Dual citizenship encourages cultural segregation in Canada

加拿大的多元文化政策旨在创建包容不同文化和宗教习俗的和谐社会。但是Bob Mok在其多元文化专栏系列专栏之六中指出,允许已入籍公民在原籍国永久居留并可永不返回加拿大的双重国籍政策削弱了移民的归属感,变相助长了加国文化隔离。
Canada’s multiculturalism intends to create a harmonized society that accepts different cultures and religious practices. But dual citizenship, which allows naturalized citizens to live in their home country permanently without ever returning to Canada, diminishes one’s sense of belongings and encourages cultural segregation, says Bob Mok in the sixth article in his series on multiculturalism.

本文是加国多元文化专栏系列文章之一,读者欲参照前文, 可点击:
This is part of a series of articles on Canada’s multiculturalism. For the earlier articles, please go to the following link:  

Unlike many other countries including China, India, and Japan, Canada recognizes “dual-citizenships”. In other words, Canada does not require that you forsake other citizenships entitled to you through birth, parental genealogy, or naturalization when you become a Canadian citizen.


Dual citizens enjoy certain benefits, such as the ability to live and work freely in two countries, own property in both, and travel between the countries with relative ease. There are drawbacks including the potential for double taxation and the fact that you become bound by the laws of two nations. 


Canadian citizenship was first created in 1947 by the Canadian Citizenship Act. A naturalized Canadian citizen has the right to return to his native country and to resume his former citizenship, and also to remain a Canadian citizen even if he never returns to Canada. It is believed that many of Canada’s dual citizens make use of Canada’s renowned health care and educational systems for family members and consider Canada as an escape hatch in the event of political turmoil in their country of origin.


Dual citizenships fosters a lack of total commitment to Canada and diminishes one’s sense of belonging thus encouraging many ethnic groups to form enclaves where they can continue to speak their own languages, and seek working opportunities in an environment where only their non-English or non-French mother tongues are spoken. This situation impedes their proper integrations into mainstream society. Typically, it takes the second generation of immigrants to start the integration process and master one of Canada’s official languages.


Many of the immigrants holding another citizenship elsewhere will leave their family members in Canada while they return to attend to their businesses overseas, traveling back and forth to Canada on a regular basis. These people are also known as “astronauts”. They take a long time to fulfill the residency requirements for citizenship and there are no attempts to integrate themselves into society. Their hearts and minds are not with Canada.

在2006年以色列-黎巴嫩冲突期间,加拿大政府曾从黎巴嫩疏散大量加拿大公民,与此同时 “纸上加拿大公民”  一词也随着加拿大政客Garth Turner的宣传而广为人知。“纸上加拿大公民”是指持有双重或多种国籍的移民在满足加拿大的入籍居住要求后,便返回其原籍国并同时保留加拿大国籍作为安全保障。在2006年的疏散行动中,每名撤离者实际花费约为$6,300元(1.5万人共耗费$9400万元)。但是据估计,在1.5万撤离者中有近7,000人撤离不到一个月就返回了黎巴嫩。

The term "Canadians of convenience" was popularized by Canadian politician Garth Turner in 2006 in conjunction with the evacuation of Canadian citizens from Lebanon during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. It refers to people with dual or multiple citizenships who immigrated to Canada, met the residency requirement to obtain Canadian citizenship, and moved back to their original home country while maintaining their Canadian citizenship, as a safety net. The actual cost was about $6,300 for each evacuee ($94 million for 15,000 people). Of the 15,000 evacuated, about 7,000 may have returned to Lebanon within a month of being evacuated.


Let us look at the intentions of Canada’s multiculturalism philosophy again. We can see that it allows citizens to practice their religions and keep their identities without the fear of persecution. Of course, it is meant to be practiced in an “open environment” and that cultures are to be shared with other Canadians. 


Unfortunately, this is not happening as planned. Customs are typically confounded within ethnic organizations with very limited involvement by other Canadian citizens. Organizations receive grants to carry out ethnic celebrations and festivals but focus on their own heritage group when it comes to the call for participation. Typically, activities are advertised only in the group’s ethnic media.


Elimination of dual citizenships in Canada should be a first step to effect the proper sharing of cultures between all citizens and achieve the origin goal and ideology of multiculturalism.


Canada’s multiculturalism needs an overhaul and we will look at some of the opportunities for improvement next time. 


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