Saturday, September 30, 2006

The quality of mercy: Canadians in limbo edition

My father came to Canada as a political refugee under the Geneva Conventions in 1965. So I have a vested interest in what I am about to say, but I have to say it. It is simply wrong for God's Annointed Servant (TM) to, on the one hand, grant honourary citizenship to the Dalai Lama saying he is the kind of person we would want to be a Canadian (although, for the record, I do believe Tenzin Gyatso deserves the honour no less than Raoul Wallenberg and Nelson Mandela); while on the other hand, declare that the kids of those who came to Canada during World War II to escape the bombardment of the UK have lost their Canadian citizenship because nationality was granted to their mothers and not their fathers -- and thus are going to be deported.

In the coming weeks, thousands face expulsion because of this sexist and totally bombastic legal principle. It simply doesn't make sense. They're members of Canadian society and pay taxes to Canada. They are ours, not theirs. Surely this is a case that calls for mercy and common sense.

I have no tolerance for those who deliberately break the rules just to leach off our good nature and collect benefits without any intention of ever working.. I do think a way should be found to integrate those who have been here for years and are otherwise law-abiding members of society. But when it comes to a case like this, where people came here in good faith and on the understanding they would become Canadians the moment they came here, we should keep our promise -- whether they earned it through the matrilineal or patrilineal lines.

Shakespeare reminded us the Lord's Prayer says that as we pray for mercy, we must also render the deeds of mercy. Stephen Harper should do the right thing and grant amnesty for those caught in this ridiculous limbo.

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