Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on supplementary estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005.
I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on citizenship issues entitled, “Updating Canada's Citizenship Laws: Issues to be Addressed”. This report was done at the invitation of the minister to help her department in drafting a new modernized Citizenship Act as was promised in the throne speech.
To arrive at its recommendation, the committee reviewed testimony given for the previous three proposed but failed citizenship acts. The committee calls on the government, in drafting the new citizenship act, to respect the following general principles: there must be equal treatment of Canadian born and naturalized citizens; there should be no probationary citizenship status; the legislation should enhance English and French as the official languages of Canada; Citizenship should be seen as a right for those who qualify rather than a privilege; no one should be deprived of Canadian citizenship if doing so would render them stateless; all determinations under the act should be made by an independent decision maker in a judicial process free from political interference; and, rights come with citizenship but also responsibilities.
In conclusion, I will highlight four of the committee's recommendations. First, there can be no question that revocation of citizenship engages section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the new citizenship act must adequately address this important issue.
Second, it would not be appropriate to include a security certificate process for citizenship revocation.
Third, any person born in Canada who lost their citizenship as a child because their parent acquired a nationality of another country should be eligible to resume their citizenship without having to meet residency requirements.
Fourth, there should be extensive public input in drafting both the citizenship oath and the preamble to the new citizenship act.