The View From Here – Always wishing to impose restrictions, the federal Conservatives vote to ban birthright citizenship

Tom Henihan

With all the pressing issues here in Canada and internationally the best the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada policy convention could do to grab headlines is to pit unborn children against unborn children.

The present law dictates that anyone born on Canadian soil automatically receives Canadian citizenship.

This has prompted concerns, at least among Conservatives, about “birth tourism,” where a pregnant woman comes to Canada to give birth in order to secure citizenship for her child.

The party voted to ban birthright citizenship to any child born here who does not have at least one parent a citizen or permanent resident.

So-called birth tourism is such a petty issue, a matter where the numbers are so small that it hardly warrants any attention much less coming to the fore at a party policy convention.

British Columbia MP for the district of Richmond Centre, Alice Wong, speaking prior to the vote made the asinine assertion that “passport babies” deprive Canadian mothers of resources, saying, “We should fight for our own babies.”

That we should fight for our own babies and neglect all other children suggests a xenophobic, siege mentality which perfectly illustrates how morally impoverished and intellectually bankrupt the Conservative Party must be.

The Conservatives never move to open up the world, to use innovative, creative and compassionate means of welcoming people to this country.

The mindset is always prohibitive, playing into low impulses and defensive behaviour.

No one in this world has influence over the circumstances of their birth: their religion, financial circumstances, social class, ethnicity, or country of origin.

At birth, when one holds no sway over one’s fate, to declare that we should disown children, as Alice Wong says, for not being one of “ours” is indicative of a strange, inherent hostility.

The other term that Alice Wong uses is, “Passport Tourism,” which also diminishes the validity of a child’s birthright.

It belittles the child, who is for now at least, a Canadian citizen and legitimately one of ours.

The Conservative Party of Canada has also delved into the conspiratorial and the bizarre, speculating that when these “birth tourism” children reach 18 years of age, they will assert their rights of citizenship and sponsor their relatives.

If people have such far-reaching strategies to enter Canada and are willing to go to such enormous lengths and exercise such patience, maybe that determination ought to be rewarded.

Canadians are not averse to flaunting how great Canada is, saying how lucky we are to live in the “best country in the world,” and other jingoistic, arbitrary statements.

These lucky Canadians often seem surprised and resentful when others want to share in the luck.

They also fail to factor in that many “birth tourism” children with dual citizenship grow up to have lives elsewhere in countries they love with traditions to which they are profoundly and ineradicably attached.

The best country in the world is the country that one loves and there is no treachery in saying that that country is not always Canada.

While money can buy residency in Canada, and eventually citizenship, how can we suggest that being born here accounts for nothing. This bizarre double standard makes Canada appear more of an exclusive club than a bona fide country that affords everyone born here the protection of citizenship


Share this post