Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dion shouldn't be so selfish

Were he ever to become Prime Minister of Canada, Stephane Dion would likely serve Canada loyally. Despite his dual citizenship, Dion is hardly likely to side with France on matters that go against our national interest, but given that Quebec, the Liberals and France tend to hold similar positions on many political matters, it's unlikely that Dion's loyalty would ever be tested anyway.

But that isn't the issue.

The question should not be whether Stephane Dion can be loyal to Canada while he holds dual citizenship with France, the question should be -- if Stephane Dion is not expected to renounce his French citizenship while coveting the highest office in the land, what kind of precident does that set for future political aspirants whose dual citizenship is with a less 'friendly' or perhaps a hostile nation?

Dion's attitude is one of self-interest, a hallmark of Liberal rule.

Ask yourself how the Liberals would react if a Conservative leader had dual Canadian/US citizenship regardless of the circumstances by which it were acquired.

No situation is isolated. This controversy is bound to come up again in the future as more and more people hold dual citizenship and at least some are likely to enter politics.

If Dion is not expected to renounce his French citizenship as part of his journey toward the PMO, then how could we demand anyone renounce foreign citizenship, even if their alternative citizenship is with a beligerant nation?

Dion's resistance to discussing the matter is troubling. He obviously doesn't have the ability to think outside himself, and he hasn't the foresight to envision how this might play out in the future when it is no longer about him.

This is disappointing, but not surprising in a Liberal leader.



kevvyd said...

Last time I checked, we live in a democracy. If someone with a less "friendly" dual citizenship, we the electorate have the option to say "no, we think that maybe we don't like you". That's perfectly fine, nay, it's even democratic.

Heck, perhaps we'll say that to Dion this time around - who knows? If many Canadians feel as you do about his citizenship, then political pressure alone would be enough to force him to give up his status. That's the way of it - if we don't like it, and his party knows we don't, then either he will be overthrown from within, will run and lose, or he will relinquish his French citizenship.

If this is seriously a problem, then lets get down to brass tacks and make a law that limits who can run for office. If one can be crafted that would survive challenge from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, then we have no problem.

Canadi-anna said...

kevvyd -- your view is simplistic. 'Don't vote for him' is hardly a helpful answer to a question of national importance. Dion might be loyal as might all dual citizens -- but given that we can't know what's in everyone's heart, or what circumstances might create a division or change in loyalty, better not to allow the situation in the first place -- which is why there are conflict of interest laws. Good intentions are fine, but we don't allow people to serve two masters on the honour system when it comes to business and government -- why would we allow it when national security is in the balance?

You're right that political pressure might force him to renounce his French citizenship, but his haughty, indignance to reporters daring to ask questions about it indicates he's not a good listener.

It shouldn't go so far as requiring a law. Precident should suffice if Dion stands up about this.

kevvyd said...

We do not know what's really in anyone's heart, so why should a dual citizen be any more suspect? That's just bizarre.

In any case, it should go as far as requiring a law if this is valud - you as much as argue the point in your first paragraph. Precedent should *not* suffice if this is a valid concern. If we indeed do not want those with dual citizenship to run for office, or just high office, or whatever we choose, then we should enshrine that in law.

Clarity is always best for all concerned.

Canadi-anna said...

kevvyd - give yer head a shake. Someone with dual citizenship is going to be 'suspect' when it comes to divided loyalties. In the interest of fairness do we have to check common sense at the door?

As for making a law, no. Not everything needs to be enshrined and dictated by law. Forcing the renunciation of a second citizenship is imposing loyalty, not guaranteeing it.
Dion, in renouncing French citizenship would be setting a standard for future leadership hopefuls. Should he not renounce it, it should become a major ballot issue -- but there shouldn't have to be laws for everything. That's the problem with liberals -- you want to impose your judgements on people.
I am against him keeping his French citizenship because I think it has the potential to affect national security in the future, but I'm not willing to legislate his conscience.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that M Dion faces no conflict as a result of his dual citizenship.

While France shirks its duty to NATO in Afghanistan, Canadian soldiers fight and die on the front lines.

M. Dion does not convince me that he would take whatever actions might be necessary to force France to properly live upto its NATO commitments.

Do YOU believe that M Dion would forcefully protect Canada's interests in NATO in this situation?

Canadi-anna said...

Good point, anonymous.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...


I'm so confused.

You think this may be a national security issue, but you don't want to legislate it?

It's absolutely essential, but it should be left up to Dion?

We're so concerned about the potential disloyalty of dual citizens that you feel it's "better not to allow the situation in the first place" but you're not willing to write it down?

You're essentially saying to me that I shouldn't be able to run for Prime Minister unless I renounce my British citizenship first. You say this is common sense. It's too important to leave up to the will of the voters. Yet you're willing to leave it all up to the candidate's whim? How can something be too important to leave up to the voters, and not important enough to legislate???

Either this isn't really that important, and you're involking national security and potential disloyalty as rhetoric in a meaningless argument over a situation not worth legislating... or, you'd like to limit the democratic rights of thousands of Canadians to aspire to the highest office in the land, without having to pass a law that says you're doing that. You seem to want the full effect of law to stop this potential disaster, yet you just don't want to pass a law that deals with this issue. Feels to me like you're using the term "precedence" as a means of saying "I want this to be law, but I don't want to be seen wanting this to be law".

"No Sir, you're not required to swear a loyalty oath to come in, but if you won't swear a loyalty oath you can't come in". Is that it?

Anonymous said...

Anyone seeking any high position in government including the highest office of this great country MUST have no tint of doubt in him or her where their loyalties lie. There should be no rationalization here, no exception.

Common people who take on dual/triple/multiple citizenship will not have their fingers of a nuclear bomb trigger if Canada has one. These people will do.

Gargoyle said...

I dislike the idea of dual-citizenship, on principle. I feel that if Canadian citizenship is not enough of a privilege, then perhaps one should renounce it. I have Canadian citizenship and I have no need for another. I do not need an escape clause. And I am not defined by where my mother happened to be born. I am defined by where I was born and where I have lived my whole life.

Dion doesn't understand this and many other examples of logic. He is clearly not up to the job.

Canadi-anna said...

lord kitchener's own -- I think in Dion's case it isn't national security, but that it could potentially be that someday with a different person, different second country.

I think legislating on an issue of conscience is hardly going to impose loyalty, rather it will create a false sense of a person's loyalty while giving no true indication of their actual feelings.

What I'm saying, is that ideally, a person wanting to be PM would take steps to ensure that there is no question about divided loyalties.

kevvyd said...

Canadianna, Like Lord Kitch, I'm still confused as to why this is so important, yet shouldn't be legislated. We legislate issues of conscience all of the time - that's basically what laws are. Why should this be any different?

Mark Dowling said...


Dion's citizenship was unsought but by birthright and he has not exercised voting or passport rights.

John Turner was born in England and it wasn't the end of the world. Not for that reason anyway.

Canadi-anna said...

kevvyd- we might legislate matters of conscience, but forcing someone to renounce their citizenship doesn't give us any indication of their feelings on the issue.
While I believe that it's an important issue, and one that Dion should not be dismissing so lightly (we have the right to ask about it) I will reitterate -- forced loyalty could just be false loyalty -- it would serve no purpose to impose singular citizenship on PM hopefuls.

If Dion does renounce his French citizenship, he sets a precident that would likely be followed by people in the same circumstances in the future and that precident negates the need for legislation. If he doesn't renounce and gives a valid reason why he shouldn't have to, then no person in his position, regardless of second country, should be forced to do so and legislation is unnecessary.
Why is it that liberals can't get that some things should just be up to people themselves with no state intervention. I believe public pressure should be the force that will have Dion renounce his French citizenship, or at least make him feel compelled to answer valid questions civilly. If he is clear and compelling as to why this isn't an issue, let him stop being haughty and snotty.

Mark -- John Turner was a man of a different era. Back then, I don't think most people would have been too worried about the future implications with people from hostile nations.

Miles Lunn said...

I don't see it in Dion's case as a serious issue at least not enough to affect how I will vote. I think he would be far better PM and from his actions he seems just as loyal to Canada as Harper if not more so when you consider how much effort he put into saving the country from the separtist.

That being said the one weakness with holding dual citizenships is other countries might question whether our leader is deciding on behalf of Canada or the country they hold citizenship in, since the idea of dual citizenship while legal elsewhere, is not widely accepted as it is in Canada. If we are trying to be a mediator between France and a third country, I would hope the third country wouldn't refuse to cooperate with us because of this. In addition I still am a strong believer in the idea of nation state and national sovereignty as well as patriotism towards where someone lives. Part of the reason I have been so critical of Harper is I feel he is too American at times and too willing to follow them. If I were Dion I would just renounce it to get the issue out of the way so we can focus on the real issues and kick Harper out of office.

DJeffery said...

Mark in dealing with any bureaucracy not only must your desires be sought, but sought patiently:

Certified confirmed copy of his mother's French birth certificate from a French Embassy
Copy of his mother's Livret de Famille;
Copy of his mother's French identification card;
Four passport photos of himself.

"Livret de Famille" is a "family tree" booklet that all French citizens have.

I found the following on wikipedia. I wonder if he knows the decision is out of his hands?: "A section of the French civil code forbids French citizens from holding government or military positions in other countries..."