Is Canada Day Now a Privilege Too?

Road sign

Canada Day always represents a celebration of national pride culminating to an intensely personal satisfaction of living in one of the greatest countries in the world.

With Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act coming into line earlier this year, many future citizens will keep their flags in the closet during their local parade or barbecue this year. Is it true that our national character as a truly multicultural and open society on course for a reputation ding?

Today in the Toronto Star Debra Black pares this question down to the core with the suggestion that not just our international reputation is at stake, but whether this act will survive a constitutional challenge waiting in the wings by many civil rights and immigration organizations. Especially within the higher metropolitan areas that experience most of the immigration traffic.

Has the Minister of Immigration completely misunderstood what value means to persons seeking citizenship?
Or is it all about ‘enormous privileges’ and ‘rules’ and that we all have to tow the line?

Where is privilege in waiting even longer for your application process where every day can represent an eon? Where is privilege in having to understand yet another language in the expanded knowledge test? Where is privilege when it’s meaning can be immensely subjective – especially with cultural and political barriers to overcome?

Tomorrow marks the first Canada Day with this new legislation and while watching your local fireworks display, take the time to think, what about those refugees and potential citizens, are they ‘playing within the rules’ when escaping persecution and violence. After all, it is a privilege to clean washrooms and pick fruit – isn’t it?


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