Bill C-6 to Amend Citizenship Act; New 3 / 5 rule and campaign promises kept, and understanding what changes are proposed:
There have been several topics about what changes the Liberal government should make to the Citizenship Act, mostly focused on rolling back or outright repealing some, much, or even all of the changes that were implemented by the SCCA (Bill C-24).
Now that Minister McCallum has formally tabled Bill C-6 (An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act), the proposed revisions are very specific.
This proposed legislation is far, far more extensive than I anticipated, and the text of Bill C-6 only became available online barely an hour or so ago. Amending legislation is not easily read and understood. There were many elements in Bill C-24 which remained somewhat unclear even after it was adopted and parts were actually implemented. And some important consequences were still just becoming apparent some two years after that Bill was formally tabled (February 2014).
Thus, there is still a great deal to digest, to sort out, to try to understand in context.
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (IRCC) has, as would be typical, provided backgrounder information, which so far consists of both an Overview of the proposed changes (this should link) and a more detailed Comparative view of the proposed amendments (this too should link).
The text of Bill C-6 itself is now available online at the Current Bills page for the Parliament of Canada (this too should link) – follow link for Bill C-6 and then in upper right corner of that page there is a dropdown link for published versions of the Bill.
My view is that it would be helpful to engage in a separate discussion focused on what this legislation actually means, understanding what effect it will have, what actual provisions are affected and how, and related matters such as proposed date for the coming into force date for particular provisions.
So I am starting a separate topic for that discussion, toward understanding what is proposed, not about whether this or that is good or bad, should this or that not be done, or this or that be done in addition, not about political or ideological opinions.
But, rather, focused on simply understanding what the changes are and what they will mean.
There is much to talk about. As I noted, the scope of this proposed legislation goes well beyond what I saw anyone predicting, way beyond what I anticipated.
It warrants noting that while overall the changes reflect an ideology and approach which is very much Liberal, there are some changes which impose tougher rules. Most notably is the proposed amendment to include Conditional sentencing as both a prohibition and as time to be excluded from the calculation of physical presence. This is one of those changes which I do not fully understand as yet, wondering if this will include conditional discharges, that is, cases in which a person is charged with an offence, the Crown apprehends it is minor enough or the evidence weak enough to allow the charges to be totally dismissed after a conditional period of time. We see many queries about such cases in the anecdotal reports in this and other forums. Many of these evolve out of a domestic argument which involved law enforcement and the arrest of one of the persons involved, and while the Crown is not willing to dismiss the charges outright, the Crown gives the accused a deal which will dismiss the charges after the conditional period is completed (typically including conditions like no further charges). If this change covers these cases, a large number of individuals will be detrimentally affected.
In any event, again, there is much to digest.
Key resources for now, again, are:
Bill C-6 itself: the text of Bill C-6 (this should link)
Overview of prosed changes:
Overview of the proposed changes (this should link)
A more detailed comparative analysis of the proposed changes:
Comparative view of the proposed amendments (this should link)
Cautionary note: as has been observed in other topics, the Senate continues to be controlled by Conservatives, dominated by Conservatives appointed by Stephen Harper. While it would be unusual for the Senate to outright preclude legislation approved by the House of Commons, it has happened. This legislation is profoundly liberal in many respects and is bound to rile the opposition, potentially inciting more than merely the gnashing of teeth. I have little idea to what extent this might result in a fight which goes to the level of Senate obstructionism, but for now that possibility cannot be casually dismissed.
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