Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dual Citizenship Revisions?

This from today's Vancouver Sun . . . What do you think about this proposed change?

For those of you already with PR status, do you plan to maintain US Citizenship upon gaining Canadian Citizenship? Thoughts appreciated . . . .

Tories plan review of dual citizenship

Some argue people should lose Canadian status if they are also citizens elsewhere

BY ALLAN WOODS CanWest News Service

OTTAWA — The Conservative government plans to revisit issues surrounding 30-year-old rules allowing people who live abroad to hold dual Canadian citizenship, a senior Conservative has told CanWest News Service.
The review of the laws allowing people to carry a Canadian passport along with the citizenship of another country appears to be on a fast-track, particularly after the government began tallying the costs and results of the mass rescue of civilians in Lebanon who held Canadian citizenship during the recent conflict between Hezbollah and Israel.
“I think it’s going to be something that our minister of immigration [Monte Solberg] . . . will be addressing in the future because I think there is some interest as these details become known,” said Conservative caucus chairman Rahim Jaffer, a member of the House of Commons citizenship and immigration committee.
Solberg refused requests for an interview and Jaffer did not disclose what other issues relating to dual citizenship could come under review. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already expressed his desire to look at changes to the protocol the government follows when helping Canadians leave foreign hotspots.
Lesley Harmer, a spokeswoman for Solberg, said “there aren’t any plans” to change laws governing dual citizenship.
But Jaffer said a closer look at the issue was already on the government’s fall agenda, and could now happen “within weeks” after the burden of moving Canadian citizens out of the Middle East war zone have come to light.
Some 40,000 Canadians were registered with the embassy in Lebanon when the war broke out in July, and Ottawa estimates it spent more than $85 million to bring about 15,000 of them to Canada. Reports suggest 7,000 evacuees have since returned to Lebanon.
The movement to revisit dual citizenship is drawing support on both sides of the Commons.
“I’ve always questioned dual citizenship, and I’m the former minister,” said Ontario Liberal MP Judy Sgro, a Liberal immigration minister between 2003 and 2005.
“We’ve paid all that money to evacuate all those people and now 7,000 of them have gone back.”
She added the benefits that come with Canadian citizenship — including pension benefits and assistance from the federal government in times of emergency — are “ripe for exploitation” by those living abroad.
Statistics Canada says there are more than four million immigrants who hold dual citizenship with Canada and at least one other country.
There are no records for Canadian-born citizens who hold other citizenships.
“We need to be loyal to one country as far as your citizenship. Your heart can be where you were born but I think the commitment to Canada has to be strong, and I think dual citizenship weakens that,” Sgro said.
Canada changed its laws to allow Canadians to hold passports from two countries in 1977. Advice from two parliamentary committees from the mid-1990s that it was time to revamp citizenship laws were ignored.
One of those committees from 1993 suggested permitting dual citizenship reduced the value that goes along with being a Canadian and recommended those who take citizenship with another country should forfeit their Canadian passport.

I have contacted Idealistic Pragmatist and L-Girl of We Move to Canada for their thoughts/discussion. Hope we get good responses . . . .


Anonymous said...

If one does relinquish their United States' Citizenship upon getting their Canadian Citizenship, don't they give up their Medicare and Social Security benefits in the US?? Of course, the Medicare wouldn't be so bad with Canadian national health coverage . . . Social Security - assuming it's still in place! - might be another story.

Tom said...

Good point anonymous. I would hope they work out that the benefit is transferrable. Fortunately 401Ks are transferrable.

I can only state my POV as a person moving there in the future. If this goes through I will proudly become a Canadian citizen and end my US citizenship. Canada is giving us a safe place to be a family and live equally.

We've only have stress and heartache here trying to scrape up crumbs of respect from the US government.

West End Bob said...


Didn't know that 401K's were transferrable - thanks for that info. I don't know about transferring Social Security/Medicare either. Seems like if you had abandoned US Citizenship there would be no requirement for them to honor these programs.

Hope we can get some clarification.


laura k said...

As a dual Canadian/US citizen, you'll receive partial coverage from both Social Security and the Canadian equivalent. That is, if Social Security still exists at that time.

We closed out and cashed in all our 401ks and IRAs. We thought it was safest not to have any US investments.

If the laws on dual citizenship change, I would absolutely give up my US citizenship, since I'll never live there again. However, this is really just talk and extremely unlikely to happen. It would be a sea change for Canada, and I don't think any party as the impetus to take on such a big fight for such little gains.

West End Bound, now I understand your email, sorry for the confusion. :)

BY ALLAN WOODS CanWest News Service

My partner's name is Allan Wood. This was kind of strange to see, spelled the same way, too!

Anonymous said...

I think that in an age where the world is becoming smaller and smaller and technology is creating a global village it would be stupid of Harper to pursue this. The US simply does not comment about dual citizenship because of the fact that we are a nation of immigrants and it knows where most of the money is coming and going.

I plan on applying for Canadian citizenship in three years (gods willing) regardless

Anonymous said...

The possibility of not keeping any other citizenship on becoming a Canadian makes immigrating much less appealing. Sure, the States is in a dire position now, but things change; that's so many people want to immigrate in the first place. Making the transition "one-way" would only serve to scare off those from the most affluent countries, people with the most to loose by giving up other citizenships.

West End Bob said...

Good comments and information - Thanks for sharing all.

L-Girl: Pretty cool, "Allan Woods"/"Allan Wood"!

Kate: Welcome!

Anonymous said...

Hi, guys! I hope that this doesn't go anywhere. Although I can imagine giving up US citizenship if forced to make a choice, I'd hate to be in the position of making that decision for my minor child. Perhaps if this gets any steam there will be an exception that would allow kids with dual citizenship to decide upon turning 18. That sounds somewhat familiar from the days when one did have to choose.

BTW, anyone know what's up with Daniel and Alan (Would Be Canadians)? No post since August.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
West End Bob said...


Daniel and Alan are fine - we just got an email from them today. Had some cold/flu things I think. Also, it appears someone has given them instructions to correct their email link so hopefully you will be able to contact them off the blog . . .