The Honourable Ahmed Hussein, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has proposed a change to the Citizenship oath to insert text referring to the rights of the indigenous population.
Marco Mendicino on Tuesday initiates a bill to amend the Citizenship Act to include the new language.
The new language would insert a reference to the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Métis and Inuit population.
If the change is approved and passed into law, the new oath will read:
“I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully obey the laws of Canada, including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty right of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.”
“The oath is a solemn declaration that all new immigrants recite during the citizenship ceremony,” Mendicino assert.
“With this amendment, we will take the essential step towards reconciliation by encouraging newcomers to fully appreciate and respect the important role of Indigenous People informing Canada’s fabric and identity.”
Taking the Citizenship Oath is the last step before receiving Canadian citizenship. The Citizenship Oath is a solemn promise to follow the laws of Canada and to observe the new citizen’s duties as a Canadian citizen. It is a public declaration that the new Canadian is joining the Canadian family and that the new citizen is responsible for Canadian values and traditions.
The proposed change comes after the Canadian government consulted indigenous organizations. Indigenous people make up Five (5) per cents of Canada’s population of more than 1.6 million people.
Meanwhile, the Liberals party, under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are also planning to cancel the Canadian citizenship fee.
Trudeau’s proposal to cancel the $630 citizenship application fee ($530 for processing and $100 ‘right of citizenship’ fee) is estimated to cost taxpayers $100 million per year.
The fee was greatly increased under the last Conservative government and has been blamed for a reduced rate of permanent residents to becoming citizens.
The proposal was initiated as part of the Liberal manifesto ahead of the federal election in October 2019. But, with the Liberals forming a minority government in Congress, it will need the support of MPs from other political parties to become law.
After coming to power in 2015, the Liberals already made it less stressful for permanent residents to become Canadian citizens, returning the physical presence requirements to three (3) years in the last (5) five.
The last Conservative government had pushed up the requirement to four years in the last six.