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The duel over the dual citizenship

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on October 11, 2019 with No Comments

What Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is coming back to haunt him. He had different rules when it came to dual citizenship of Michaëlle Jean, and Stéphane Dion & Tom Mulcair. If Scheer had concerns about politicians with dual citizenship, he could have done something about his own status long ago.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer last week said that he has been honest about holding Canada-U.S. dual citizenship, and defended himself for not disclosing the same before by saying that no one has asked him about it before. He also said he has filed taxes with the U.S. under law but did not say how much he may have paid.

He is not the first leader to hold dual citizenship and with close to one million Canadians holding dual citizenship, he is as good as a common Canadian. The issue is not that the federal Conservative leader turns out to be officially American as well as Canadian, and it would be bizarre for Canadians to assume that he would have divided loyalties. But Andrew Scheer will have to blame himself only if the issue bites him when the Canadians go to vote on Oct 21.

As said earlier, he is not the first Canadian leader to hold dual citizenship, however, the important issue is how did the Conservative leader respond when other leaders were being confronted on the issue of dual citizenship.

Way back in 2005, Michaëlle Jean became Canada’s Governor General and it came out she was a citizen of both France and Canada. At that time, Andrew Scheer was a sitting Conservative Member of Parliament and contributed in making the issue a public concern.  Writing in a blog at that time, he asked his constituents how they felt about the matter. “Does it bother you that she is a dual citizenship,” Scheer asked. “Would it bother you if instead of French citizenship, she held U.S. citizenship?” However, he didn’t bother to mention in his blog that like Michaëlle Jean he too held dual citizenship. Again during the 2008 federal election, the Conservative party attacked then Liberal leader Stéphane Dion for his dual Canadian-French citizenship. And in 2015, the Conservatives were back at attacking, this time the then leader of NDP Tom Mulcair, because he held citizenship of both Canada and France.  Andrew Scheer on both occasion preferred to remain silent perhaps in an attempt to not to let Canadians know about his dual citizenship. Since he was aspiring to lead the Conservative party at that point of time, he found his action suitable to the needs of the time. And finding another opportunity so suitable to the needs of the time, he showed no mercy in attacking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when his pictures wearing brownface came out. “Once again we see with Justin Trudeau one set of rules for himself and one set of rules for the rest of us,” Scheer said.

What Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is coming back to haunt him. He had different rules when it came to dual citizenship of Michaëlle Jean, and Stéphane Dion & Tom Mulcair. If Scheer had concerns about politicians with dual citizenship, he could have done something about his own status long ago.

Voters have a lot to do and lot to consider. The issue of Canadian born Andrew Scheer holding US citizenship because his father was American-born will be a matter of concern for some, and his reactions and responses when other leaders came under the fire will be a matter of concern for many. Will the latter affect the results? Wait and watch!

The way you behaved then leaves you open to charges of hypocrisy now. If he’d thought there was nothing wrong with the Liberal government of the day naming a citizen of France as Canada’s Governor General, he would have never drawn attention to it in the first place.

Canadians, of course, will be the judge. Go back to 2005 in the weeks before Michaëlle Jean became Canada’s Governor General and it came out she was a citizen of both France and this country.

 

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