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Citizenship reforms ensure fairness for all

Canadian citizenship is sought by people from around the world for the freedoms, benefits and privileges that it affords.

Canadian citizenship is sought by people from around the world for the freedoms, benefits and privileges that it affords. Every year, our country bestows citizenship on newcomers to our land who have worked hard, travelled far, and played by the rules in order to rightfully obtain it.

And then there are those who have no regard for the rules in place to acquire citizenship.

These are people who have obtained cherished Canadian citizenship by jumping ahead of law-abiding newcomers through fraud or by deliberately concealing criminal activity, such as war crimes, that would disqualify them from becoming a part of our country.

For years, the abuses of our system have continued, resulting in unnecessarily long delays for legitimate immigrants to obtain citizenship and allowing into our country violent and undesirable individuals who have harmed others or pose a threat to bring harm to Canadians.

This state of affairs is unacceptable and it cannot continue.

Early in this session, our government introduced legislation to reform Canada’s refugee system to stop its systematic abuse by unscrupulous people. And in our latest effort, our Conservative government’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has announced a series of reforms that will reward those who play by the rules and penalize those who skirt them.

Under the new rules, our government will:

• Require applicants for citizenship to actually live in Canada for three out of the four years prior to their application;

• improve our ability to prevent foreign criminals from gaining citizenship;

• streamline the process by which criminals can be removed from Canada when a court has revoked citizenship;

• and increase penalties for immigration fraud.

A major component of our plan also involves cracking down on crooked immigration consultants who encourage potential immigrants to lie on their applications.

The proposed legislative changes would ensure that only authorized consultants could charge a fee to give advice, make the dishonest actions of crooked immigration consultants a violation of law before the point when an application is submitted, and give the Minister authority to establish a new oversight relationship with a body to govern immigration consultants.

Our government is taking the necessary steps to ensure fairness for those who aspire to a better life here in Canada.

Airdrie Today Staff

About the Author: Airdrie Today Staff

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