Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that we are on the subject of the imaginary issue of people who are in the armed forces who are not Canadian citizens. I put it to the minister in committee and he was clear about this as well. Number one, to join the Canadian Armed Forces a condition precedent is that one is already a Canadian citizen. In rare circumstances, the Chief of the Defence Staff can appoint someone who is not a Canadian citizen to join if there is an urgent issue or a matter of national security.

I asked the minister in committee how many people this might apply to. Currently, it is about 13 individuals. I do not know if any of them seek Canadian citizenship. It seems to me this is most likely an expedient for theatres of war where allied forces, such as U.S. troops, might want to be contained within a Canadian regiment for some particular reason. However, it is certainly not an entire class of people. It is a very rare incident when anyone who is not already a Canadian citizen would be in our armed forces. It is very rare and only by specific and direct order of the Chief of the Defence Staff for a particular person in a particular situation.

Given that, I wonder why we have even included such a provision. Is it to mask the fact that so much of the bill is about stripping people’s citizenship who would otherwise, as people born on Canadian soil, be citizens and punished under Canadian laws if we wished to punish them?

Devinder Shory: Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the member. If she goes to the DND website, she will see that it says one can be either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada with the intention of becoming a Canadian citizen. If she cannot find it, I would be happy to provide her the website.