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Dual Citizenship

It’s pretty clear to me that the Prime Minister of Canada should be a citizen of Canada only. This would be true whether it’s a Liberal dual citizen of Canada and France, or a Conservative dual citizen of Canada and the US. It puzzles me that Stephane Dion disagrees, even more so because it would be so much easier politically to just ditch the French citizenship. The latest news indicates that he may not have the chance – France may revoke it. French citizens aren’t allowed to take up positions in foreign governments.

This is the second event in 2006 that calls into question the whole concept of dual citizenship. Dual citizen Lebanese-Canadians were evacuated from Lebanon when war broke out between Hezbollah and Israel. Roughly half of those evacuated are reportedly back in Lebanon. Should a Canadian passport be one of convenience? The worst case scenario is people coming to Canada long enough to obtain citizenship, then returning to their country of origin, relying on Canada as a backup plan: in case of war, infirmity, or misfortune, head back to our generous social programs.

I don’t deny that I’ve envied people my age who have been able to obtain citizenship to various european countries due to their parents or grandparents being born there. Between the two citizenships, you can work in the two largest economies in the world.

However, there has to be limits. What should Canada expect from its citizens? Andrew Coyne (my favourite columnist) argues for a rethinking of what it means to be a citizen. Macleans magazine explores the entire issue of dual citizenship.

My proposal: if you have dual citizenship and your Canadian passport comes up for renewal, you must prove residency in Canada for a given period of recent history. No residency? Citizenship revoked. Seems pretty simple …

December 8, 2006 - 10:22 am

Kristin - Great post, Dan. Kurt has dual citizenship to Canada and Bermuda, which means that he can very easily obtain his British citizenship, which is very cool. My Mother also has dual Canada/England, which allowed her to work in England for two years but more importantly, allows her to bypass the brutally long “Alien” lines at Heathrow.

I would get it if I could…but I see what you’re saying. We allow ourselves to be so easily abused. On one hand, I say in or out. On the other, the thought of being able to transport myself to Europe and buy property there and/or work (totally a possibility at some point) is pretty awesome.

Your proposal gets my vote.

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