Canada And Its On Dual Citizenship

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Should Canada retain its current policy on dual citizenship?

Should Canada retain its current policy on dual citizenship?


A constructive debate is needed on the efficacy of Canada's current dual citizenship policy and the accompanying growing Diaspora. However, we strongly believe that the debate must be informed by both facts and nuanced reasoning to arrive at any substantive conclusions about Canada's dual citizenship policy. Currently, the tenor of the debate is short on facts and long on emotions. Dual citizenship and some of those four million Canadians who hold this status are being characterized as ingrates for their apparent lack of patriotism, their possible tax avoidance and tenuous cultural and political ties to Canada when the leave Canada. Is any of this true? If it is true, why is it true for Canada's foreign-born Diaspora and not of Canada's earlier and robust Canadian-born Diasporas living in the United States or England? The answer to the second question is clear but comes in two parts. First, Canadians felt that Canadian-born émigrés to the United States provided externalities to this small nation when they succeeded beyond anyone's expectations. Canada's native-born great actors, musicians, athletes and Nobel Prize winners living in the United States have been a source of pride and lately Canada has tried to attract back with more or less success these superstars. Secondly the pride that we resident Canadians felt for these émigrés was not conflicted by these Canadians holding two or more passports (Carty, 2008). Further if dual citizenship arose in this context Canadians appreciated the dynamics of the situation. For example, it was noted in Canadian newspapers with sympathy that the late Peter Jennings who proudly based his career on the travel freedom implied by Canadian citizenship was forced to become a United States citizen to maintain his job post 911. In short, this older Canadian-born Diaspora was able to bypass the ingrate status accorded to the new foreign-born Diaspora because dual citizenship was not issue and their achievements outside of Canada were appreciated and we basked in their glory (Nussbaum, 2001).

Is it not possible that Canada's newest foreign-born Diaspora be seen in this optimistic light? An active Diaspora policy initiated in Canada and a critical rethinking of the nature of Canada's dual citizenship can turn what appears now to be a Canadian liability into an asset for Canadians living in Canada. First an inspection of citizenship policies across the immigrant receiving world outlines the possible options open to Canada. Canada's citizenship policy is one of the most generous in the world with a scant three year waiting period for ascension to citizenship with naturalization rights conferred on the applicant's minor dependents. Other countries naturalization policies are less generous with longer waiting periods and limited conversion citizenship rights for kin. However, if we choose to emulate the stricter naturalization policies of Sweden or Germany it will come at the cost of hindering immigration and ultimately the acquisition of Canadian citizenship ...
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