What’s a Canadian Citizenship good for anyway?
In the 1970’s the Black Panthers, the Weather Underground and many other black power and student movements turned to violence, kidnapping and bombings in their struggle against, among other things, the Vietnam war. The US government fought these movements (often illegally) with police forces and the judicial system.
In the 1970’s the Front de Libération du Québec, a group of canadian students turned to violence and kidnappings in their struggle against, among other things, discrimination against french-canadians. The Canadian government unilaterally suspended all civil rights of all residents of the province of Québec, arrested without warrant hundreds of citizens and sent the army in the streets of Montréal.
What good are rights that can be unilaterally suspended as they were in the case of Canadians of Italian, German and Japanese descent during the world wars? Or as they were in the Province of Québec in 1970?
A few years ago the Royal Canadian Mounted Police assisted the United States in illegally transferring Maher Arar to an axis of evil, Syria, where he was tortured. Omar Khadr’s has spent the last 5 years in Guantanamo awaiting military trial as an enemy combatant. His Canadian passport has not been of much use to him in Guantanamo. If he had an American passport he would have been allowed a lawyer and a trial in a US jurisdiction where the constitution applies.
This week we learn that a Canadian citizenship doesn’t even mean you are allowed to work in Canada. In a Montreal Gazette editorial published on december 26th we learn that Canadian companies who have contracts with the United States Military are not allowed to hire Canadians if they happen also hold the citizenship of such countries as Haïti, Venezuela, Cuba and Iran.
The companies who have these military contracts and who therefore enforce the US State department rules are Bombardier, SNC-Lavallin, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Bell Helicopter Textron. The companies that are legally allowed to discriminate against Canadian citizens are all massively subsidized by all levels of government.
Omar Khadr, Maher Arar and all those of us who happen to hold dual citizenship with countries that the United States government doesn’t like would have more rights and protections if we were US citizens than we do as Canadians.
So what’s a Canadian passport good for anyway?