I'll start with a Jimmy Stewart quote. I always liked the show Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, in which he says, “You're not going to have a country that can make these kinds of rules work if you haven't learned to tell human rights from a punch in the nose”.
Ms. Jennings made a comment. She said the laws are so very complicated that even the head people can't figure them out. Fortunately, the solution is really simple. It really is something that anybody could do, so we should be able to wrap this up really quickly behind the scenes.
Mr. Teichroeb made a comment about his children. We are going to have somebody testifying from a Canadian NGO for the United Nations, and she's saying one of the factors that people haven't really considered here is what it does to the children, and it's Canada's right to protect the children. Am I right? Look at your children. We've had people uprooted. The children of Magali Castro-Gyr, who was here the other day, had to get up and leave the country. It's a complete violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Canada sponsored in the United Nations.
Another thing I found interesting is this. If we take the last couple of weeks, when we all had some time off, I too decided to contact the call centre, but I couldn't do it from my home in Phoenix, Arizona, so I had to get patched through, and finally I made it. I called to ask some very specific questions about my citizenship and my sister's citizenship. Now, here are families and family reunification in Canada; we're all supposed to have the right to bring our families. Well, my sister and my brother are Canadians, and I'm not--same family, same parents. How do we do this?
They gave me all the wrong answers. I happen to know the right answers. The gentleman I was talking to absolutely said my sister is not Canadian and there's no use even applying for her. What he didn't realize is that my sister is Canadian but Canada denied her citizenship for 43 years. Here he's telling me, “Don't even bother applying”, and she's Canadian. The information is completely false.
I also found another thing that happened in the last two weeks interesting, and that's the child who was born in Canada to Iranian parents. He was taken down to the States, and the family was in a detention centre. Finally, the government here in Canada said, we have to bring that child, who was born in Canada, back to Canada--it's a Canadian child--and we have to bring the parents with him; that's only fair.
Think about this from my eyes--and I'm making no judgment as to whether Canada did anything wrong here. My comment is in relation to the lost Canadians.
I won in Bill S-2. I have the right to get my citizenship, although it could take a couple of years for me to get it. But I cannot bring my children. So now we have the situation of the Iranian child in reverse. How can Canada make the argument that we have to bring those parents because that's human rights and that's fair? Okay, I buy that argument, but if we're going to use that argument, we have to use it with me. Do I leave my minor-age child behind, and my mother? I think Canada is better than that.
In the last few weeks we also had the Hislop decision, a unanimous Supreme Court decision, again citing the Benner case, which was a unanimous Supreme Court decision on the 1947 Citizenship Act, saying that there was blatant discrimination involved in this. So we know it's there.
Finally, let me wrap up. Last September, I think it was, Canada gave citizenship to a gentleman and said we are giving you honorary citizenship because of all the wonderful things that you do, and your fairness and your compassion and your human rights. It was the Dalai Lama. And this last week there was an article in The Globe and Mail that said the dream shall never die. For all of us on this committee, for all people who have been stripped of their Canadian citizenship, the dream of being Canadian in this wonderful country will never die--just like the Dalai Lama.
I'm going to read it twice. He's saying:
I also express my deep admiration to the Tibetans...who, against all odds, have made efforts to preserve the Tibetan identity.... I am confident that they will continue to strive for our common cause with renewed dedication and commitment. I urge all Tibetans in and outside Tibet to work unitedly for a secure future based on equality....
That's how one of your newest citizens, the Dalai Lama, said it, and with great admiration from all the Canadian people.
Now I'm going to give it a Canadian twist for the committee: I express my deep admiration to the Canadians who, against all odds, have made efforts to preserve Canadian identity. I am confident that they will continue to strive for our common cause with renewed dedication and commitment. I urge all Canadians, in and outside Canada, to work in unity for a secure future based on equality.
I think that says it best. It's time for the committee to do its work. Let's fix this law.