Making Sense of Statistics (Palgrave Study Guides)

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On April 15, , CIC employees were asked to ensure the presence of at least one past or present member of the Canadian Forces during every ceremony. It was specified that the citizenship judge or other presiding official must recognize this person while discussing the importance of active citizenship through military service or in times of war. Several roles that members of the Canadian Forces or veterans may play during the ceremony were suggested.

They must always be among the platform guests, as well as entering and exiting with the citizenship judge. They may be seated in a reserved section, may stand when recognized by the judge, may congratulate new citizens as part of the receiving line and may distribute items such as flags or pins. They may also make a short speech.


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Shortly thereafter, Minister Kenney said he had heard of ceremonies in which new citizens had sworn allegiance with their faces covered. Although the government did not specify who these citizens were, it is reasonable to assume that they were women who wear the niqab or burqa.

As of December , citizenship certificates may be awarded only to those who swear allegiance with their faces uncovered. Critics, however, contend that this requirement may discourage permanent residents, especially women, from certain cultures from pursuing citizenship. It may also create the impression that Canada is not accommodating of cultural differences Alboim and Cohl b, Not knowing how many applicants actually attended Canadian citizenship ceremonies with their faces covered before the policy was put into place, we may also argue that the Minister was needlessly politicizing ethnoreligious differences.

No change has been made to the oath of allegiance to the Queen, although there is growing opposition to retaining it as a condition for Canadian citizenship. Three permanent residents argued in court that the pledge to the Queen is discriminatory and violates their constitutional rights, but their complaints were struck down by the Ontario Superior Court in September Justice Edward Morgan concluded that requiring would-be Canadians to take an oath to the Queen as a condition of citizenship is constitutional, even if it does violate free-speech rights Young In October , however, Kenney announced his intention to amend section 3 of the Citizenship Act to require candidates to submit an objective measure of English or French competency CIC f.

This change came into effect on November 1, Since then candidates must attain level 4 of the Canadian Language Benchmark in oral comprehension and expression. This proof now constitutes a requirement for the acceptance and evaluation of all citizenship requests, reducing the chances for less well-educated individuals to acquire citizenship. Applicants with insufficient language skills no longer have access to a hearing with a citizenship judge.

They may remain permanent residents for a much longer time. These classes are free of charge. However, the number of newcomers who participate in LINC is not as high as one might expect, 17 even though the government has more than tripled its funding since CIC f.

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The first part of the Bill proposed to reduce the citizenship residence requirement by one year for permanent residents of Canada who were members of the Canadian Forces, signed a minimum three-year contract and completed the basic training. The second part proposed to amend section 9 of the Citizenship Act to provide that persons who engaged in an act of war against the Canadian Forces would be considered to have renounced their Canadian citizenship or, if they were permanent residents, to have withdrawn their application for citizenship.

On February 27, the bill received near-unanimous support for second reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

1. Introduction

According to Kenney, the proposal treated all people with multiple nationalities alike, whether they were naturalized citizens or born in Canada. Bill C died when Parliament was prorogued in August Cohen a. It remains to be seen whether such a measure will be proposed again. International scholarship proposes a number of frameworks for examining changing citizenship regimes. This section applies some of the most important questions raised in this research to the changes introduced in Canada since In the Canadian context, this policy goal does not seem to be predominant. In contrast to many European countries, Canada has a well-defined immigration policy, which is able to take care of immigration control.

Furthermore, the new study guide and test are not likely meant to decrease the overall number of permanent residents who will eventually have access to Canadian citizenship. The adjustment of the test questions to achieve a passing rate of about 80 percent Presse Canadienne b and the availability of options for retaking the test CIC a support this interpretation. Processing times for citizenship applications have been getting longer. In , a record number of , citizenship applications were received as opposed to , in , for example , but the number of new citizens admitted in was the lowest in four years, , as opposed to , new citizens in CIC d.

The drop in naturalizations is likely due to the longer processing times.

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Thus, in July , it took 25 months to process routine Canadian citizenship applications and 35 months for nonroutine applications, such as those where applicants were asked to fill in a residence questionnaire CIC c. Delays of up to two years can be caused by the handling of the new residence questionnaires Chu ; applicants wait longer to write the citizenship exam and to take part in a citizenship ceremony.

Thus, even if lowering the overall number of permanent residents who become citizens is not a purpose of the new policy measures, slowing down access to Canadian citizenship is a de facto outcome. This raises the question of how much these long delays contribute to frustration, political apathy people get into the habit of not voting and alienation. The government seems to have noticed this flaw. In other words, the files of individuals who apply for citizenship but then, for whatever reason, fail to meet some of the requirements within a stipulated time for example, they fail to obtain and submit additionally requested information, or they miss a citizenship exam or the ceremony would be abandoned T.

Cohen b. Given the short and unpredictable notice provided to applicants for attending the citizenship test roughly four weeks and the ceremony roughly two weeks after years of waiting, this argument is hard to believe. Add to this the very short time span — 45 days, plus a maximum grace period of another 30 days — allowed for compiling the extensive documentation required for the residence questionnaire.

Cohen b amounts to scapegoating and ignores the devastating social and economic consequences for those whose applications are delayed or even abandoned. The resulting disappointment and alienation may never be remedied, even for those who ultimately become Canadian citizens. Overall, it seems the government intends to make it more difficult or even impossible for some potential new citizens to become Canadians, namely those who are deemed suspicious or less desirable for political, religious or economic reasons.

There is a risk that scapegoating may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy: individuals who are repeatedly suspected of bad things they have not done may ultimately behave this way, because they feel that it no longer matters what they do — they will always be blamed for something. Assessing this policy goal depends on how we define social cohesion. Some commentators define it as ethnocultural homogeneity. Other commentators oppose the idea that shared culture is necessary for social cohesion.

Making Sense of Statistics (Palgrave Study Guides)

For yet others, social cohesion depends primarily on socio-economic equality. All three definitions of social cohesion seem to be present in the recent policy changes.

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However, the guide also emphasizes the democratic process and liberal-democratic values. Hence, all three definitions of social cohesion are present and used interchangeably.

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This is problematic. This opposition presents a double standard, since the dominant group is defined by some of its most laudable principles and laws, while members of minority groups are framed by the contested practices of some of their members. Here, the government seems to be more concerned about potential fraud than about terrorism. The new measures, such as the new residence questionnaire, are not well suited to reinforcing national security. This was not even the case for Bill C The Bill might have prevented certain criminals from striking twice against the Canadian military, but it could not have pre-empted their bad intentions.

It therefore fell under the realm of symbolic politics: the goal was punishment or, at the least, deterrence. This policy goal is definitely present in the Canadian context, and here most notably with respect to the tightened language criteria. Analytically, we can differentiate between social, economic and cultural motivations behind the introduction of tightened language criteria for would-be citizens.

Do they merely aim at the economic proficiency of newcomers?

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Or are language criteria to be interpreted as a reinstatement of linguistic nationalism and cultural homogeneity? In practice, skills in either or both official languages operate at all three levels. For the Canadian context, it has been shown that language proficiency is essential to helping newcomers find work Boyd and Cao ; Alexander and McKenna and enabling them to participate fully in their new society Derwing and Waugh Language proficiency is thus one of the biggest determinants of successful immigrant integration. The tightening of language criteria for both immigration and naturalization applications and a language voucher pilot project introduced in the fall of to promote the LINC program thus respond to the policy goal of fostering the economic and social integration of new citizens.

In sum, naturalization should be interpreted as part of the integration process rather than its end point.

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This interpretation has three consequences. First, if free language training for newcomers remains a cornerstone for successful economic and social integration, then courses should also be accessible for new citizens after their naturalization. Second, a question that should be investigated is whether the new language tests are indeed helpful in fostering language acquisition. They may actually delay citizenship acquisition and thereby reduce everyday linguistic integration; in effect, the delay in citizenship may discourage newcomers from investing in language as a long-term strategy of social and economic integration.

Like all kinds of tests, language exams test not only for content language skills but also for form: they identify whether persons submit to given rules and act in line with how the state expects its future citizens to behave. The third consequence is that the stricter language requirements must be monitored to see whether they ultimately hinder naturalization applications. To what extent do they add unnecessary costs in time and money to the naturalization process?

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Will they delay or prevent applications from some potential citizenship candidates who cannot cover these costs, are afraid of further testing or simply do not have the time to overcome yet another hurdle in the application process? Who would these candidates predominantly be: women or men, of which age groups and from which countries of origin? Will accompanying family members of primary applicants in the skilled worker category be left behind because of the language requirements, as they seem to be because of the citizenship test McKie ?

While it is easy to assume that the new measures are merely targeting permanent residents and citizenship candidates, we should not underestimate the importance of a second target group: the Canadian-born population. Indeed, the recent measures and the way they were announced publicly speak to the concerns of a conservative constituency.

The new citizenship study guide, for example, was a political response to a debate on the allegedly diminishing value of Canadian citizenship. Cohen ; Granatstein , ; Griffiths ; Kent ; Valpy The first citizenship study guide, A Look at Canada , was implemented almost silently in the s, but Discover Canada has been made available to schools, school boards and libraries. CIC is encouraging its use among teachers and students and has dedicated a special section of its website to teachers and students House of Commons But requiring the Canadian-born population to learn about Canada too could also help to put old and new citizens on an equal footing.