Sunday, November 29, 2009

515)SECTION 4: RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF CITIZENSHIP; The Stephen Harper Government's Citizenship Guide; Quotes Of Minister Jason Kenney

Among the tens of thousands of people from six continents who visit my Blog there must be a significant number who may show an interest in becoming Canadian citizens now or in the future. Consequently I am showcasing on my Blog the Stephen Harper Conservative Government's magnificent new Citizenship Guide for prospective Canadian citizens unveiled on November 12th 2009, the day after Rememberance Day. When I read the online version of this booklet I came away feeling a deep sense of awe and admiration for the country I have lived in for the past 36 years, 5 as a landed immigrant and 31 as a citizen. Indeed this booklet should not just be required reading for prospective Canadians but also for established Canadian citizens of all ages. It's always refreshing to remind ourselves about our secular democracy-its evolution, history, system of government, regions, rights and responsibilities, justice system, economy, symbols, achievements and much, much more. The text of the booklet has been carefully researched and well written and the many photographs wisely chosen. While I have reproduced all the text from the Guide in the following Blogposts one cannot fully appreciate the material without also looking at the photographs and their captions. For that reason each Blogpost has two links to the original page on the Citizenship And Immigration Canada(CIC) website, one at the beginning and one at the end of the post.

On another forum I made the following comment to commemorate Rememberance Day on November 11th 2009: Canada is a stable secular democratic state with a solid, longstanding and admirable history. It is not a disparate bunch of autonomous multicultural fiefdoms as some political parties would have you beleive. Canada is the Magna Carta(1215), War of 1812, British North America Act(1867), Boer War(1899-1902), Vimy Ridge, Ypres and Paschendale(1914-1918), Dieppe, Monte Cassino, D-Day, Juno Beach, Belgium and Holland(1939-1945), Korean War(1950-1953), Cold War(1917-1989), Vietnam War(1960's) and Afghanistan(post 2001).

Study Guide – Discover Canada
The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship


Canadian citizens have rights and responsibilities. These come to us from our history, are secured by Canadian law, and reflect our shared traditions, identity, and values.

Canadian law has several sources, including laws passed by Parliament and the provincial legislatures, English common law, the civil code of France, and the unwritten constitution that we have inherited from Great Britain.

Together, these secure for Canadians an 800-year old tradition of ordered liberty, which dates back to the signing of Magna Carta in 1215 in England (also known as the Great Charter of Freedoms), including:

1)Freedom of conscience and religion;
2)Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of speech and of the press;
3)Freedom of peaceful assembly; and
4)Freedom of association.

Habeas corpus, the right to challenge unlawful detention by the state, comes from English common law.

(Picture)Queen Elizabeth II proclaimingthe amended Constitution,Ottawa, 1982

The Constitution of Canada was amended in 1982 to entrench the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which begins with the words, “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” This phrase underlines the importance of religious traditions to Canadian society and the dignity and worth of the human person.

The Charter attempts to summarize fundamental freedoms while also setting out additional rights. The most important of these include:

1)Mobility Rights — Canadians can live and work anywhere they choose in Canada, enter and leave the country freely, and apply for a passport.
2)Aboriginal Peoples’ Rights — The rights guaranteed in the Charter will not adversely affect any treaty or other rights or freedoms of Aboriginal peoples.
3)Official Language Rights and Minority Language Educational Rights — French and English have equal status in Parliament and throughout the government.
4)Multiculturalism — A fundamental characteristic of the Canadian heritage and identity. Canadians celebrate the gift of one another’s presence and work hard to respect pluralism and live in harmony.

The Equality of Women and Men

In Canada, men and women are equal under the law. Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, “honour killings,” female genital mutilation, or other gender-based violence. Those guilty of these crimes are severely punished under Canada’s criminal laws.

Citizenship Responsibilities

In Canada, rights come with responsibilities. These include:

1)Obeying the law — One of Canada’s founding principles is the rule of law. Individuals and governments are regulated by laws and not by arbitrary actions. No person or group is above the law.
2)Taking responsibility for oneself and one’s family — Getting a job, taking care of one’s family, and working hard in keeping with one’s abilities, are important Canadian values. Work contributes to personal dignity and self-respect, and to Canada’s prosperity.
3)Serving on a jury — When called to do so, you are legally required to serve. Serving on a jury is a privilege that makes the justice system work, as it depends on impartial juries made up of citizens.
4)Voting in elections — The right to vote comes with a responsibility to vote in federal, provincial or territorial and local elections.
5)Helping others in the community — Millions of volunteers freely donate their time to help others without pay—helping people in need, assisting at your child’s school, volunteering at a food bank or other charity, or encouraging newcomers to integrate. Volunteering is an excellent way to gain useful skills and develop friends and contacts.
6)Protecting and enjoying our heritage and environment — Every citizen has a role to play in avoiding waste and pollution while protecting Canada’s natural, cultural, and architectural heritage for future generations.

Defending Canada

There is no compulsory military service in Canada. However, serving in the regular Canadian Forces (navy, army and air force) is a noble way to contribute to Canada and an excellent career choice ( You can serve in your local part-time navy, militia, and air reserves and gain valuable experience, skills, and contacts. Young people can learn discipline, responsibility, and skills by getting involved in the cadets (

You may also serve in the Coast Guard or emergency services in your community such as a police force or fire department. By helping to protect your community, you follow in the footsteps of Canadians before you who made sacrifices in the service of our country.

Quotes Of Canadian Minister Of Citizenship, Immigration And Multiculturalism Hon. Jason Kenney(2009):

1)When you become a citizen, you're not just getting a travel document into Hotel Canada.
2)I think it's scandalous that someone could become a Canadian not knowing what the poppy represents, or never having heard of Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Dieppe or Juno Beach.
3)We mention freedom of conscience and freedom of religion as important rights but we also make it very clear that our laws prohibit barbaric cultural practices, they will not be tolerated, whether or not someone claims that such practices are protected by reference to religion.
4)I think we need to reclaim a deeper sense of citizenship, a sense of shared obligations to one another, to our past, as well as to the future, a kind of civic nationalism where people understand the institutions, values and symbols that are rooted in our history.

Easy Nash