Eligibility for Citizenship

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, my question concerns “Canadian-ness.” This government recently put forward a law that could effectively deny citizenship to a certain group of people.

Forgive me if I become personal, but I am thinking of my future grandchildren. Both my children were born overseas while I was working for a Canadian television company. The law I am talking about denies citizenship to potential grandchildren if they are born overseas. Under the proposed legislation, if my son were to fall in love with a beautiful French girl and have a child in France, the child would not be a Canadian citizen.

Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate explain why the Canadian government wants to exclude children who have been born abroad? Are they less Canadian?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)):Honourable senators, this law was brought in and I believe it was supported by the honourable senator’s party in the other place.

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration was clear on this issue. We saw examples where the children of children of children of Canadians were eligible for Canadian citizenship although they had no intention of living, nor would they ever live, in Canada.

The law is clear. It does not discriminate against people who have legitimately claimed Canadian citizenship or who want to come to this country and live as good contributing citizens of this country. The minister was dealing with a situation where people had Canadian passports who had never lived in the country, and never had any intention to live in the country, but expected Canada to step in and assist them when they had absolutely no connection with the country at all.