CIMM 006; Tue., Nov. 02, 2004 - Main Estimates


Hon. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.): Thank you.

I just want to ask the minister a question about the Citizenship Act.

Will new legislation for citizenship be introduced? If so, does the department have a way of dealing with or ideas on how to deal with some of the contentious issues like revocation, denial, lost Canadians, and so on? What are the issues that you think also need to be addressed under that new legislation, other than those contentious issues? Are there new issues that you think should be brought up?

Hon. Judy Sgro: Thank you very much, Ms. Fry. I appreciate the question.

Rather than come forward and present the normal process, which is that I would introduce legislation in the House and move it over to the committee, I was pleased, in discussion with the chair, to approach it in a different direction, which is that the committee might want to deal with specific issues that are contentious. The bill has been around. We've been trying to get a new Citizenship Act since 1977. It hasn't changed since then. The chair clearly knows that it has been here three times before, I think, and for a variety of reasons has never ever gotten moved forward.

It's certainly a challenge, and I welcome the opportunity for the committee to spend some time working on it. Give me your suggestions on those areas that are most contentious. At that point, I would ask the department to put them into the legislation, introduce the legislation in February at the first opportunity, and bring it back here and you could do your travels, and so on.

Clearly there are a variety of issues that are contentious, and the chair knows better than anyone else what they are. The whole issue of the oath of citizenship is one. The revocation is another, what are the rights and obligations of citizens, and trying to move forward on very clear objectives as to residency requirements and so on.

I look forward to the work you're going to do on this committee so that we can move forward and hopefully be able to introduce legislation and get it passed in the House. It will be a tribute to the standing committee and your ability to work together for all of us to move forward on that legislative opportunity.