2017/04/14 1 Comment
As somewhat expected, the amendment allowing minors to submit citizenship applications independently, passed 47 to 24 votes (a similar amendment had been defeated during the House’s review of C-6).
As also expected, the Conservative amendment to “repeal the repeal” of the residency requirements was defeated, 51 to 28 votes.
No one argued about the intent of the amendment to allow minors to submit applications independently.
The main arguments used against this amendment were thus less substantive and more process. Senator Harder noted that the waiver provision of 5(3) had been used for 14 cases since January 2015 (always refreshing to have actual numbers rather than only individual cases cited). The “success” rate was 97 percent (not sure how this number was arrived as 13/14 is 93 percent), with applications processed in a “timely manner.”
Other points made by Senator Harder and other independent senators were around the point whether this amendment would be more appropriately considered in a broader review of the Citizenship Act rather than the more narrow focus of C-6.
In response, Senator Jaffer, the co-sponsor of the Bill, provided a number of examples that the amendment would cover. She noted that compassionate grounds cases can take many years and had largely been used for the “most extreme” cases and had largely been used for medical reasons. She had been “promised’ many times that “We will deal with it in a few years,” with no follow-up and thus was skeptical of such assurances.
So far, the full Senate has approved three amendments:
- Restoration of procedural protections in cases of fraud and misrepresentation (Senator McCoy, see Senate amends Liberal citizenship bill to allow court hearings in fraud casesThe Senate has voted to amend the citizenship law to allow Canadians the right to a court hearing before their citizenship is stripped for fraud or misrepresentation);
- Raising the language and knowledge exemption age to 60 from 55 (Senator Griffin); and,
- Providing minors the right to submit an application on their own (Senators Oh and Jaffer)
The fourth amendment, sponsored by Senators From and Stewart-Olsen, would have “repealed the repeal” of the four years out of six physical presence, along with the minimum number of days required. This prompted a point of order by Senator Lankin asking that the Speaker rule the proposed amendment out of order as it negated the relevant provisions of Bill C-6. In the end, the Speaker allowed the amendment which was defeated 51 to 28.