in social and political institutions that enhance the participation of individuals and groups in society; and
So that's what we're discussing now.
Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration): I recall that in the last discussion, “human person” was changed to just “person”.
The Chair: Yes, it was a friendly amendment.
Thank you, because I don't know of any other persons than human ones, so we're getting rid of the word “human”.
Mr. John Bryden (Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chair: One moment, please. Our legislative assistant doesn't have that motion, that we in fact had changed or deleted the word “human”.
Mr. John Bryden: I wasn't aware of it either, actually.
The Chair: I know we discussed removing the word “human”.
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Yes.
The Chair: I know that was discussed and the administration said there was no problem, but we don't have any record of when that was done and by whom.
Let's start it again, then, just on a technical basis, if we want to--
Mr. Andrew Telegdi (Kitchener—Waterloo, Lib.): We'll technically strike “human” in front of “person”.
The Chair: John, do you want to do that, remove the word “human”?
Mr. John Bryden: I can move it, but I won't support it. Sorry.
The Chair: Okay. Let's forget that for a moment, then.
John, you're on for the main thing.
Mr. John Bryden: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
With respect to amendment G-1A, I'll continue where I left off in my remarks at the end of the last meeting.
Amendment G-1A in effect changes paragraph 3(g), which, as you commented, is about one of the purposes of the act being to promote respect for the principles and values underlying a democratic society. Amendment G-1A changes “underlying a free and democratic society” to what you see outlined before you, which is essentially a repetition of an opinion about what constitutes a free and democratic society that was expressed by the Supreme Court in a narcotics case some years ago.
I should explain that it was an opinion. It was not an interpretation of the act; it was the court's opinion.
The reason I'm concerned is that paragraph 3(g) is one of the few places in the legislation where we can actually cite the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. My interest in amendment G-1A really stems from the fact that I have amendment L-1, which would change the same words. But instead of what you see before you in amendment G-1A—which is essentially what judges were saying—I propose in amendment L-1 simply to change “values underlying a free and democratic society” to “values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
I would suggest to members that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is fundamental constitutional legislation that I think all Canadians have a great regard for. I think it's very important to tell newcomers to Canada that this is the fundamental legislation that inspires Canadians. I would prefer to cite the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in this clause rather than this lengthy description that is derived from, actually, one judge's interpretation of what a free and democratic society might be.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chair: John, I should tell you, though, technically speaking, if amendment G-1A is passed, then amendment L-1 will be in conflict and I won't be able to allow amendment L-1, because you can't keep amending the same clause. I just bring that to your attention, that if one wanted to accomplish amendment L-1, which is not on the floor now, the only way that can be done is if amendment G-1A were defeated. Then we could talk about amendment L-1.
I bring that to your attention. I think you rightfully put it that amendment L-1 deals with a different thrust for paragraph 3(g).
Mr. John Bryden: Then I make the observation that amendment L-1 was entered long before amendment G-1A, and it is unfortunate and an almost unfair situation that amendment G-1A should be considered before amendment L-1. Amendment G-1A was submitted at the last minute, at our last hearing, whereas I submitted amendment L-1 to the committee on January 15, 2003. So I find myself at a disadvantage.
The Chair: I should point out that it's not only a matter of time, though; it's because the amendments under amendment G-1A come before your amendment L-1 in the clause.
Mr. John Bryden: Okay.
The Chair: So it's not necessarily the timeline, but essentially, amendment L-1 deals with an amendment that would come after amendment G-1A.
Mr. John Bryden: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chair: Thank God for experts, because I want to make sure we do this right and no one challenges.
Technically, John -- let me explain it to you—because amendment G-1A effectively dealt with (a) and (c) and now is dealing with (b), which is exactly where amendment L-1 would be, and technically speaking, amendment L-1 came before amendment G-1A, I think I'll stand amendment G-1A for a moment and let you speak to amendment L-1, if you want.
(Amendment allowed to stand)
Mr. John Bryden: If members would turn to amendment L-1 in their book and then compare it to paragraph 3(g), they will see that I'm simply substituting for “a free and democratic society”, which is a phrase that is in section 1 of the charter.... It's the preamble to the charter, and the charter can be read as the various provisions of the charter: respect for human rights, the procedures of a democratic society, and so on and so forth. All those clauses in the charter, in my view, define the free and democratic society that is expressed in the preface of the charter.
The Supreme Court, in a narcotics case some years ago, took it upon itself, in the course of ruling on the narcotics case, to describe incidentally what the judge who was writing the opinion thought a free and democratic society consisted of. I suggest that the judge was confused in the sense that the content of the charter defines what Canadians think a free and democratic society is, not the opinion of a judge, which was not an elaborate opinion.
At any rate, the message I think we want to send to people who are taking out Canadian citizenship is that we have a document that describes a free and democratic society, that is exclusively a Canadian document, that is admired around the world, and it needs to be cited somewhere in this citizenship act. The problem is, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not cited anywhere else in this legislation.
I propose, by my amendment to paragraph 3(g), to replace the words “values underlying a free and democratic society”, simply to say that the purpose of this act is:
(g) to promote respect for the principles and values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Chair: Sarkis, could you give us the government's opinion; and perhaps Rosaline might tell the committee in context what would be wrong with mentioning the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in paragraph 3(g).
Mr. Sarkis Assadourian: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I regret to inform my very good friend that the government will be unable to support this item because it is not in accordance with the oath that we presently take. It's the same wording we use in the bill when we take the oath of citizenship. Secondly, the Charter of Rights is usually a guarantor for the public against government actions to invade their privacy.
So based on two ideas here, the government will oppose this item.
I'll ask Rosaline to elaborate further the logic as to why the government opposes this item.
The Chair: As to whether or not it's logical, we'll find out.
Mr. Sarkis Assadourian: I'm sure you'll find it logical.
The Chair: Rosaline.
Ms. Rosaline Frith (Director General, Integration, Department of Citizenship and Immigration): I'll ask my colleague Paul Yurack to speak to why it would not be good to refer to the charter in this particular instance.
Mr. Paul Yurack (Counsel, Legal Services, Department of Citizenship and Immigration): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
To reiterate the point that Mr. Assadourian made, the charter being part of the Constitution of Canada, it is supreme law. Any law that is inconsistent with that provision is, to the extent of the inconsistency, of no force or effect. The charter is meant to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals in society.
That is not one of the purposes of the Citizenship Act ,in the sense that although it respects fundamental rules and values of society and promotes respect for the freedom and dignity of others, what we propose in amendment G-1A is a broader concept than merely the values and principles reflected in the charter. The charter stands above federal law and outside it.
The Chair: Can I ask a technical question? Sarkis had mentioned that the old oath doesn't do that. But as you know, the oath, which is also part of this bill, comes after paragraph 3(g). I'm wondering whether or not that in itself has any bearing on this. If one were to change the oath to talk about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, then would that be inconsistent with what we want to do in the purposes of the bill in clause 3, which is talking about why we would want such a citizenship bill? I'm trying to make sure that technically I understand the rationale.
Ms. Rosaline Frith: Mr. Chair, the oath lays out a respect for Canadian laws. It encompasses respect for all of our laws, respect for the charter. In essence, the principle should underline the same issues that we're raising with new Canadians, and those are the ones that are raised during citizenship ceremonies, as outlined in clause 33 of the bill and also in the oath itself.
The charter again is an overlying set that's in place to protect individuals and to ensure that the government is ensuring the rights and freedoms of individuals. I'm not quite sure how the act itself could promote legislation and government action that protects individuals. I'm not quite sure I understand how we can put the charter in here and then ask an individual to be respecting the charter when the charter is supposed to be respecting their rights and freedoms.
The Chair: I have another technical question that might be helpful for the committee. I just want to know, then, whether we define what a free and democratic society is in clause 2, because I think there were some amendments put forward in clause 2, which we've stood down, that in fact try to deal with what we really mean and to define a free and democratic society.
Ms. Rosaline Frith: That is correct, Mr. Chair. A motion came forward that laid out a definition for a free and democratic society. It was the Bloc Québécois motion and we --
The Chair: It was PC-3 and BQ-1, specifically.
Ms. Rosaline Frith: In looking at BQ-1, we assumed that it would be appropriate in clause 3 to put that definition within the clause itself. It does not restrict to just those principles, but says “including”. So it includes the elements that were set out in the Oakes decision as an example of values essential to a free and democratic society.
The Chair: Okay. I have Libby, Diane, Andrew, and then any others.
Go ahead, Libby.
Ms. Libby Davies: I'd like to make a couple of points. First of all, it seems to me that pretty well everybody is saying that paragraph 3(g), as it is, is not adequate, because we have three amendments from three different parties all tackling it in different ways. To say “to promote respect for the principles and values underlying a free and democratic society” I would assume most people think is a bit vague and really doesn't spell out what it means.
Turning to the government amendment, to be quite honest, I'm not sure that I really follow their line of thought. As I understand it, you're saying that by making a reference to the charter, somehow--
The Chair: Excuse me, Libby, technically it's not a government amendment; it's a Liberal amendment.
Ms. Libby Davies: No, I'm talking to the--
The Chair: Amendment L-1, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Ms. Libby Davies: Sorry, the government response, then.
The Chair: Yes.
Ms. Libby Davies: In terms of the government department's response, what they're saying is we shouldn't put in L-1, Mr. Bryden's amendment, because it's referring to the charter, which refers to people's rights as it may pertain to the government. It seems to me that if we follow that logic, then the same would be true of paragraph 3(d), which is to reaffirm that all citizens, no matter how they become citizens, have the same status.
The point I want to make is that this bill is not just about the rights and responsibilities that people have in becoming citizens; it is also about the government's or the state's roles and responsibilities towards citizenship. I'm not sure why a reference to the charter is inappropriate.
Having said that, I also want to point out that the BQ-1 amendment is the same as the G-1A amendment, but they apply to different clauses. The BQ amendment applies to the definition clause, right off the top, and the government one applies to this clause on the purpose. One thought that occurred to me is whether there is any reason why we couldn't have the BQ amendment, as they have suggested, in clause 2, and the reference to the charter in clause 3. The question would be whether they are somehow mutually exclusive. I don't think so.
The L-1 amendment does say “underlying”. It doesn't say “the” charter. In that way, it is a little bit broader, right? It's saying what underlies all of those values. What I like about the Bloc one and the government one, although the government was suggesting it be in clause 3, is that they contain different kinds of words that I think are quite broad, such as the references to social justice and to cultural and group identity. I like the wording of it. At this point I'm thinking, what's the problem with having both? Is that mutually exclusive in some way? We could have one under definition and one under purpose.
The Chair: Technically you're right. I stood clause 2 -- not to deal with it -- because, as you know, it's a definition clause of the bill. You might want to leave it open, including BQ-1. We didn't deal with that. I essentially said we would move on to clause 3 and we would leave clause 2 open, because if we did a number of changes, you might want to come back to clause 2 and fix it because of the definitions.
Technically speaking, you're right, we haven't dealt with BQ-1. We may down the road, once we've fixed and finished an awful lot of the others. We'll go back to clause 2 because that's the definition clause. Who knows what we might do in the whole bill? But you're right.
Ms. Libby Davies: If the committee decided it wanted to pursue that and approve this one here under paragraph 3(g), then I think we'd need some kind of assurance that when we go back to the definitions it wouldn't be ruled out of order by saying, oh no, we already did that. We'd have to have some assurance.
The Chair: That's a very good question. Do you know what? I'm going to ask my advisers over here. I think, though, it probably would be inconsistent. If in fact we passed amendment L-1, as an example, and the rest of amendment G-1A and then came back to deal with BQ-1, you will find at that point in time there may be a problem technically on that specific issue of passing BQ-1 since you've already dealt with the same subject matter under amendment L-1. So I can't give you the assurance, but let me ask our legislative clerk or Bill to give us an answer. If you want to hold somebody responsible, it should be someone else other than me or at the same time as me.
Ms. Joann Garbig (Legislative Clerk): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The point is, procedurally, in a bill that has come to the committee after second reading, as this bill has, frequently the interpretation clause is stood until the content of the bill is settled, because there should be a correspondence between what is in the bill and what terms are defined and what those definitions are.
Ms. Libby Davies: My point is that if we came back to the BQ-1 amendment at a later time because it's under definition, could we be assured that it would not be ruled out of order because “we'd already dealt with it”?
My argument is I don't --
The Chair: I won't rule it out of order, but I'm not suggesting that somebody couldn't challenge that.
Ms. Libby Davies: No, I'm not saying it would necessarily come.
The Chair: I don't know, but I can give you that assurance because technically we would come back to clause 2 and essentially those amendments, PC and BQ, would also be part of the discussion of clause 2. And we can have the discussion at that point. I can give you that assurance.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, Canadian Alliance): Yes, there are two matters, Mr. Chair.
First of all, with respect to the issue that Libby raised on the application of the charter, I understand that the charter is to protect individuals' rights against the state. Now, if we import the charter into this bill, would it have the effect of, in a sense, reversing the onus of the charter, to lay a responsibility on the individual to act in such a way that the state is enhanced?
The Chair: That's a neat one.
Mr. Paul Yurack: I was going to say my fear is somewhat similar, I think, to your own, Ms. Ablonczy.
If I can articulate this: it'll potentially give powers both to decision-makers at the first level, and secondly to the courts, then, to interpret this piece of federal legislation as somehow promoting charter rights within federal legislation. So it could give an interpretation to the charter, which then would go to the courts. It is usually reserved for the courts to consider federal legislation, looking at the values and rights in the charter and measuring those values that are in the federal legislation against the acid test of the charter so that they conform with it—as you say, to promote the rights and freedoms of individuals in society so we could not restrict the rights of individuals, and then we could be giving powers to the courts to do just that somehow. It could amount to what you're suggesting, because we're putting it into the legislation.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: This has import for my very favourite clause, clause 21, because clause 21 talks about citizenship being refused on grounds that a person has demonstrated a disregard for the freedoms and values underlined. If we make those the charter, then it seems to me instead of the charter being a protection for the individual, it has actually flipped over and puts an onus on the individual.
Mr. Paul Yurack: Right.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: So the state has a broader duty to individuals and must conform to a number of protections for individuals. But if we import this into the bill, it seems to me that now individuals will have to demonstrate a conformity, to support and to show all of the qualities that the charter lays out in every instance, and it seems to me pretty difficult to expect all individuals and all society to, in every point, conform with charter directives with respect to the protection of rights. In other words, instead of the state having to protect the rights, now we all have a duty in every respect to protect the rights laid out in the charter. It seems to me to be a very heavy onus on every individual, and one that we ought not to lay upon individuals without understanding exactly what we're asking of our citizens.
Mr. Paul Yurack: I think you've articulated the point very well.
The Chair: On behalf of the government, I thank you very much, Diane.
I have Andrew, then Madeleine, then John.
Mr. Andrew Telegdi: Certainly it's an interesting discussion. I really like the concept of the charter. This would be the first bill on citizenship to include the charter.
On Saturday there was a rather good article in The Globe and Mail on Canadian identity. It talked about people, particularly the age group of 20 to 29, looking more to the courts for their reassurance than being involved in the political process. To the extent that we can have the charter in, I think it would really underline something that people, particularly coming from places that were not free and democratic societies, very much appreciate.
You raised an interesting question on clauses 21 and 22. I'm not sure, I think the charter will always apply to individual freedoms. I don't think the reverse works, because the legislation was never set up to be that way.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: But it would, because instead of being used to protect them, it would actually be used to deprive them of certain entitlements or privileges.
Mr. Andrew Telegdi: Mind you, clauses 21 and 22 are probably going to undergo some amendments, I take it. If it is going to tie into clauses 21 and 22, I wonder if it would be best to deal with clauses 21 and 22 and then revisit this.
The Chair: Let's not forget, the clause 3 we're talking about is a purpose clause that sets out the goals and objectives of the bill. Clause 21 is an operative clause. I don't want to prejudge the debate that will in fact flow to clause 21, because there are a number of amendments and different concepts of how one can achieve the same thing. I don't want to get into a discussion of what you can't do in clause 3 that you may want to do in clause 21 or the reverse.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: Except I would point out that principles and values are explicitly mentioned in clause 21. If in clause 3 we define principles and values a certain way, we can hardly make a different determination in clause 21. It definitely will fetter our discretion with respect to clause 21.
The Chair: As you know, an awful lot of our witnesses talked about clause 21 and that lack of definition. Therefore, we had everyone, including the administration, saying, what we really mean is hate-mongers, all the way to a free and democratic society. And a lot of people are trying to say that perhaps the Charter of Rights and Freedom ought to be the definition part of it. I understand, but I don't want to talk about clause 21.
By the way, we'll be voting a 11:20, so we have some time.
I have Madeleine.
Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral: Mr. Chairman, I would like to take a moment to thank John for his contribution to the committee. And now I would like to ask a question.
Bill C-18 includes a provision to deny citizenship for reasons such as, of course, anything involving hate propaganda or other similar types of behaviour. However, the Charter guarantees freedom of speech. Does that mean that we can no longer include hate propaganda and similar grounds as reasons to deny citizenship?
The Chair: John is speaking next. Maybe he can at least talk about it. I think that specific question you have might be a technical question that we might want to pose to the administration.
Mr. John Bryden: I think Madeleine again touches on clause 21 and we need to deal with that in the context of freedom of speech, hate crime, and that kind of thing.
Let me go back to Diane's point about onus, because if we put the charter in paragraph 3(g) as part of the purpose, we do put onus on Canadian citizens. And I would suggest that's precisely what we want to do, because one of the beauties of our country is that if you do acquire citizenship and you've come from a foreign land, as my friend the parliamentary secretary here did, you can find yourself subsequently in a position of great responsibility. You can be an actual lawmaker in this land. You come from a foreign country, you acquire Canadian citizenship, and there is the parliamentary secretary with an enormous role to safeguard the very principles that underlie our country, all our basic freedoms.
Paragraph 3(g), if we change it to promote respect for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, would enjoin new Canadians, that no matter what they become, if they rise to powerful positions in the bureaucracy -- and new Canadians do come into the bureaucracy -- or if they enter politics and rise not just to parliamentary secretary, but perhaps to minister of the Crown, perhaps Prime Minister.... We would want those new Canadians, those people who acquire Canadian citizenship, to understand and become knowledgeable of, and to promote and respect, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because that underlies all the values that we hold dear as Canadians. It's that very onus that I think we need to put in this legislation.
Secondly, I understand where the officials are coming from. Later on in the bill there is no supportive reference to this purpose that we have here. There's a technicality that needs to be corrected, and I would suggest to you, Mr. Chairman, that later on when we do other amendments we can correct that deficiency and make sure there's a reference to the charter, either directly or indirectly, that supports putting it in paragraph 3(g). And by that I suggest that it is when we come to discussion of the oath, -- which I hope we will actually put in the legislation, rather than keep it as a schedule -- that we can provide the type of balance the officials are anxious to see.
The Chair: I'll ask if there are any speakers.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: With respect to my colleague, in the example he gave, the onus would rest on Sarkis Assadourian, not because he's Sarkis Assadourian, but because he's Sarkis Assadourian as a legislator, as a member of the government, as an agent of the state, which is precisely why the onus should be on the state with the charter, and we should not flip it over and have the charter being used against the individual, where they lose rights or entitlements, if they're not acting as the state should act.
Mr. John Bryden: With respect to my colleague, we mustn't confuse clause 21 with paragraph 3(g). All this does in paragraph 3(g) is enjoin the new Canadian to promote and respect the principles underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms should that person rise to high estate in our political or bureaucratic system.
I certainly agree it does also put onus on the state to respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but most primarily it ensures that anyone who becomes a Canadian has this enormous responsibility, and that responsibility involves, throughout their lives as Canadians, respecting the principles of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Chair: Paul, did you have something to add?
Mr. Paul Yurack: It's a technical point, but I want to raise it. It's consistent with what Ms. Ablonczy is saying.
It is that, for instance, if you took at look at the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and in particular, subsection 3(3) of that act, it says that one of the objectives of the act is that:
This Act is to be construed and applied in a manner that
(d) ensures that decisions taken under this Act are consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”
And I would point out that this is precisely what federal legislation is meant to do, to be consistent with the principles and values of the charter.
The Chair: That just raises another question as to why it should be important that in the case of a landed immigrant, or anybody under the immigration act, IRPA, you can mention the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and when you come to apply for citizenship.... And I'm assuming that you've already qualified under IRPA, you're landed, and you're now at the point at which you want to become a full member of the Canadian family, with all the privileges that come with it, including voting, etc. Why wouldn't you, and couldn't you, mention the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the citizenship bill, yet you could in an IRPA bill?
Ms. Rosaline Frith: Because, Mr. Chair, in IRPA the respect for being in line with the charter falls upon the institution and the government, not on the individual. It's exactly what we've been saying all along. It falls on a respect that the law itself must act with the same principles as the charter. It's the government, again, having to act in respect of the charter, not the individuals who are coming as immigrants.
The Chair: It's that --
Mr. John Bryden: With respect, Mr. Chair, can I simply say the government is people. That's what governments are. They're individuals, they're people.
The Chair: Technically everybody is right, except, though, Rosaline --
Ms. Rosaline Frith: Yes.
The Chair: -- if I look at clause 3.... To be careful, again, clause 3 is the purpose of the bill, and it says that the purpose of this act is to define, encourage, protect, reaffirm, require, heighten, and promote, and now what we're talking about.
When we get to the OPA -- which is a little different, because you said the subsection 3(3) -- it says here: “This Act is to be construed and applied in a manner that” further promotes, enhances, facilitates, and especially that line where it talks about “ensures that decisions taken under this Act are consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including its principles of equality and freedom from”, etc.
So you're absolutely right, technically speaking, but the Citizenship Act is just a purpose act. This one here is how you apply this act, the application of IRPA. There's a big difference, I think, so I'd be careful about how we relate IRPA and citizenship only to suggest.... As I mentioned, we did not have a problem mentioning the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in an immigration bill, but we seem to have a problem and are very skittish about mentioning the charter in the purpose clause, clause 21, in the oath, because everybody says, you know the courts, and so on and so forth.
Ms. Libby Davies: I feel a little bit confused. Why couldn't this bill also state that this act is to apply in a manner that's consistent with everything you've quoted? I understand that this bill is dealing with responsibilities of individuals as well as their rights, but it's also involving statutory responsibilities of the state, so it does also apply to the state, not just individuals.
I understand Diane's argument, but if it were written in a way that it is in IRPA, then what would be the problem? Maybe I could ask the officials that.
The Chair: It may not be a problem, but it's not written in that form, and you know what, somebody might think about writing it in that form and then we could have this debate all over again. Technically you might be right, but I'll allow Rosaline to answer the question.
Ms. Libby Davies: Would that be a problem if it were characterized in that way?
Ms. Rosaline Frith: If it were characterized in the way this reads, which is that it says, “ensures that decisions taken under this Act are consistent”, which is the same as saying that the act or the decision-maker in the act must respect the charter, which is precisely why we have a charter, so that the government protects the rights and freedoms of individuals, so each decision you would take must respect the rights and freedoms of the individual.
The reason, when we were drafting the bill, we didn't include a clause such as this clause is simply because the kinds of decisions that are being taken in the act are different from the kinds of decisions that are being taken in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Therefore, it was felt this was not a necessary clause because all of the decisions would in fact, must -- respect the charter because the charter is supreme over our act. Therefore, we didn't put that clause in.
But you're correct that all decisions that are taken under this act must -- in the same way as it says it here -- be consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Ms. Libby Davies: Given the concerns we have about clause 21 and others, I think it would actually strengthen the position the committee might take when we get to that point. I understand that the decisions here you're talking about are different from those in IRPA, but it seems to me that the same principle applies as was applied under the IRPA act.
You're saying that in this bill it's somehow implicit, so we therefore don't have to make it explicit as we did in IRPA, but I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be explicit. Why shouldn't it be?
The Chair: I want you to hold that thought, because we're going to vote and we'll talk about it later.
We'll be back.
The Chair: Okay, colleagues, we will resume our discussions on amendment L-1. I'll give an opportunity to John to wrap up his submission on the amendment, and then we'll go on.
Mr. John Bryden: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
To reiterate, the core of the argument here from the officials versus what I've been trying to say is that the officials see the charter as an instrument of legislative compliance on the part of government. What I'm trying to do by the change I'm proposing in paragraph 3(g) is to enjoin the individual, the new Canadian who takes the oath of citizenship, to respect the principles of the charter.
I point out to you -- and I have the charter here -- that the change would simply be that one of the purposes of the act is “to promote respect for the principles and values underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” Among those principles and values that they would be charged to respect would be -- and I'm reading from the charter now -- “freedom of conscience and religion;” “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression...;” “freedom of... assembly;” and “freedom of association.” And so it goes. As you go through the charter, “Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable...seizure; “Everyone has the right not to be...detained”, and all that kind of thing.
It's precisely my intention to make new Canadians conscious that as individuals, when they become Canadians, they do have an obligation to promote and respect things like freedom of conscience and religion and freedom of speech.
I take the official's point that, as the bill stands, there's nothing in the legislation that supports the actual application of this purpose clause, as I propose it, using actual words of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But I submit to you that if later we change another clause -- and in particular the oath, but it could be another clause -- in which there is a direct application or enjoinment of the people who become new Canadians to respect the principles underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, then it will be complete. The technicality is quite legitimately bothering the officials, in my view, and I see a little bit of negativity there, but in my view, it would be complete.
That's all I have to say.
The Chair: Thank you, John.
Mr. Sarkis Assadourian: On amendment L-1, my colleague's motion, I think the clerk has another motion to add on amendment G-1A. Maybe you could give him a chance to read the motion. Maybe you can include that as a solution to the problem we have here. Okay?
The Chair: That would be fine, except that while amendment G-1B addresses the question of the charter -- and I appreciate the government essentially wanting to do what, in a way, IRPA does in the citizenship bill -- it still doesn't get to where John wants to get, which is not the government but the individual right.
But go ahead, John.
Mr. John Bryden: Very briefly, the government's proposal is that this act be interpreted in a manner that ensures that decisions taken under this act are consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Again, this is where the point of major divergence is. The government wants to put the charter in as an instrument that is basically applicable to the courts. The courts are enjoined to interpret what we do in this act in the context of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Mr. Chairman, you are absolutely right; that is not where I'm coming from on my proposal for paragraph 3(g). I do believe the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is something that defines us as Canadians, and I do not see any reason we shouldn't put a certain amount of onus on people when they become new Canadians to know and respect the principles that underlie our charter. I don't see where there are any legal demerits or legal liabilities connected with that. I do believe, though, I put some moral responsibility not only on people who are new Canadians, but on all Canadians, all of us, to respect the values and principles underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That's why I will keep amendment L-1. Whether it stands or falls, it reflects what I'm trying to do.
The Chair: On that basis, that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to put the question on amendment L-1.
Ms. Raymonde Folco (Laval West, Lib.): On a point of order, can we have a reading of L-1 before we vote on this?
The Chair: It's in your book.
Ms. Raymonde Folco: As is?
The Chair: Eight words, as is. It would replace lines 10 and 11 on page 3 with the following: “values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms.”
The Chair: We will now move to amendment G-1B, which has just been tabled. It deals with essentially the same part, in paragraph 3(g).
Sarkis, you're moving that on behalf of the government.
Mr. Sarkis Assadourian: Mr. Chairman, amendment G-1B adds after line 11 on page 3 the following new clause 3.1. With the heading “Application”, clause 3.1 reads:
3.1 This Act is to be interpreted and applied in a manner that ensures that decisions taken under it are consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Chair: Is there any discussion?
Mr. Jerry Pickard (Chatham—Kent Essex, Lib.): It may be an appeasement put forward, but I want to ask the officials whether we are cluttering up something. It is already a foregone conclusion, in my view, that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to every Canadian citizen. Why in hell would we put in a clause that says it applies to citizens? It just doesn't seem to make sense to me. We can't clutter bills that we're putting forth. We're trying to make clear points.
The Chair: Does the administration want to comment on something that they just put forward?
Ms. Rosaline Frith: The act is to be interpreted exactly the way this clause states. Whether the clause is in here or not, that is how the act must be interpreted.
The Chair: We can say that this is for greater clarity.
Ms. Rosaline Frith: We could.
Mr. Jerry Pickard: Is this redundant on the actual practice in this country?
Ms. Rosaline Frith: Yes.
Mr. Jerry Pickard: That's the point I'm making.
Ms. Rosaline Frith: Yes, it is.
The Chair: For greater clarity.
Mr. John Bryden: Mr. Chairman, I'd rather not go with this clause because it's pro forma. It doesn't add to the bill. As the officials just said and as my colleague Mr. Pickard said, all legislation has to be charter compliant. While I regret having lost amendment L-1, this is no trade. I would rather see this dropped.
The Chair: Libby, did you have your hand up?
Ms. Libby Davies: No.
The Chair: Okay.
Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral: I imagine, Mr. Chairman, that by adopting G-1b we are not automatically including G-1a as well.
The Chair: No, because we will go back.
Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral: I just wanted to be sure.
The Chair: It's an addition. We will go back to G-1A. Yes.
Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral: Thank you.
The Chair: We're now dealing with G-1B, which was an attempt to do something with L-1, which obviously wasn't an attempt at all—a fair attempt.
Mr. John Bryden: It doesn't do anything.
The Chair: Anybody else? No?
(Amendment agreed to)
The Chair: We'll go back to G-1A. You'll remember we're only dealing with the (b) part of G-1A because we've already changed some of the other parts.
Are there any further discussions on G-1A?
Ms. Libby Davies: Well, I support it. But I guess the only issue is whether it should go here under clause 3 or whether it should go right at the beginning, because we have exactly the same amendment from the Bloc.
The Chair: Beginning where? Do you mean the beginning of clause 3?
Ms. Libby Davies: BQ-1 is actually on page 2. It's the same amendment.
The Chair: That's what I just asked you. Remember we had this discussion before. G-1A is in clause 3. BQ-1 is in clause 2. I think I gave you the assurance that this does not preclude us, when we get to clause 2, from fixing whatever else we need to, if we have to.
Ms. Libby Davies: In terms of this actual amendment, the question is where does it best go. The debate on the other one was.... It was a different amendment. It was whether or not two separate amendments that had different words could both go in different clauses. We've now dealt with that. But in terms of this one, it's the same amendment and it's just a question of whether we put it in either the purpose or the interpretation.
The Chair: First of all there was G-1. That has been replaced by G-1A.
Ms. Libby Davies: Yes.
The Chair: G-1A was an addition to paragraph 3(g). It had two parts, a paragraph (a) and a paragraph (b), and as well, it was going to add a paragraph (h) to clause 3.
Ms. Libby Davies: We dealt with paragraph (h).
The Chair: We dealt with paragraph (h). We dealt with paragraph (a) of amendment G-1A and now we're dealing with paragraph (b) of G-1A , which essentially is to add on lines 10 and 11 on page 3 “values essential to a free and democratic society”, etc. It goes on and on, “including respect for the inherent dignity” and everything else. It was going to add to paragraph 3(g).
Ms. Libby Davies: I know exactly what it is.
The Chair: You're saying it's redundant now or you don't support it.
Ms. Libby Davies: No, no, I'm asking the question as to whether it's better that it go here under G-1A or whether it go under page 2, clause 2. That's the question.
The Chair: Let me get that question answered for you, at least from Rosaline's standpoint.
Ms. Rosaline Frith: Yes, Mr. Chair, we went to our drafters and we asked that question precisely, whether it was better to leave it as BQ-1 or to put it within this clause. Their considered opinion was that it was clearer and more to the point being right within the clause, which is why we put it forward this way.
The Chair: John.
Mr. John Bryden: Mr. Chairman, I would happily support G-1A except there's one element that's missing from it. If I could do an amendment to it, I would love to do it. I'd like to insert the words “freedom of speech” in the appropriate place in G-1A. Unfortunately the courts, when they interpret “a free and democratic society”, because by and large they tend to be lawyers by origin, they omit the idea of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is one of the most fundamental characteristics of a free and democratic society that I can think of. I can tell you, Mr. Chairman, having lost amendment L-1, I would feel that I had gained back just about everything if I could put those words “freedom of speech” in this particular clause.
The Chair: Technically I'd need that in writing, but if you just want to put those words, tell me exactly where you want them.
Mr. John Bryden: Give me a second, Mr. Chairman.
The Chair: I don't think it would be a problem based on some hand signals that I see going around the table, but maybe I'll have the parliamentary secretary talk about it.
Mr. Sarkis Assadourian: Maybe we could change the word on the third line “human person” at the same time, so we could have one motion for both changes. Remember, we discussed that earlier.
The Chair: I know, and I was going to get to that later, depending on who was going to give me something in writing to remove the word “human”. But let me deal with one thing at a time.
Thank you, Sarkis, for that reminder.
Mr. John Bryden: Mr. Chairman, as your local wordsmith here, probably you would have to put “respect for freedom of speech” as the first phrase after “respect” in order to make it read. I'm not doing that in order to promote my own idea but for the syntax -- in English, at any rate. It could be “including respect for freedom of speech, for the inherent dignity of the human person.” If you do it the other way around, the syntax is just a little awkward. So it would be “including respect for freedom of speech, for the inherent dignity of the human person,” then “commitment” and so on and so forth.
Does that not work? The officials, I think, would like to....
Ms. Rosaline Frith: If it read, “including respect for freedom of speech and for the inherent dignity of the human person, commitment to”, etc., it would work.
Mr. John Bryden: Perfect.
The Chair: You see, you're not the only wordsmith around here.
Mr. John Bryden: I can see that.
The Chair: Listen, can I ask the government if you can do that as part of a friendly amendment and that way I don't have to get an L-3 some place or a G-1C, or whatever. Is that acceptable?
Ms. Rosaline Frith: Yes.
The Chair: It's all right with the government.
Can we have something quickly written down? I'll ask for a debate, but I think we know exactly what everybody wants.
Are there any further speakers on that friendly amendment?
While we're doing friendly amendments, can we get rid of the word “human” as part of the friendly amendment, then?
Ms. Rosaline Frith: Yes.
The Chair: Diane.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: The clause as it now reads, I think, has an extra “respect” that we probably don't need. It reads “to promote respect for the principles and values essential to a free and democratic society, including the inherent dignity”. So “respect for” is redundant. We're talking about values. I don't know if it's a significant point, but if we're listing values, we've already said that we want to respect those values. So we could get rid of the “respect for” if we're going to make an amendment there.
The Chair: Hang on a second.
Rosaline. Diane comes from a teaching background and she's also very good at wordsmithing.
Ms. Rosaline Frith: I know that. I would only have it one time. I would say, “including respect for freedom of speech and for the inherent dignity of the person”.
The Chair: Madeleine.
Madeleine is also a teacher and also very good with words.
Wait till we get to the oath. I can hardly wait.
Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral: Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to see that this amendment is before us, but I am having some trouble treating freedom of speech as the priority. It seems to me that the most important in this entire debate is the inherent dignity of the person. In my opinion, freedom of speech is an inherent part of one's dignity.
We all know that in our societies, what comes first becomes the most important right. So, I do have some reservations in that regard. I think we should take some time to reflect upon it. I believe we can agree on the fact that the principle must be stated, but it should be done in a way that would not imply that freedom of speech is fundamental; I think it should be part of the concept relating to the inherent dignity of the person.
The Chair: Raymonde.
Ms. Raymonde Folco: With respect to the English version, I think we should...
I'll say it in English since I'm reading English words: “including respect for the...commitment to” and then “respect for”. If you said “commitment to”, then you have to come back to “respect for”. I would submit that you have to keep the “respect for cultural and group identity” and so on.
I absolutely agree also with Madeleine in the sense that it seems to me that the dignity of the human person must come before freedom of speech, since freedom of speech is a sub whatever the word is to the dignity of the human person. It can work exactly the same in French when we talk about “liberté d'expression” , and in French it could be
“including respect for the inherent dignity of the person and the freedom of expression, the recognition.... ” That sounds perfectly correct in French.
The Chair: John.
Mr. John Bryden: If I may, Mr. Chairman, with the greatest respect -- to use the word again -- to my colleague's intervention, I have to say that the freedom of speech is the way in which you ensure respect for the dignity of human beings. It is the ultimate tool. Where there is no freedom of speech there can be no respect for the dignity of human beings, of individuals. I think that freedom of speech is correctly placed because the one leads into the other. You have freedom of speech, then it enables the respect for the dignity of persons.
The Chair: I don't want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, because I sense a great degree of consensus amongst everyone who's spoken who wants to insert that “freedom of speech” phrase, but we are now starting to talk as to where it should go and I'm afraid we may lose that consensus.
Perhaps we should allow the opportunity and have people talk a little bit about reframing or redrafting this particular thing so that when we come back at 3:30 p.m. we can deal with it without losing the great momentum for inserting that amendment.
But I have Diane, who's an additional speaker.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: I almost feel apologetic for speaking.
John, I don't care where “freedom of speech” is, so that's the good news.
The point I wanted to make is that we are now listing values, but we start using language that talks about people's attitudes towards those values. It seems to me that's inappropriate. For example, instead of saying there's a value essential to a democratic society, i.e., social and political institutions that enhance the participation, etc., we're saying the value is faith in those. It seems to me, quite frankly, sometimes I don't have complete faith in political and social institutions. That's why I'm in politics to try to make them better. But I certainly value deeply and absolutely institutions that enhance participation, etc.
So it seems to me we should make a distinction between the values we're listing and the attitudes toward the values, so that when you use words “respect for”, “commitment to”, “accommodation of”, “faith in”, that adds a dimension that puts an onus, again, on individual agreement with, which is quite separate from the values themselves.
The Chair: Rosaline.
Ms. Rosaline Frith: Are you suggesting it would read better if it simply said, “respect for cultural and group identity, and social and political institutions that enhance” and you drop the words “faith in”? Is that what you're suggesting?
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: You would drop all those words. You would say, “respect for values, including freedom of speech, inherent dignity, social justice and equality, a wide variety of beliefs”, blah, blah, blah. So you're listing the values without qualifying them with some kind of emotional commitment to them.
Ms. Rosaline Frith: I think we could come back and redraft in a great many different ways. I think we have a motion before us that we've read. I would suggest that we go ahead with the motion, rather than have a wordsmithing exercise.
Mr. Jerry Pickard: I have one other comment. I think Diane has a very valid point. If you removed “social and political institutions” from the context of what we're saying, I believe it does give a much broader interpretation. You don't have to have faith in political institutions or faith in social institutions. Certain ones none of us believe in, certain ones all of us believe in.
So I believe we could take out the institutional side of it and just allow for individual values. Then it would read, after removing “faith in political institutions”: “identity...that enhance the participation of individuals and groups in society”. I think that would suffice; it would carry out what Diane has suggested and I think still carry the values that everyone else here has suggested.
The Chair: We're not going to get anywhere redrafting this thing right here and right now. And this is not necessarily a motion, but please show me those who would want to include “freedom of speech” somewhere in this context informally, if I could. So we want to do that.
Secondly, could I have some direction with regard to what Diane and Jerry have just been talking about, getting rid of this thing about social and political institutions, from that standpoint, because that's what you're both talking about.
Diane, clarify that for me.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: No, what I'm talking about is not the values but the qualifiers that talk about the attitudes towards the values --
The Chair: Such as.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: -- which is a different thing. Such as “respect for”, “commitment to”, “accommodation of”, “respect for”, “faith in”. Do you see what I mean?
The Chair: What are you talking about changing?
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: Your attitude towards the values is quite different from the actual values, so I think we should list the values. We want to promote respect for those values, but we don't have to require everybody to have, for example, “faith in” something or we don't have to require everybody to have a “commitment to”. We want to promote that, but we don't want to make it a mandatory thing for everybody to have a full participation or agreement on all of those things.
The Chair: But I don't know how you would accomplish that, unless you remove the word “require”, because I think we're now starting the depart, really depart, from what we're talking about.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: No, what we do is we say we want to promote respect for these values: freedom of speech, dignity of the human person, social justice and equality, a wide variety of beliefs, cultural and group identity, social and political constitutions that enhance.
The Chair: So you would list them all into one category as opposed to subcategories of what.... I understand.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: All right.
The Chair: I see your hands. Don't worry, I'm marking them down.
Rosaline, what would be the effect of doing it that way as opposed to categorizing as for commitment to, faith in, respect for, as opposed to doing it the way Diane just talked about?
Ms. Rosaline Frith: I believe that the way it's written right now, it gives you the sense of the value. To me, a social and political institution that enhances the participation of individuals is not a value. The value is having faith in those social and political institutions that make up our country.
We can wordsmith in many different ways. I think what has been put forward is fairly clear and obvious.
The Chair: Diane, would that be problematic? Are you going to insist that it be done that way? Right now, I have great consensus on freedom of speech, but I think we're starting to move away from—
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: I'm just saying I would have a problem if in some way I have to have faith, total faith. It seems to me that we should list the values but not necessarily people's attitudes towards them. I've made that point before.
So it either makes sense or it doesn't.
The Chair: We'll have three quick comments from Raymonde and Sarkis.
Ms. Raymonde Folco: Mr. Chair --
The Chair: Just on the concept. Right now, I have nothing on the table other than some good ideas, one about freedom of speech, and that's about all I have.
Ms. Raymonde Folco: I would like to remind everyone that what the text says is not faith in social and political institutions. The text says “faith in social and political institutions that enhance the participation of individuals and groups in society”. I think, as a Canadian, we must have faith in these institutions because they enhance democracy. That's what the participation of individuals and groups in society is all about.
The Chair: I think that helps. I think I understand where Diane is coming from, but that other qualifier seems to do a little bit more.
I'll tell you what I'll do. Could we stand G-1A until such time as they redraft it, those words, including the words “freedom of speech” in there? Then we'll deal with that later.
Mr. John Bryden: Mr. Chair, if I may suggest, the only thing we have any disagreement over, as far as I can determine, is whether freedom of speech should precede dignity.
I would respectfully suggest to my colleague Madeleine that if she bought my earlier argument, she might indicate by a nod of her head if she still does not accept the argument. I'm certainly prepared to have that phrase reversed if she really is adamant on it. It can be done.
Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral: That's like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg. We could debate that issue until the cows come home.
Mr. John Bryden: It looks like we can do it in that way. Let them draft it that way.
Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral: That is what I am suggesting.
The Chair: Yes, that's what I was suggesting, because we could have done it by friendly amendment: one, we're going to put in “freedom of speech”; two, we're getting rid of “human”.
And don't complicate my life, Andrew, but what are you talking about?
Mr. Andrew Telegdi: Mr. Chair --
The Chair: No, because that's all I'm doing. That's all I'm doing on this one, because we have other ones to talk about, number three.
Mr. Andrew Telegdi: Once we started talking about this, I looked at the charter and it talks about fundamental freedoms. It actually doesn't talk about freedom of speech. It talks about freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, because you have some people who cannot speak but they can express themselves. So that's one of the reasons why you don't see freedom of speech within the charter, because --
Mr. John Bryden: No, Andrew, that's not so.
The Chair: Hang on a second. We're all --
Mr. John Bryden: Freedom of speech, you don't need to --
The Chair: -- entitled to our opinion, faiths, beliefs, commitment to, respect for.... But hang on a second. That's it. I'm going to get something on we'll call it a rejigged G-1A. Is that all right?
Now, listen, we have another L-2 here that deals with.... We're standing down G-1A until we get a revised G-1A. Agreed?
John, technically the clerk's telling me that there was a motion put by you that was going to introduce that freedom of speech stuff plus the...and I asked whether or not we could have the government deal with it on a technical and friendly basis. Can you remove that for the time being? Let's get that motion off the table or else I have to deal with it. And you have the commitment of the chair that we will come back later this afternoon with a revised G-1A that incorporates it, and I'll have you move it at the time. How's that?
Mr. John Bryden: Of course, Mr. Chairman. I only want to cooperate in every way.
The Chair: I know. So far you've given cooperation in abundance.
The Chair: The clerks tell me that I should also do something... [Technical difficulty -- Editor] ...and that is to go back to NDP-3 for the moment, which essentially will fix the French part of G-1A, in the (h) part. Page 10 in your book, NDP-3.
Libby, with regard to NDP-3, which was essentially to fix the French version only, can I have your permission to change--
Ms. Libby Davies: Yes.
The Chair: -- “français et anglais” , interchange them? It reads a lot better on that basis.
Ms. Libby Davies: What you mean is that in the French version it will say, “to foster the recognition of French and English”?
The Chair: Yes.
Ms. Libby Davies: Right.
The Chair: Yes, Raymonde.
Ms. Raymonde Folco: I presented that. I moved that motion at the last meeting last week.
The Chair: Last week?
Ms. Raymonde Folco: What happened to it?
The Chair: We didn't start last week.
Ms. Raymonde Folco: I beg your pardon. We started last week.
The Chair: I'm sorry. We did.
Ms. Raymonde Folco: I was here, and I presented it.
The Chair: That's true. It was done as part of G-1. Right?
The Clerk of the Committee: If I may make a suggestion, just take the French from G-1A in that (h) part to correct Ms. Davies'.... That's what the question is now, is the G-1A, part (h), better French than the translation that was in NDP-3? It's just in the French version. That's what we're trying to clear up.
The Chair: It's only a technical amendment, Raymonde. The wording is as just said by you.
Is there agreement on NDP-3, French version only, technical? Are there any objections to NDP-3, French translation only?
Ms. Libby Davies: I so move.
The Chair: It's moved by Libby. All those in favour?
Mr. Sarkis Assadourian: We're moving it, you mean? Moving (h)?
The Chair: Yes. In the French version.
(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: That's done.
On that basis, then, we will go to L-02, which was just given to you. Janko, that's yours.
Ms. Libby Davies: What page is that on?
The Chair: It's 8.1.
As you know, there was consensus among all of the members that we have a preamble to this bill. As you know, we couldn't have a preamble, or couldn't amend the preamble, because none existed. I think there was consensus that.... PC-1 for the preamble -- this was an attempt not to get into a lengthy thing. I will consider others. But L-02 essentially deals with a preamble to this.
Janko, I think you're moving that on behalf of the Liberals, not necessarily the government.
Mr. Janko Peric (Cambridge, Lib.): Yes. I so move.
The Chair: It says:
(b.1) to affirm that Canadian citizenship is about a sense of belonging and exemplifies our inclusiveness as a nation;Nice words.
Mr. Janko Peric: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The Chair: L-02.
Mr. Janko Peric: As we know, across the country we have individuals who have been here for 20 or 25 years. That would add more flavour to encourage them to go and obtain citizenship.
Inclusiveness is very important, the sense of belonging. After 25 or 30 years, I don't feel that they belong wholly to Canada as a nation or to the country they come from. That would add to this act more flavour, and a sense of belonging and inclusiveness as a nation.
The Chair: Are there any other comments? Madeleine.
Okay, let me find out if the government is going to cooperate with the Liberals. That's up first or second.
Mr. Sarkis Assadourian: That's amazing.
The Chair: That's amazing, you're absolutely right.
Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral: Mr. Chairman, I have a problem with the word “nation” because there are many nations in Canada. There are aboriginal nations, and I believe that there is a Quebec nation. I would feel much more comfortable talking about an inclusive society. That would be acceptable, would it not?
Ms. Raymonde Folco: The word “nation” can have a number of meanings.
The Chair: Hold on a second, through the chair, please.
Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral: “Inclusiveness” is a lovely word. An inclusive society is a laudable objective.
Ms. Raymonde Folco: Citizenship is defined in relation to a state.
The Chair: I'm sorry, Raymonde, I don't know what other committees you belong to, but in this committee I want you to ask through the chair to deliver....
Ms. Raymonde Folco: When I belong to a committee, I'm spoken to very politely by the chair. If I go beyond my powers, I'm expecting the chair to speak politely to me.
The Chair: Politeness is a term that could be relative.
Ms. Raymonde Folco: Well, it's relative to me, and that's what I expect.
The Chair: And I would expect you to respect the chair. Thank you.
You're next, by the way.
Ms. Raymonde Folco: I would like to speak against amendment L.02. Clause 3 deals with acquiring citizenship, an attachment to Canada, the importance of acquiring citizenship and the fostering of respect for society's principles and, in paragraph (c), the integrity of citizenship. I think these concepts are included in the amendment. Thank you.
The Chair: Yes, Sarkis.
Mr. Sarkis Assadourian: I have one more point to emphasize the point my colleague made. Citizenship is to a nation, to a country, not to an association or an organization. If you take citizenship, you take it as a member of a certain nation or to a country, not as a member of an association of anglers and fishers, or whatever the case may be. Let's face it.
The Chair: What's the matter with anglers and fishermen?
Mr. Sarkis Assadourian: There's nothing wrong with them, but you can't be citizens of that.
The Chair: Okay, I know.
Andrew, I think you're next.
Mr. Andrew Telegdi: I'm sure this was not meant to be a cause for division on this committee, but basically one of the things it reminds me of is Robert Frost's poem about being home.
Would “country” be any better, I would ask Madeleine, or is it “nation” specifically you...?
Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral: The word “nation” annoys me, and when I am annoyed, it is not a pretty sight. I would prefer the word “country” or “pays” rather than the word “nation”, but I'm not sure that the people around this table will agree.
The Chair: Jerry.
Mr. Jerry Pickard: I believe “nation” refers to the people of a country, and “country” is the land mass of an area. “Nation” is the appropriate word.
The Chair: Lynne.
Mrs. Lynne Yelich (Blackstrap, Canadian Alliance): What about “Canada, our nation”? Even though it's redundant, that would be specific.
The Chair: Everybody is trying to be so helpful, and I appreciate that.
Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral: It could also end after the word “inclusiveness”.
The Chair: I know.
Ms. Libby Davies: I don't feel too great about this amendment, actually, because it seems to me that it's very subjective. I don't really know what a sense of belonging is. I don't know whether we're talking about the state or whether we're talking about individuals, because we're saying “to affirm that Canadian citizenship is about a sense of belonging and exemplifies our inclusiveness as a nation”, or country, or whatever. But I could give you any number of examples where inclusiveness, which is a good idea, actually does not exist. It's a good goal, but I find it very subjective.
The Chair: John.
Mr. John Bryden: It just amazes me, after being in existence since 1867, that we're still arguing about whether we should define Canada as a nation or not. The rest of the world sees us as a nation, so let's put it in the darn bill and be done with it.
The Chair: Madeleine, any further comment?
Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral: As we have just seen, he loves to talk.
The Chair: Again, can I just say that I'm sure that L-02 as well as PC-1 and others—because we're not done with this—was an attempt to try to put an emotional attachment to this bill, because we can't draft the preamble. It's unfortunate that the preamble didn't exist. I think L-02 was again about reinforcing what we feel about this country, and I appreciate the --
Mr. John Bryden: Nation.
The Chair: Nation. Country as a nation. Okay.
I'll put the question on L-02.
(Amendment agreed to)
The Chair: On that basis, we'll see you back here at 3:30.