Evidence of meeting #23 for Citizenship and Immigration in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was child.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Andrew Griffith  Director General, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
  • Rick Stewart  Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
  • Nicole Girard  Director, Legislation and Program Policy, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

10 a.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Calgary Northeast, AB

I will pass the next question to Mr. Paul Calandra.

June 16th, 2009 / 10 a.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

One of the things that troubled me last week when we were here listening to one of the witnesses was the assertion by one of the members of the committee that somehow advertising was in some way connected to political ties. It was suggested, I think, that The Toronto Star, being a conservative paper, was a beneficiary of ads from your department because of its overwhelming support for our party.

When you do your advertising campaign, is it part of your protocol to look down the list of newspapers and identify them as Liberal, Conservative, Bloc, or NDP and spread out your advertising based on who supports what party?

10 a.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Rick Stewart

I think I can assure the members of this committee that all good public servants are politically blind. When we do assessments on where to do advertising, what we're looking for is reach. We want to know where to place our limited advertising dollars in order to have the maximum impact and reach the greatest number of potential clientele. As I say, we are blind to political affiliations and considerations.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

That's what I suspected.

I wonder if you'd give me a brief comment. I want to stray a little bit. Last week in the House I had the pleasure of asking the Prime Minister a question with respect to honorary citizenship for the Aga Khan. Would you explain to me what honorary citizenship entails?

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

It's way off topic, but go ahead.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

With the indulgence of the rest of the committee.

10 a.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Rick Stewart

In a nutshell, honorary citizenship is a parliamentary privilege that is conferred by the House. It does not fall under the auspices of the Citizenship Act and it does not confer any of the rights, benefits, and privileges of formal citizenship under the act.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

I'm sorry, Mr. Chair, but do I--

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

You have time for a quick question.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

I was just going to ask how many other people had been granted honorary citizenship.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

We might as well have a great finish to the morning, so if you know that, fine, and if you don't....

10 a.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Rick Stewart

It's a small handful. It's fewer than half a dozen people, I believe.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

I think it's appropriate that--

10 a.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

It's a great honour.

I'm sorry, Mr. Chair; I apologize.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Mr. Stewart, Mr. Griffith, Ms. Girard, thank you very much for coming and making your presentation to us. We will see you next time, Mr. Stewart.

We will suspend to go into in camera proceedings.

Thank you very much.

[Proceedings continue in camera]