Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act

An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Sponsor

Chris Alexander  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Citizenship Act to, among other things, update eligibility requirements for Canadian citizenship, strengthen security and fraud provisions and amend provisions governing the processing of applications and the review of decisions.

Amendments to the eligibility requirements include

(a) clarifying the meaning of being resident in Canada;

(b) modifying the period during which a permanent resident must reside in Canada before they may apply for citizenship;

(c) expediting access to citizenship for persons who are serving in, or have served in, the Canadian Armed Forces;

(d) requiring that an applicant for citizenship demonstrate, in one of Canada’s official languages, knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship;

(e) specifying the age as of which an applicant for citizenship must demonstrate the knowledge referred to in paragraph (d) and must demonstrate an adequate knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages;

(f) requiring that an applicant meet any applicable requirement under the Income Tax Act to file a return of income;

(g) conferring citizenship on certain individuals and their descendants who may not have acquired citizenship under prior legislation;

(h) extending an exception to the first-generation limit to citizenship by descent to children born to or adopted abroad by parents who were themselves born to or adopted abroad by Crown servants; and

(i) requiring, for a grant of citizenship for an adopted person, that the adoption not have circumvented international adoption law.

Amendments to the security and fraud provisions include

(a) expanding the prohibition against granting citizenship to include persons who are charged outside Canada for an offence that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an indictable offence under an Act of Parliament or who are serving a sentence outside Canada for such an offence;

(b) expanding the prohibition against granting citizenship to include persons who, while they were permanent residents, engaged in certain actions contrary to the national interest of Canada, and permanently barring those persons from acquiring citizenship;

(c) aligning the grounds related to security and organized criminality on which a person may be denied citizenship with those grounds in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and extending the period during which a person is barred from acquiring citizenship on that basis;

(d) expanding the prohibition against granting citizenship to include persons who, in the course of their application, misrepresent material facts and prohibiting new applications by those persons for a specified period;

(e) increasing the period during which a person is barred from applying for citizenship after having been convicted of certain offences;

(f) increasing the maximum penalties for offences related to citizenship, including fraud and trafficking in documents of citizenship;

(g) providing for the regulation of citizenship consultants;

(h) establishing a hybrid model for revoking a person’s citizenship in which the Minister will decide the majority of cases and the Federal Court will decide the cases related to inadmissibility based on security grounds, on grounds of violating human or international rights or on grounds of organized criminality;

(i) increasing the period during which a person is barred from applying for citizenship after their citizenship has been revoked;

(j) providing for the revocation of citizenship of dual citizens who, while they were Canadian citizens, engaged in certain actions contrary to the national interest of Canada, and permanently barring these individuals from reacquiring citizenship; and

(k) authorizing regulations to be made respecting the disclosure of information.

Amendments to the provisions governing the processing of applications and the review of decisions include

(a) requiring that an application must be complete to be accepted for processing;

(b) expanding the grounds and period for the suspension of applications and providing for the circumstances in which applications may be treated as abandoned;

(c) limiting the role of citizenship judges in the decision-making process, subject to the Minister periodically exercising his or her power to continue the period of application of that limitation;

(d) giving the Minister the power to make regulations concerning the making and processing of applications;

(e) providing for the judicial review of any matter under the Act and permitting, in certain circumstances, further appeals to the Federal Court of Appeal; and

(f) transferring to the Minister the discretionary power to grant citizenship in special cases.

Finally, the enactment makes consequential amendments to the Federal Courts Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 16, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
June 10, 2014 Passed That Bill C-24, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
June 10, 2014 Failed That Bill C-24 be amended by deleting Clause 1.
June 9, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-24, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and five hours shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and that, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration at report stage and the five hours provided for the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stages of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
May 29, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.
May 29, 2014 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-24, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, because it: ( a) does not provide an adequate solution for reducing citizenship application processing times, which have been steadily increasing; ( b) puts significant new powers in the hands of the Minister that will allow this government to politicize the granting of Canadian citizenship; ( c) gives the Minister the power to revoke citizenship, which will deny some Canadians access to a fair trial in Canada and will raise serious questions since Canadian law already includes mechanisms to punish those who engage in unlawful acts; and ( d) includes a declaration of intent to reside provision, which in fact gives officials the power to speculate on the intent of a citizenship applicant and then potentially deny citizenship based on this conjecture.”.
May 28, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-24, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2014 / 11:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Jason Kenney Conservative Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have been listening to the honourable member for a few minutes, and his remarks are not relevant to bill C-24, which is about reforming the Citizenship Act. It has nothing to do with the subject of his speech, the asylum system.

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2014 / 11:15 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will continue talking about deportation. What does this government have against Mexicans who want to become Canadian citizens? I have had a list of five or six families in the past four years who have been threatened by drug traffickers and who were deported.

We do nothing. We do not keep those families that want to integrate, become good citizens and work. I know that the minister prefers to bring in Mexicans to work in the fields, temporary workers, and then send them back. He is okay with this policy.

However, what help does the government provide to Mexicans who flee from difficult situations and who want to become good Canadian citizens? The Reyes Mendez family was deported in 2013, the Seguras in 2014, the Picazo family in 2011, not to mention the Pavon-Aguila family.

I will come back to the basis of the decision. Since he did not want to let me speak, I will continue on this topic. What was submitted in court by the department was that the head of the cartel, El Mas Loco, who was threatening the family in the Michoacán region, was killed in 2010. The military had announced that it had killed this leader. Oddly enough, in the March 9, 2014 edition of the Associated Press, the army said that this same leader had just been assassinated. The family was told that it was no longer in danger in Mexico because the leader had been killed based on the 2010 statement by the military. Now the Mexican police is saying that it killed him in 2014. We have reliable information. These people are leaving in four or five days. They could lose their lives. I am holding the current Minister of Employment and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration personally responsible. If something happens to these children or these people, they will be held personally responsible.

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2014 / 11:20 p.m.
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Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, I found the hon. member's speech strange.

First, the New Democrats are always saying that they want more time to debate bills, but they just moved a motion and forced a vote with the sole purpose of delaying proceedings and avoiding debating a bill. Then, we just heard a speech from the member that had nothing to do with the bill. He did not even mention the subject in question, which is the reform of the Citizenship Act.

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which manages the asylum system, is something completely different.

I am going to ask two questions. First, does the member agree with the 63% of Canadian immigrants who indicated in an Angus Reid poll that they support the section of the bill that seeks to revoke the citizenship of people who are found guilty of terrorism or treason?

Second, does he not agree that the asylum system is the responsibility of the independent, quasi-judicial tribunal, judges and courts, not politicians?

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2014 / 11:20 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well that, when it comes to terrorism, we have our court system and all the mechanisms needed to prosecute these people and find them guilty in Canada. We do not need to give a minister sitting in his office more powers.

What I would like to say tonight about my speech is that I also took the opportunity to plead with the Conservative ministers regarding the Zamudio family, who are going to be deported in three or four days.

Can you show some compassion and expedite this file in order to offer them refugee protection on humanitarian grounds?

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2014 / 11:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will single out one aspect of the legislation that is very important to recognize, and that is the area where we have seen exceptional growth in the processing times for people who want to become citizens.

Back in the days of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, one could anticipate a wait of about 12 months. Today that waiting period is now closer to two and a half to three years. That is only as long as that individual does not have to go through the residential calculator. If that happens, then we are talking about four or five years, or more, in processing times. Now the government is saying that the legislation would do a lot in reducing the processing times.

Does the member believe, as we believe in the Liberal Party, that the processing time could have been dealt with in an earlier and more prompt fashion by providing adequate resources that would have allowed processing times to be far more reasonable, shooting for that one-year mark?

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2014 / 11:25 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the tone of my colleague's question, which is a change. I think he heard my message tonight, and that is good.

The objective of the bill is to reduce the processing time from three years to one year. Those are good intentions. However, the government is also cutting $119 million from human resources at Citizenship and Immigration.

Maybe the minister will put in some overtime in his office to decide himself who will get citizenship, but I do not think that this will work.

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2014 / 11:25 p.m.
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NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise a second time to speak to this bill, and I will start by saying that this bill is yet another example of the Conservative ideology. There is no need to worry. I can back up what I am saying.

The Conservative ideology is not just the party line or the party's policies. It is also about how they act and how they view society. Since the Conservatives took power—since they got a majority—the House has passed a number of measures, and we have seen a moratorium on sponsorship for parents and grandparents and a decrease in the number of family reunifications, which appears to be a concept that the Conservatives have essentially scrapped, not to mention the punishment of vulnerable refugees.

I remember that one of the very first speeches I made in the House after I was elected was on Bill C-4, which would have enabled government officials to imprison children. The Conservative ideology is not just the party line. This bill would also put children in jail. The Conservative ideology can once again be found in this bill.

The bill does not deal at all with the issue of backlogs. Come to think of it, how did the Conservatives handle that problem? As my colleague explained, they told the 280,000 people who had been waiting to get their Canadian citizenship that they should pack up their bags and go away, then come back some other time and take their place in line.

That is how the Conservatives decided to deal with the backlog. We obviously should not expect the bill to address the problem then, since they already took care of it.

A number of people from my riding have been in my office, feeling desperate because they have been waiting for months, or even years, for their children or parents to be allowed into Canada. Some have been waiting for over two years, which, let me tell you, is very distressing for Canadians. The backlog issue is really not a priority for the Conservatives, let me assure you.

The bill would give the minister the authority to grant or revoke citizenship. A number of my colleagues have already spoken to that. In fact, the bill would create a two-tiered citizenship, something the Conservative government does not find troublesome at all.

The Conservatives spend their time driving a wedge between urban and rural Canadians or between regular and seasonal workers. We all know their style of governance. Nothing that I say will come as a surprise. Everything they do revolves around dividing people and keeping them in the dark to better govern. That is the Conservative ideology. Every time they introduce a new policy in the House they attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of Canadians.

This bill creates two classes of citizens, those who are Canadian citizens and those who are dual citizens or who may have been born abroad.

We are creating a double standard where two people guilty of the same offence may get very different sentences. One of those people could wind up in jail while the other, found guilty of having committed the same offence, would lose their Canadian citizenship and maybe even be deported. One never knows with the Conservatives.

We already have the means to punish criminals who have broken the law, means that are beyond the control of the government and the executive branch. There is no need to give the minister the power to personally decide who is guilty and who is not.

What is even more ridiculous is that they do not even abide by the courts' criteria, such as proving an accused's guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt”, the burden of proof, or “reasonable and probable grounds to believe”. The minister gives himself the right to revoke a person's citizenship on the basis of mere suspicion, without allowing an independent court to review his decision. I must say, out of respect for people who are fighting against a dictatorship in their country, that the Conservatives' intentions are obvious. They want to give themselves all the powers and decide the fate of Canadians.

In his speech, the minister said that the Canadian citizenship was held in high regard before 1977. He even talked about World War II. He wants to bring us back to before 1977, and perhaps even to just after World War II. I knew this was a backward-thinking government, but it is beyond comprehension. They want to take us back to 1950. Now, this is another illustration of the Conservative ideology.

Things have changed since the end of World War II. This is 2014 and the government wants to take us back to before 1977, as the minister said in his speech. Revoking the Canadian citizenship is a huge step backwards on many fronts. I will talk about the constitutionality of this kind of measure, and of this kind of power, which a minister can definitely not give himself. Indeed, according to the Supreme Court of Canada, this is unconstitutional. I am aware of the Conservatives' contempt for our democratic institutions. We know how they have been treating Parliament since they got a majority. They imposed time allocation 70 times. Therefore, they may criticize our motion today, but nobody believes what they are saying.

The Supreme Court was clear about the fact that stripping a person of citizenship is unconstitutional. I would like to read an excerpt from a Supreme Court decision:

The social compact requires the citizen to obey the laws created by the democratic process. But it does not follow that failure to do so nullifies the citizen’s continued membership in the self-governing polity. Indeed, the remedy of imprisonment for a term rather than permanent exile implies our acceptance of continued membership in the social order.

Professor Macklin explained:

In other words, the Supreme Court of Canada stated quite clearly that punishing somebody by depriving them of their constitutional rights, indeed, by denying them all constitutional rights and casting them out in the name of the social contract, is not constitutional.

I clearly recall the first time I spoke in the House about this bill. The minister told me that citizenship existed long before the Supreme Court and that the court did not, in any case, have the right to contradict him. Just as an aside, I understand how disdainful the Conservatives are toward our democracy and the nation's highest institution, but it has been stated quite clearly that revoking someone's citizenship is unconstitutional.

Once again, the Conservatives are going to talk to us about the beauty of Canadian citizenship and our Canadian society, but unfortunately, they will then continue to express contempt for the highest institutions that make this country a democracy and a haven for newcomers. If the Conservatives love their society so much and are so attached to Canadian citizenship, why are they not even able to respect the human rights of Canadians and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2014 / 11:35 p.m.
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Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, to begin, I would like to correct some of the misinformation we heard in that last speech.

First, the hon. member stated that there is a moratorium on the sponsorship of parents and grandparents. There is no such moratorium—quite the opposite. When I was minister, the government increased the number of family reunifications, and the number of parents and grandparents who came as permanent residents went from 17,000 to 25,000, a 60% increase. She also said that the number of family reunifications went down when it actually went up. The figures are there in black and white on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

The member said that the bill before us will create two classes of citizens: those with multiple or dual citizenship and those with only Canadian citizenship. That is incorrect. The current law contains that same distinction because we clearly have the authority to revoke citizenship if it has been obtained fraudulently. However, we can only do that for people with dual citizenship because we have obligations under the Convention relating to the status of Stateless Persons.

Is the member suggesting that Canada should violate the international convention on stateless persons?

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2014 / 11:35 p.m.
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NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the minister. I want to point out that I never said that the NDP supported people who commit immigration fraud.

I remember hearing one of the minister's colleagues talking about someone who had made a false statement and who had forgotten to fill out some of the boxes on his application. In the end, it was discovered that he had committed fraud. These people cannot come to Canada if they do not even fill out their application properly. We agree on that. The information that the Conservatives are giving Canadians is false. They are giving Canadians false information.

On that note, I would like to add that Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers are opposed to this bill and think it is unconstitutional. What more do the Conservatives want? Does this need to be taken before the Supreme Court? It will be and they will be chastised. That is how the Conservatives work. They are trampling on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Fortunately, the highest court in this country prevents them from getting too big for their britches and brings them back down to earth.

Bill C-24—Time Allocation MotionStrengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 9th, 2014 / noon
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That, in relation to Bill C-24, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the bill and five hours shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said bill; and

that, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration at report stage and the five hours provided for the consideration at third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stages of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-24—Time Allocation MotionStrengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 9th, 2014 / 12:05 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is another sad day in the history of our Parliament. Unfortunately, this is the 71st time the government has used time allocation to shut down debate on an issue.

A few weeks ago, the Conservatives broke the corrupt Liberals' sorry record for the number of time allocations during a single Parliament, a record that the Conservatives always used to condemn. They always used to say that this was no place for time allocation motions. Now, with their 71st, they have left the Liberals' record far behind. The Conservatives are worse than the Liberals, and that is not very impressive.

The headline this weekend in the Vancouver Sun was, “[Prime Minister's] Abuse of Power Comes Daily”. It talked about the culture of secrecy, partisanship, and contempt for due process that runs rampant in the current government. This is particularly the case with Bill C-24.

Bill C-24 is controversial. It has had opposition from across this country. The Conservatives used closure to try to ram it through, but they said in committee that they would actually consider amendments. However, the bill comes back from committee, not only without being amended, but even more appalling, this Conservative majority did not allow any witnesses to consider the bill. That is the real reason they are using closure.

It is an embarrassing bill, one that is not going to stand up in court, and it is igniting a lot of opposition across the country. Instead of having a proper parliamentary debate, instead of allowing witnesses to speak on the bill and have Canadian groups in who are actually concerned about the bill, the Conservatives have shut that process down: no amendments and not a single witness. Is that not the real reason the Conservatives are bringing in closure? Is it because they know that witnesses speaking to the bill will criticize it?

Of course, if there are amendments that could be brought in, all they could do is improve upon a bill that has a bad principle and a bad direction. However, is that not the real reason the Conservatives are bringing in closure today? They want to shut down debate before the public becomes aware of what they have done with the bill.

Bill C-24—Time Allocation MotionStrengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 9th, 2014 / 12:05 p.m.
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Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, this is a great day for Canadian citizens who have been calling for these changes for years—decades even. This is also a great day for future citizens.

The last time there was a massive overhaul of the Citizenship Act was in 1977, and happily, that era is in the past. The measures in our bill are popular across the country, especially with people who are looking forward to receiving the gift of citizenship and the privileges and responsibilities that go with it.

Yes, this bill is needed. It is needed by those whose applications are in process. It is needed by the record number of immigrants in this country today who are applying for citizenship once they meet the requirements and who are driving our naturalization up from where it already is, the highest in the world, to be even higher with each succeeding year.

Yes, we as a government are taking action to make sure these measures come into force sooner rather than later on the basis of a very full debate. It is just plain wrong for the opposition House leader to say that there has been no discussion in committee. On the contrary, there was 12 hours of study in committee, led by my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and with discussion led by a number of very credible and competent witnesses on all sides of the issue. However, none of that study has changed the fact that across the length and breadth of this country, these measures are popular because Canadians attach value to their citizenship as never before, and they want to see that value fully reflected in legislation.

Bill C-24—Time Allocation MotionStrengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 9th, 2014 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, what the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is saying is quite surprising. I am a member of the citizenship and immigration committee. However, at committee, the bill was not studied. There were zero witnesses that the committee heard after the bill was sent from this House to the committee. Maybe the minister is confused with the pre-study on the subject matter of the bill that we did, which was also under time allocation. We were very limited as to the number of witnesses we were able to hear from.

The UNHCR and Amnesty International, to name a couple, were organizations that wanted to make a presentation and appear as witnesses before the citizenship and immigration committee, but were not allowed. It was because the government's decision was that it was not going to hear any witnesses at the citizenship and immigration committee.

My first question to the minister is: why is he misleading this House and Canadians who are watching by saying that?

Second, the minister said that the bill has support and approval from Canadians across the country. We know that is not true either, because there are many online resident-generated petitions with more than 30,000 signatures. That does not mean that there is broad support for the bill.

I want to know why the government, now for the 70th time, is moving time allocation, curtailing debate in this House, and not letting the voices of Canadians be heard in this House.

Bill C-24—Time Allocation MotionStrengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 9th, 2014 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Chris Alexander Conservative Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, there you have it. The government House leader says there has been no study and now the member for Scarborough—Rouge River says there was a pre-study. Once again, the New Democrats are all over the map. Once again, they are the ones confusing an otherwise attentive Canadian audience, which wants the measures in this bill enacted.

We not only studied this bill, we did it in advance of report stage and referral to committee to make sure that all those who had perspectives on this bill, and it is an important one, had the opportunity to express them, and we have heard those views. We heard them in committee, and we saw them in newspapers and media across the country and in correspondence and feedback to our offices and MPs. Let me emphasize that the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

What has not been well received and what reflected a very low quality of work were the amendments proposed by the NDP and Liberals in committee. We were unable to adopt any of them because, to be perfectly honest, they were not up to spec. They did not improve the bill. They would not have made it faster for Canadians to attain citizenship, to which they have a right when they meet the requirements. They would not have reinforced the pride that Canadians take in their citizenship or reinforced the value that so many across this country are talking about. They would have watered down the penalties for disloyalty that we are absolutely adamant be in this bill, because there are limits to the forms of behaviour that are acceptable from Canadian citizens if they are going to retain citizenship when they are dual nationals.

Bill C-24—Time Allocation MotionStrengthening Canadian Citizenship ActGovernment Orders

June 9th, 2014 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to know where to start when we hear that kind of thing from the minister. Honestly.

Let us begin with the accelerated citizenship process. The Conservatives have performed very poorly on this issue. They have let citizenship application processing times more than double in the past few years. They are just now reacting, and they are doing a poor job of it. We are not convinced that anything in this bill will result in adequate and essential measures to reduce waiting times for those who are entitled to citizenship and get mired in an administrative morass.

Speaking of helping people who deserve it get citizenship, this morning alone, I received a number of calls from people across the country who are concerned and angry because in a few days, weeks or months, they will have met the time requirement for filing a citizenship application. They have planned their lives around that and carefully calculate every day that counts toward being able to file their citizenship application as soon as possible. Today, the minister is telling them that despite their expectations and dreams, the waiting period is being extended. That is very disrespectful. On behalf of all of them today, I just want to say how unacceptable it is to rush the debate like this. For one thing, it penalizes many people who were counting on filing their citizenship application shortly. It also flies in the face of all the normal House procedures.

This bill was first introduced on February 6. The second hour of second reading did not happen until May 29. For three months, the minister dilly-dallied instead of bringing this bill back to the House. We were not able to debate it, and at the last minute, the minister is bringing the bill back and forcing it down our throats without accepting any real debate. This is unacceptable.