Minister Hussen on citizenship #Immigration150 conference

Interesting insight at yesterday’s Conference Board of Canada Immigration Summit during the session with IRCC Minister Hussen.

In response to a broad question regarding multiculturalism from the moderator, CBoC Senior VP Craig Alexander, the Minister responded that the world has two choices: give into fear or make a “deliberate choice” to be open to people, skills and talent. This was not only “morally right” but also beneficial to economic development.

The Minister noted that when questioned in other countries about diversity, he replied that Canadian citizenship is based upon shared values, not on ethnicity, cultural origin or religion as in many other countries.

Canada’s ability to welcome all, whatever their origins, and integrate them well, is key to our success.

He noted that as Canadians, “we all assume that when people come as immigrants, they will become citizens” and that was not the case in many other countries.

He went on to emphasized that not becoming a citizen affects the ability to integrate and never becoming part of society and never able to contribute to their full potential. Canada does not that problem. Again, we assume that all immigrants will become Canadian.

Canada is unique in the regard. We take this for granted. It is our history of immigration that makes us open to immigration. By welcoming and including everyone, Canada can realize the potential of all and use the full resources of its population.

Powerful words, eloquently stated.

However, someone at IRCC should point out to him the recent data that show a dramatic drop citizenship applications – from 198,000 in 2014 to 92,000 in 2016 – and the increasing gap between new permanent residents and new citizens (296,000 compared to 148,000 in 2016, following the elimination of the backlog in 2014-15).

The key chart captures the trends.

So rather than assuming the immigrant-to-citizen path, we need to recognize the impact of previous changes and take steps to address this decline, starting with reviewing the steep fees as I have noted previously (and repeatedly).



About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

2 Responses to Minister Hussen on citizenship #Immigration150 conference

  1. Leahy says:

    And you should also examine the fraught question of whether acquiring ‘citizenship’ as a third one implies the same commitment to integration in Canada based on Canadian ‘values’ as acquiring Canadian citizenship for the first time.

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