Bill S-245 would change the law so if a Canadian parent could demonstrate a “substantial connection” to Canada, their child would again qualify for a passport.
It would also reinstate citizenship for a group of people born between 1977 and 1981, classified as “second generation born abroad,” who failed to reaffirm their citizenship by the age of 28.
The bill has passed through the Senate and most of its Commons stages, including in committee.
“We support the bill and encourage all parties to do so as well,” said Bahoz Dara Aziz, spokesperson for Immigration Minister Marc Miller.
But the NDP’s immigration critic Jenny Kwan accused the Conservatives of stalling its progress and “playing petty political games,” including filibustering debate at committee, to reduce its chances of becoming law.
She accused the sponsor of the Senate bill in the Commons, Conservative MP Jasraj Singh Hallan, of slowing the bill’s passage in the House by twice switching its scheduled third reading debate with another bill. Mr. Hallan and Tom Kmiec, the Conservative immigration critic, would not comment.
“Canada needs to fix the lost Canadians issue once and for all. The Conservatives were wrong to strip the right of parents to pass on their Canadian citizenship to their second-generation-born-abroad children 14 years ago,” she said. “In the case of William and Jack Cowling, it means they do not have the legal status to work in Canada and the family farm that has been in their family for six generations is now in jeopardy.”
Asked by NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan about the exploitation of migrant workers who are tied to their employers, Mr. Miller said he was looking at reforming closed work permits, and was working with Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault on changes that may be unveiled within months.