The fraud charges against people helping others to get Canadian citizenship only to access socio economic advantages and/or as a means of “political insurance” should focus our minds on the question of what citizenship really means. What does it mean to us to be a Canadian citizen?
I will come back to question that another day, but an even more pressing question is one that the Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, asked during the press conference announcing that a few thousand people would be stripped of their citizenship: Why did previous governments not do this before? Or, if you want less politicizing of the question, why did the RCMP not investigate such cases before?
We heard about why it’s being done now. The minister was contacted a few years ago by members from various communities with tips about the fraudulent practices. The minister followed through. But it’s hard to imagine that no previous other ministers were ever contacted with similar information, and even harder to think about why they would not follow through.
Jason Kenney made sure to thank and give the agencies involved in the current investigation their due –as he should. But there is room for some hard investigative reporting to answer questions as to why before 2008, there does not appear to have been much of an appetite to pursue such fraud.
It’s not necessary to pursue the question with vengeance in mind, or with the intent to punish. That’s why it should not be state agents who pursue the issue, but we should pursue the question so that we can learn from it.