NEWS RELEASE | Nov. 30, 2004 | Andrew Telegdi, P.C., M.P. Kitchener-Waterloo

Updating Canada's Citizenship Laws

Ottawa, November 30, 2004 - The Honourable Andrew Telegdi, PC, MP (Kitchener-Waterloo), Chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, today tabled the Committee’s latest report in the House of Commons, entitled Updating Canada’s Citizenship Laws: Issues to be Addressed.

“It is unusual for a Parliamentary Committee to be asked for input prior to a bill being tabled,” said Mr. Telegdi. “However, as this Committee had already been involved in three previous legislative attempts to update our citizenship laws, we think it was wise of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to ask for some guidance before the bill is drafted. And we have set out the concerns expressed by Canadians that we feel must be addressed.”

The Committee expects new citizenship legislation to be tabled in Parliament early in 2005 and referred to the Committee after first reading.

“Being referred after first reading will give us a greater opportunity to shape the legislation,” said Mr. Telegdi. “We will have what will be an historic opportunity to rectify past wrongs and create a citizenship regime that truly reflects Canadian values.”

The report sets out the main concerns expressed by witnesses during the Committee’s study of previous citizenship legislation in the 36th and 37th Parliaments. Some highlights include:

• The Committee recognizes that the revocation of one’s citizenship engages section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a new Citizenship Act must adequately address this fact.

• To address the situation of the so-called “Lost Canadians,” the Committee recommends that any person born in Canada who lost their Canadian citizenship as a child because their parent acquired the nationality of another country should be eligible to resume their citizenship without first having to apply for permanent resident status.

• The Committee recommends that, pending the results of a full review of Canada’s anti-terrorism laws and related legislation, there should be no security certificate provision in Canada’s Citizenship Act.

• When citizenship legislation provides for discretion in the grant of citizenship, it should be exercised by a person who is independent of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

“We intend to actively solicit public input on these issues when the bill is formally referred to the Committee,” said Mr. Telegdi. “We also want to take the opportunity to ask Canadians to help us to craft our oath of citizenship and to delineate the values and principles that membership in this nation is all about.”

The Committee also wishes to recognize the valuable contributions of Benjamin Dolin, analyst for the Committee, and Bill Farrell, clerk of the Committee.

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For more information, please contact:
William Farrell, Clerk of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration
Tel: (613) 995-8525
E-mail: [email protected]

The Honourable Andrew Telegdi, P.C., M.P.
Tel: (613) 996-5928