Mr. Speaker, I, too, rise in support of my colleague's private member's bill to respond to the concerns of people who, through no fault of their own and no choice of their own, have been stripped of their Canadian citizenship for no reason.
Let us imagine a 20 or 30 year old having to apply for a passport because he or she has decided to travel abroad, perhaps for the first time, only to find out, after filing the application, that he or she is not a Canadian citizen. The person was born in Canada and probably lived here the whole time and yet some functionary tells the person that he or she is not a citizen because one of his or her parents left the country during a certain period of time, take out citizenship in another country and thereby, through no choice of the person who wants to travel and with no knowledge or consent, the person is no longer a Canadian.
This is a story that has been told to members of Parliament by more than one Canadian who was distraught. Some of these people have never left the country, only a parent did. When some of these people were small children they lived outside the country for a short period of time but they came back to the country, went to school, paid their taxes, raised their own families and then were told that they were no longer citizens. Some of these people are virtually stateless because they have no connection to the country where a parent went and changed their citizenship during a period of time.
If this had happened post-1977 there would have been no consequences. People would not have been stripped of their Canadian citizenship without consent because of the actions of a controlling parent . However those people who were unlucky enough to have this happen before 1977 were stripped of their Canadian citizenship without their knowledge or consent.
My colleague's bill is simple. It would redress this situation and restore full Canadian citizenship to those individuals who have been stripped of their citizenship. Members on all sides of the House have risen to say that this manifest injustice must be corrected, which is why the bill is before us today.
However, what happened? The spokesperson for the minister, the parliamentary secretary, said that the government did not know if it wanted to go ahead with this. What possible reason could the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration have for not wanting to correct an injustice that has been so poignantly pointed out to members of the House in committee, in person and in many forums around the country when we travel?
I would simply say that we have heard enough of the nonsense of finding some specious reason to delay correcting this injustice. We are a country of justice and fairness and a country that affirms the value of citizenship. I call on the House to support my colleague's bill today and to make sure that this injustice is corrected now and not later.