Cost of British citizenship for children is now 22 times more expensive than Germany | The Independent

I had not done the comparison of fees for children so the data in this article is revealing. The last time I checked, UK was also the most expensive for adults:

The Government is under pressure over the “astronomical” rise in the cost of British citizenship for children, which is now 22 times more expensive than in Germany.

Costs to register a child’s citizenship application have soared by 153 per cent in the last seven years, from £386 in 2010 to £973 today.

Scores of youngsters descended on Westminster on Wednesday morning with Citizens UK in protest against the fee, which sees many children unable to become British citizens despite having a legal right.

The fee is considerably higher than in other European countries, with the figure standing at 80 euros in Belgium, 55 euros in France and just 51 euros in Germany.

Each application costs the Home Office £386, meaning the department makes a £586 profit per child registered. With 40,537 applications made in the year to September 2017, the Home Office is expected to make almost £24m this year from children registering for citizenship.

The soaring costs mean a family with three children who have come from abroad and settled in the UK for 10 years, accessing citizenship for all members, including those born here, would have paid out more than £15,000 to be “naturalised” as British citizens, taking into account all migration fees.

Many of these families suffer in-work poverty due to their low wages, so are unable to afford the cost of citizenship, which can prevent children from fully participating in the life of their community, experts warn.

There are an estimated 120,000 “undocumented” children across the UK, more than half of whom are legally entitled to a UK passport. Many are unaware of their status until they apply to university, try to open a bank account or need a passport for foreign travel, according to Citizens UK.

Anne-Marie Canning, director of social mobility and student success at King’s College London, said this can lead to problems when youngsters wish to go into higher education, with many facing difficulties due to not having the correct documents to access student loans.

“There are a large number of students in Greater London who are unable to access university because they are locked out of the student loans system due to paperwork,” she said.

Revd Mother Ellen Eames and school children singing carols outside the Home Office. Hundreds delivered Christmas cards to Secretary of State Amber Rudd asking her to cut the cost of British Citizenship (James Asfa @ Citizens UK)
“We’ve heard stories of parents having to pick which of their children’s paperwork they process so they can access student finance, as they cannot afford to do it for all of their children. We and other universities in London and across the UK are concerned about this issue and have made scholarships available for these learners.

“If the Home Office reduced their fees it would enable more children and talented young people to secure their papers and access higher education like other students.”

Citizens UK leader Fiona Carrick Davis said: “Over the past few years Citizenship fees have risen astronomically and far exceed those of other European countries.

“Many of these children were born in the UK or have spent much of their lives in the UK and have a legal right to citizenship. This is their home, they are British in all respects except they don’t have Citizenship.

via Cost of British citizenship for children is now 22 times more expensive than Germany | The Independent


EUROPP – The question of citizenship in the Brexit divorce: UK and EU citizens’ rights compared

Some interesting polling data. No surprise that “on average British citizens are more supportive of their rights abroad compared to EU-27 citizens’ rights in the UK:”

One of the key priorities for the EU during the Brexit negotiations is safeguarding citizens’ rights. This refers to 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK and 1.2 million UK nationals living in EU countries. The EU supports equal treatment in the UK of EU27 citizens as compared to UK nationals, and in the EU27 of UK nationals as compared to EU27 citizens, in accordance with Union law. In her Florence speech on 22 September, the UK Prime Minster, Theresa May, offered to incorporate legal protections for EU citizens living in the UK into UK law as part of the exit treaty.

However, since the UK triggered Article 50 on 29 March, there has been little substantive progress in the Brexit negotiations with the question of citizens’ rights being one of the primary sticking points. A European Parliament resolution criticised the lack of sufficient progress on this issue, with the Parliament’s Brexit chief, Guy Verhofstadt, arguing that ‘citizens’ rights are not being well-managed’ suggesting the possibility of a potential European Parliament veto of the Brexit deal.

Against this background of uncertainty, it is important to understand how citizens’ rights feature in the hearts and minds of the British public. To do so, we designed a survey, conducted by YouGov for the University of York on 29 June just a few days after official negotiations for departure began between the UK and the EU on 19 June. The key questions we sought to address were:

  • What is the opinion of British citizens on the rights of EU citizens in the UK as part of the Brexit divorce?
  • How do attitudes towards the rights of UK citizens abroad compare to attitudes towards the rights of EU citizens in the UK?

Our sample consisted of 1,698 individuals and was representative of the general British population in terms of age, gender, education, social grade, region, political attention and EU referendum vote. We broke down the question of citizens’ rights into four subsequent components that relate to freedom of movement in the EU, i.e. the right to freely work, reside and do business in another EU member state, as well as receive welfare.

UK citizens’ attitudes towards EU-27 citizens’ rights in the UK

Overall, British public opinion is dispersed on EU-27 citizens’ rights in the UK, as shown in Figure 1. There is much more support for doing business in the UK as opposed to working and living in the UK. The least support is observed on the question of access to welfare where we may observe comparatively much more disagreement and potentially a level of polarisation among the electorate.

On a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 denotes full disagreement and 10 full agreement, approximately a quarter of the respondents (24.16%) fully disagree that EU citizens should be allowed to claim welfare benefits in the UK. If we were to add those who have responded below 5, i.e. the middle point of the scale, then this proportion reaches 50% of the respondents. This shows that opposition to EU citizens’ accessing welfare benefits in the UK is much higher to opposition to EU citizens’ right to live, work and do business in the UK, which is at 20.84%, 19.57% and 9.25% respectively. Put differently, the majority of British citizens tend to be in favour of EU citizens living, working and doing business in the UK, but they are not as happy for them to claim welfare benefits in their country.

UK citizens’ attitudes toward UK citizens’ rights in the EU-27

How do these findings compare to how British citizens view their own rights abroad? Here the picture is slightly different. Figure 2 shows that on average British citizens are more supportive of their rights abroad compared to EU-27 citizens’ rights in the UK. Overall, fewer people disagree that UK citizens should have the right to live, work, do business and claim welfare benefits in other EU countries (responses below point 5 on the scale). These percentages range from 14.74% disagreeing that UK citizens should have the right to live in an EU country, 14.04% being hostile to UK citizens having the right to work in the EU, only 7.74% disagreeing that UK citizens should be able to do business in other EU countries, and 44.9% arguing that UK citizens should not receive welfare abroad. The latter number on UK citizens’ welfare rights in other EU countries is about 5 percentage points lower than those who oppose EU citizens’ welfare access in the UK. That being said, however, British citizens are similarly polarised on the question of welfare access even if this concerns their own nationals abroad.

Our findings suggest that although the question of EU immigration is very important among the public, and – as we know – contributed to how people voted in the Brexit referendum in 2016, it is much more nuanced and potentially contradictory than we had previously thought.

First, often – at least in the British case – some nationals may have ‘double standards’ not viewing non-nationals having equal rights to themselves. This might undermine the UK government’s popularity following a Brexit divorce deal that guarantees equal rights for both UK nationals in EU member states and EU-27 citizens in the UK.

Second, the British public is much more agreeable to EU citizens’ living, working and doing business in the UK, but they are considerably less comfortable with them sharing welfare. This suggests that it is the social aspect of EU citizenship that is the key issue featuring in the hearts and minds of the majority of the British public. This could be because the anti-EU campaigns, parties and individuals heavily politicised the welfare aspect of EU integration during the Brexit referendum, by for example associating EU membership costs with a deficit in the NHS.

via EUROPP – The question of citizenship in the Brexit divorce: UK and EU citizens’ rights compared

Australia’s citizenship saga resurfaces ‘legacy of pain’ for Indigenous MPs | The Guardian

Interesting wrinkle to Australia’s s 44 dual citizenship prohibition for parliamentarians (some Indigenous Canadians have likely also had citizenship issues given lack of documentation):

Requiring Indigenous politicians to prove their Australian citizenship has been an upsetting and anger-inducing process that resurfaced a colonial “legacy of hurt and pain”, two federal parliamentarians have said.

Some were unable to say when or where their family members were born because the Australian government never registered the births or recognised them as citizens.

Linda Burney, a Wiradjuri woman, was not considered an Australian citizen until she was 10 years old, and in her maiden speech described her experiences of “racism and exclusion”.

Being forced to justify her place in Australia again, as the federal parliament sought clarity on everyone’s citizenship status, was “gut-wrenching”, Burney told Guardian Australia.

In an attempt to end the continuing parliamentary chaos over breaches of section 44 of the constitution, all parliamentarians have been required to lodge declarations and evidence of their citizenship. The forms request the date and place of birth for parliamentarians, their parents and their grandparents, as well as any evidence required to show any citizenships to other nations were renounced.

“I have been made to feel quite angry about what I had to go through to find out about my father and his parents,” said Burney. “The only way that we could find out anything was to go to what was left of the old Aboriginal Protection Board records, and there was a document written by my grandfather to the mission manager on Brungle reserve, requesting permission to build a home.

“To go and have to do that, to go to the old Protection Board records, to realise the best they could do was a letter requesting permission to build a roof over their heads, it really stirred up a lot of deep emotions. Some of that was just disgust and an understanding of the way our people were treated.”

Burney said she understood there had to be a “circuit breaker” in the citizenship crisis and she hoped this process would achieve it. “Somehow or other this issue needs to be dealt with, intelligently and sensitivity, because I suspect there are people – not just Aboriginal people – who are going to find out some very difficult family histories.”

The NT Labor senator Malarndirri McCarthy told Guardian Australia there were “moments of outrage” as she sat in her office trying to complete the questionnaire. “Because just a simple act of filling out this document reminded me of how far our country still has to go in recognising First Nations people in our country, and the legacy of previous policies and the impact they still have today,” she said.

“It brings up a lot of hurt, the legacy of hurt and pain, because we reflect on very real circumstances on the past that impact on the present.”

McCarthy was raised on Yanyuwa country, near Borroloola in the Gulf of Carpentaria, to an Indigenous mother and a father of Irish descent. She is a traditional owner of Yanyuwa land and uniquely has declared as much on the parliamentary registry.

“The difficulty for my maternal side of the family is that we don’t know the dates of when my grandparents were born on Yanyuwa country and Garawa country, or even the dates of my mother’s birth, although we’ve always guessed it was around 1950,” she said. “My maternal grandmother we guessed around 1930.

“I don’t know [details for] my maternal grandfather and that’s largely because statistics and birth certificates were just not part of the way of Australia and the policies of the time didn’t include us.”

McCarthy said she had no concerns about an unknown second citizenship in her background, but added the Labor party’s vetting was strict.

Other parties appeared to be more lax. Among those to have been found ineligible is Jacqui Lambie. The former Tasmanian senator is Indigenous, but her father’s Scottish heritage bestowed upon her dual citizenship, overriding her place as a First Nations Australian.

Western Australian senator and Yawuru man Pat Dodson declined to be interviewed but in a speech to farewell Lambie he decried the system which “put to one side” her Indigenous heritage. “It’s an absolute tragedy that our constitution was written by all these white folks that never bothered to consider and incorporate the First Peoples in it,” he told the Senate.

McCarthy said: “This is what the non-Indigenous men of the day, when they wrote this constitution, this is what they determined for this country.

“The question is do we want to change that?”

To change it would require a referendum. Referendums are difficult to win – something Malcolm Turnbull recently cited to justify his total rejection of an Indigenous voice to parliament.

McCarthy said constitutional recognition of First Nations people must come before any changes to section 44. “If there is a genuine approach to [the concerns of First Nations people], and if First Nations people can see and will believe that, then any steps towards changing the constitution would probably follow suit,” she said.

via Australia’s citizenship saga resurfaces ‘legacy of pain’ for Indigenous MPs | Australia news | The Guardian

US expat groups vow to continue fight to end citizenship-based tax regime, repeal FATCA

Despite the efforts, too small an interest group, and not domestically-based, to effect change to date:

After the US Senate voted early on Saturday morning to approve a version of a major tax reform bill that failed to include certain fiercely-fought-for changes that would have benefited expatriate Americans, spokespeople for some of the organisations that lobbied on behalf of these changes said they didn’t regard the battle as over – and that in any event, the fight would go on.

They also stressed that much had been achieved in terms of educating Americans at home and abroad to the issues, and organising and building groups that will continue to work for a change. Said Marylouise Serrato, executive director of the American Citizens Abroad, one of the organisations at the centre of the campaign: “Thanks to everyone’s efforts, the awareness and interest in the topic of residency-based/territorial taxation for Americans overseas is the highest its ever been.”

As reported,  the ACA, along with such other organisations as the Republicans Overseas, the Democrats Abroad, Americans for Tax Reform, the Heritage Foundation and a number of American chambers of commerce have fought hard for months to convince US lawmakers to do away with the current US system of citizenship-based taxation.

Some of these and others, including the Campaign to Repeal FATCA, and certain members of Congress such as Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, have been campaigning for the US to get rid of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which has made life difficult for expatriate Americans since it was signed into law by president Obama in 2010.

Saturday’s Senate vote saw 51 Republican lawmakers vote to approve the Senate version of the so-called Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and 49 senators – all Democrats – voting against it.  Neither a proposal to replace the current citizenship-based tax regime nor one that would have called for the repeal  of FATCA was included in the version that was passed, even though, as reported, such key lawmakers as the Republican head of the House Ways and Means committee, Kevin Brady, had publicly indicated that Washington officials were taking “seriously” the call for a shift away from the citizenship-based income tax system.

via US expat groups vow to continue fight to end citizenship-based tax regime, repeal FATCA

Malta’s “due diligence” of rich passport buyers gets glowing review

Different meaning of “due diligence”:

Malta’s due diligence of people applying to buy citizenship has been held up as “a textbook example” of effectiveness and reliability by Thomson Reuters.
Peter Vincent, general counsel at the Canadian company that provides intelligence services, said Malta’s Individual Investor Programme provided a high standard of due diligence.

“Malta has a reputation for having a very solid programme for citizenship and residency that has very secure due diligence processes in place and transparency. It’s by no means perfect but there is no completely secure system in the world but if you are looking for a model, not just for the EU but for the entire world, I would look to a country like Malta,” Vincent said in an interview with Investment Migration Insider, an industry journal.

Thomson Reuters is one of the companies used by Identity Malta to help it in the screening of prospective clients.

Vincent was speaking on the price war in the Caribbean over citizenship programmes, which was affecting due diligence standards in the region.

“Malta is a textbook example of how to conduct effective and reliable due diligence,” he said, adding that Identity Malta should look beyond its remit and mentor other countries still trying to develop their programmes.

The IIP was introduced amid much controversy in 2014 with the aim of attracting rich foreign nationals interested in buying Maltese citizenship. The scheme has enabled the country to create a multi-million euro fund administered separately from government accounts.

The programme last year raised some €165 million and is capped at 1,800 applications, a number likely to be reached some time next year.

The government has been criticised by the European Parliament because the names of those who obtain citizenship through the IIP are not published separately. Instead, the names are included without any specific identifier with those of others who obtain citizenship through naturalisation.

At a recent citizenship forum organised by Henley and Partners, the company entrusted to manage and market Malta’s scheme, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Malta will be extending its citizenship by investment programme.

He told his audience in Hong Kong the second IIP programme would be “even more exclusive” than the current version, without elaborating further.

via Malta’s due diligence of rich passport buyers gets glowing review

Billionaire got Canadian citizenship after renting a Montreal basement

I would not be surprised if more cases like this emerge given the abuse of the business immigration program and the imprecise definition of residency, both fixed by the Harper government through the termination of the former and specifying physical presence in its C-24 Citizenship Act changes:

Among the most curious revelations contained in the Paradise Papers is the question of Wafic Said’s Canadian citizenship, and how he obtained it, given his tenuous ties to this country.

Said, a Syrian-born, Monaco-based billionaire, was the broker of the 1985 Al-Yamamah arms deal to sell British warplanes to Saudi Arabia, in which £6 billion in “corrupt commissions” were allegedly paid to members of the Saudi royal family.

The longtime friend of Brian Mulroney also donated $4 million to the soon-to-open Brian Mulroney Institute of Government at St. Francis Xavier University, where he received an honorary degree in 2015 and was announced as a Canadian citizen.

But how did this Saudi-Syrian businessman pick up a third passport?

It’s not clear exactly when, but at some point in the 1990s, Said received Canadian citizenship. To fulfil the three-year residency requirement, public records show that instead of living in a luxury building, as he did in London, U.K., Said rented a basement apartment in Montreal.

“I am a Canadian citizen and am proud to be one,” wrote Said in an email to the Star and CBC/Radio-Canada. “I took appropriate professional advice about my entitlement to Canadian residency and citizenship. I followed this advice to the letter, met the relevant qualifications and was granted citizenship.”

A spokesperson for Said later added: “Mr. Said lived in Canada for three years thus complying with the immigration residency requirements.” He was only “absent” from Canada for a few weeks in 1989 and 1990, the spokesperson wrote.

The first trace of Said in Canada shows up in 1988, when he registered a numbered company in Canada that would later be renamed Safingest Inc. and declared himself president and sole shareholder.

In public filings, Safingest states its business is “indeterminate and imprecise.” Its office shares a Montreal address with the office of his lawyer, Annie Kenane. Said’s personal address is listed as an apartment in a building also owned by Kenane.

And it was not the kind of apartment where one would expect to find a wealthy international businessman. According to public records, for three years, Said appears to have been a billionaire in a basement.

The basement apartment is in a three-storey walk-up in the gritty Montreal neighbourhood of Côte-des-Neiges.

Elaine Gloutnez, who lived on the third floor of the same building from 1987 to 1991, said she had never heard of Wafic Said. When shown a photo of Said and his wife, Gloutnez said she had never seen them at the house.

“He’s not the type that would live here,” she told Radio-Canada. “Here it is simple people, young families, students . . . It’s not luxury housing. We’re not in Westmount here.”

“I’ve been in this area since ’85 and I’ve never seen a billionaire here,” Gloutnez said.

In his statement to the Star and the CBC, Said wrote that the apartment was “rented for me but when I was there with my family it was easier to stay in hotels.”

A representative for Said later added: “Mr. Said paid rent under the terms of the lease for the apartment at Légaré Street and used it often.”

Public filings in the U.K. show Said also stated he was living in the prestigious London neighbourhood of Mayfair at the same time, in 1990 and 1991.

In 1990, Said purchased a penthouse in a more upscale Montreal neighbourhood for $1.5 million. In 1999, he sold it for $825,000.

Said did not clarify when and where he received his Canadian citizenship.

The earliest trace of Said’s Canadian citizenship is a Canadian passport issued in Paris in 1996.

From 1986 to 2014, Canada had an immigrant investor program that granted permanent residency to wealthy foreigners who made large investments in the country. At the end, in order to qualify, an applicant had to have $1.6 million in assets and commit to invest $800,000 in Canada.

The program was shut down by the Harper government in 2014 and replaced with a one-year pilot program that raised the mandatory investment to $2 million. Quebec continues its own program that requires $800,000 is invested.

“Investments enabled me to qualify for permanent residence and then for Canadian citizenship,” Said’s statement reads.

Said said he made a “very successful investment” in a company called Jordan Petroleum Ltd., whose shares were held by Safingest Ltd. His Bermuda-based offshore company, Said Holdings, which counted Brian Mulroney among its board members from 2004-2012, “has continued to invest substantial sums in Canada,” he added.

Andrew Feinstein, the executive director of the group Corruption Watch in the U.K., has investigated Said for many years. He had no idea Said was a Canadian citizen.

“What on earth would he want a Canadian passport for? And how would he be granted one, because I’m not aware of . . . when he would have spent any meaningful time in Canada.”

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland says the Canadian government can waive normal residency requirements and grant citizenship in “very special” cases.

“The special treatment to issue a national interest Canadian citizenship comes in two flavours,” Kurland said. “It’s direct in the open, the way we give it to the Dalai Lama. Or it’s behind the red curtain in Ottawa.”

“You don’t have to tell parliament you’re doing this. You don’t have to apply the normal way. If they don’t give it to you directly, they will tell you: ‘Just apply. Put it in the system. And our folks in the system will take your case and process it no questions asked.’ That’s how it’s done.”

Canadian citizenship is one of the most sought-after assets for Middle Eastern billionaires, Kurland said.

“Billionaires like two things: There’s the money and the freedom . . . A Canadian passport is the golden ticket,” he said.

“You’re not taxed in Canada because Canada taxes on residence, not on citizenship. And you can travel visa free, no questions asked, in almost every country in the world.”

via Billionaire got Canadian citizenship after renting a Montreal basement | Toronto Star

Australia: Citizenship drama threatens to widen as spotlight falls on MP’s marriages

The silliness of Article 44 becomes more and more apparent. Only medium-term solution is constitutional change:

Parliament’s dual citizenship drama threatens to widen further after the Turnbull government made it clear its disclosure regime will include marriage.

The original version of the disclosure regime – agreed to by the government and opposition earlier this month – focused on citizenship by birth and descent. It would have required MPs to disclose details relating to their birthplace, parents and grandparents, but not necessarily spouses.

The government and Labor Party have reached consensus over the citizenship issue to hopefully put the crisis to rest but both sides are claiming credit for making it happen.
But the government has now confirmed MPs will be required to disclose relevant details relating to marriage.

Dozens of nations grant citizenship by marriage – or have done so in the recent past – and in a number of them the conferral is automatic.

Is the Parliament in chaos? Here’s how the government’s numbers look
Chief government whip Nola Marino may be a dual citizen by marriage
Questions have been raised about at least one Coalition MP, chief government whip Nola Marino, who was considered at risk of disqualification from Parliament due to citizenship by marriage.

She married her Italian-born husband, Carmelo Marino, in Western Australia in 1972. Official Italian government advice clearly states: “Foreign women who married an Italian citizen prior to 27 April 1983 automatically acquired Italian citizenship on the date of marriage.”

But Ms Marino has now moved to clarify her status, saying her husband lost his Italian citizenship when he naturalised before they were married

The government has also sought to raise doubts about Labor senator Kim Carr, with The West Australian reporting at the weekend he may have inadvertently obtained Israeli citizenship with his marriage to Carole Fabian.

Citizenship was automatically granted to spouses under the Law of Return before 1999. But Senator Carr has denied he has dual citizenship.

Senators have until this Friday to submit their details to parliamentary authorities, with the disclosures to be published on Monday. Lower house MPs will have until Tuesday night to submit their papers.

It is widely believed the disclosures will lead to further referrals to the High Court, potentially creating more Senate vacancies and sparking further lower house byelections.

Nine MPs have already been forced from Parliament as a result of the fiasco, with two government MPs – Barnaby Joyce and John Alexander – now defending their seats in byelections. Section 44 of the constitution forbids dual citizens serving in the Australian

via Citizenship drama threatens to widen as spotlight falls on MP’s marriages

Tories Push Trudeau To Keep FGM Warning In Citizenship Guide

Of course, the citizenship guide should maintain a reference to FGM.

But this needs to be placed in the broader context of violence against women and the history of how Canadian society has evolved in terms of women’s rights, definition of sexual assault, employment equity and the like, not just with an identity politics bumper sticker of “barbaric cultural practices”:

Federal Conservatives are pressuring the Liberal government to ensure that the final draft of the new citizenship guide includes a warning that female genital mutilation (FGM) is a crime in Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not speak to the guide when pressed about the issue in question period Wednesday, but said he is committed to ending the “barbaric practice” around the world.

Tory immigration critic Michelle Rempel noted in the House of Commons that the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women — better known as UN Women — tweeted about FGM as part of its “16 days of activism.”

The UN group called FGM — the intentional cutting of female genital organs for non-medical reasons — a human rights violation that has been perpetuated against 200 million women and girls.

“Canada’s citizenship guide informs newcomers that FGM is a crime in Canada. However Canada’s prime minister has decided to delete this information,” Rempel charged.

The MP was referencing a working copy of the new citizenship guide the government is preparing. The draft, which was obtained by The Canadian Press in the summer, reportedly omits lines stating that certain “barbaric cultural practices,” such as FGM and honour killings, are illegal in Canada. The previous Tory government included those warnings in their overhauls of the guide.

Rempel urged Trudeau in the House to stand with FGM survivors and the UN by reversing what she called his “decision.” She made similar comments on Twitter shortly after question period.

Trudeau responded that he “personally brought up this issue” during a visit to Liberia last year, “challenging local leaders and governments to step up on the fight against FGM.”

Then he said something that drew an immediate reaction from Tories.

“We will continue to lead the way pushing for an end to these barbaric practices of female genital mutilation everywhere around the world. This is something… and here in Canada… this is something we take very seriously.”

Tories bashed Trudeau over comments in 2011

The use of the word “barbaric” harkens back to a controversy in 2011, when Trudeau was serving as the immigration critic of the then-opposition Liberals. He initially took exception to the way the Tories’ revamped citizenship guide described honour killings as “barbaric.”

Trudeau said at the time that the government should have instead called all violence against women “absolutely unacceptable” and made a better “attempt at responsible neutrality.” Top Tories, including then-immigration minister Jason Kenney, relentlessly blasted Trudeau over his remarks.

Trudeau later apologized and retracted his initial take on the guide.

“I want to make it clear that I think the acts described are heinous, barbaric acts that are totally unacceptable in our society,” he said in a statement at the time, according to CBC News.

The debate over so-called “barbaric cultural practices” also factored heavily in the 2015 election, when the Tories famously pledged to create a tip line for Canadians to call if they suspected a child or woman could fall victim to forced marriage, FGM, or polygamy. Liberals said then that the Conservatives’ campaign pledge was really about stoking “fear and division.”

PM brings up lessons from 2015 election

Trudeau referenced that ill-fated Tory promise in the House Tuesday while responding to Conservative questions about how his government is handling suspected ISIS terrorists after they return to Canada. The prime minister said Tories have learned nothing from the results of the last federal vote.

“They ran an election on snitch lines against Muslims, they ran an election on Islamophobia and division, and still they play the same games, trying to scare Canadians,” Trudeau shouted.

“The fact is we always focus on the security of Canadians, and we always will. They play the politics of fear, and Canadians reject that.”

via Tories Push Trudeau To Keep FGM Warning In Citizenship Guide

Amos: Let’s fix this Citizenship Act obstacle to Canadians overseas: Liberal MP

Liberal MP Will Amos (Pontiac) picks up on the arguments of Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock regarding the first generation limit.

As usual, the arguments focus on the relatively few Canadian expatriates who make a major economic, social or political contribution, compared to the many who are just pursuing personal or professional objectives. Many of these maintain minimal connections to Canada, judging by consular, passport and income tax data that I analyzed with respect to expatriate voting (see my earlier piece What should expatriates’ voting rights be? – Policy Options).

Amos repeats the old canard regarding the exemption for Crown servants serving abroad, all of whom pay taxes, are in daily in not hourly contact with Canada and Canadians, and who are sent abroad to further government objectives. Quite different from expatriates living in such places as Hong Kong, LA or Dubai who are pursing their personal and professional interests.

Amos is unclear on what alternative he proposes. Does he really want Canadian citizenship to be able to be passed on indefinitely, without any meaningful restriction or is he proposing some other limit (e.g., second generation)?

I am militating against this little-known 2006 amendment to the Citizenship Act that limits Canadian citizenship to only the first-generation of children born to (or adopted by) Canadians who live outside Canada. This means that children of Canadian parents who are travelling, studying or working abroad become citizens of Canada at birth or at the time of adoption. Their children, however, are not entitled to Canadian citizenship if they are born outside Canada. Given that two to three million Canadians are living or working overseas at any time, this issue affects potentially thousands of Canadian children each year.

Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock, respectively Canada’s former foreign affairs minister and UN ambassador, have written persuasively that the 2006 amendment treats Canadians differently based on where they live, which fails to account for the benefits of Canadians’ engagement abroad and may deter Canadians from going overseas. Furthermore, they note that the amendment is not applied uniformly, as federal employees and military personnel who serve outside Canada are not subject to the same rules. The potential deterrent for Canadians to serve abroad with international agencies or NGOs is obvious.

There can be no justifying this legislative disparity on vague grounds of “simplicity and transparency.” Whatever the administrative benefits – if any – of this legislation, they are outweighed by our need to ensure that all Canadians have equal rights, including the right to pass along citizenship equally. A Canadian is a Canadian.

With the passage of Bill C-6, the government has already fulfilled a major election promise to remove two-tiered citizenship and reverse the detrimental and artificial barriers to citizenship that were put in place by the Harper Conservatives. Now it’s time to move even further.

I urge Minister of Immigration and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen to take action and table a bill in the House of Commons that will address this inequity. Let us implement the fixes quickly and support, not needlessly hinder, Canadians trying to make a positive global impact.

via Amos: Let’s fix this Citizenship Act obstacle to Canadians overseas | Ottawa Citizen

Pathways to Prosperity 2017: Building Bridges between Indigenous and Immigrant Communities

Not able to attend this conference and session but some interesting presentations available at the links below.

My faves: IRCC presentation on the process of engaging Indigenous peoples in the new citizenship guide (explaining in part why it is taking so long) and the Vancouver and Winnipeg examples of what communities are doing on the ground:

Historically there has been little effort to bring together immigrant and indigenous communities, and to promote harmonious relations between these groups. Rather than gaining knowledge of indigenous history and culture, immigrants have often either been uninformed or presented with misinformation and stereotypes. This session focuses on strategies that can be implemented to remedy this situation and create mutual understanding, including several notable promising practices that are being used in various locations across the country to build bridges between indigenous and immigrant communities.

  • Authentic Sustainable Relationships: A Vancouver Model (Download Presentation) (Video – Coming Soon)Kory Wilson, Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships, British Columbia Institute of Technology

  • Colonial Persuasions: Sovereignty as the Limit of Reconciliation Education for New Canadians (Download Presentation) (Video – Coming Soon)Kevin FitzMaurice, Associate Professor, Department of Indigenous Studies, University of Sudbury

  • Building Bridges: Promoting a Harmonious Relationship between Indigenous People and Newcomers in Winnipeg (Download Presentation) (Video – Coming Soon)Abdikheir Ahmed, Director, Immigration Partnership Winnipeg, and Maria Morrison, Coordinator, Citizen Equity Committee of the City of Winnipeg

  • Citizenship and the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (Download Presentation) (Video – Coming Soon)Alec Attfield, Director General, Citizenship Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

via Pathways to Prosperity 2017 National Conference – Canada’s Place in the World: Innovation in Immigration Research, Policy, and Practice – Pathways to Prosperity: Canada