One of the mantras of the Harper Government was to “Restore the value of Canadian Citizenship”, and it has done this in a series of fronts.
Changing the immigration policy to a “raffle” system, in which once a month the better qualified candidates (the definition of better qualified changes month by month) could be called to submit their paperwork, effectively stranding thousands of processes and “already-in-canada” potential future residents.
Also, introducing omnibus bills like C-24 (“Strenghtening Canadian Citizenship Act”, how curious act to pass after the Robocall scandal), where a Canadian Citizen, living abroad more than 5 years cannot vote in elections. This is based on the rationale behind our electoral system, in which you have to actually live in your riding in order to vote (apparently the same rationale is not applicable to Senators in Office, but that is another scandal).
Another omnibus bill C-51 (“Anti-Terrorism Act”) in which a nationalized Canadian (“aka. Immigrant”) can be stripped of it’s Canadian Citizenship if the government determines it “persona-non-grata”. The line is that if you are a Terrorist hiding behind the Canadian passport well, you lose it and you are going to be deported to your place of origin. But there is no clear definition on what grounds the government can exercise this power, the audience is secret, and you cannot see the proof behind your accusation.
So the Harper government has taken an “Absolute” thing as a Citizenship, something that cannot be taken away, and transformed it to something like a contract, with clauses and conditions, and (sorry, I am Canadian too), but it starts to sound like a contract to buy a second handed car.
So, this government, in order to protect the value of Canadian Citizenship, a former absolute, has fragmented it in at least three categories, the True Canadians, the True Canadians living abroad more than 5 years, and the Second-Class Not-So-True Canadians that they are OK, until they get out of line.
And in my humble opinion, this fragmentation, instead of strengthening the idea of Citizenship, has weaken it.
My only hope, is that now that the writ has fallen and the 41st parliament has been dissolved, that the 42nd, will bring change and correct this.
P.S.: At the Globe Leaders Debate for the 42nd election, our Greatest Leader Prime Minister Stephen Harper, introduced a new category of citizenship, the “Old-Stock Canadian”, also known as “Harperites” / “Harpermen” who apparently constitute his political base.