Dear Jack and Pat,
It was with interest that I read recently your contention that that leaders of political parties should not hold not hold dual citizenship.
I have to say I don’t agree with your position there, but luckily the right to spirited debate and differing opinions is consistent with both Canadian and French citizenship, so I think we’re on safe ground there.
I would appreciate it though if you could enlighten and clarify your position here a bit for me, so I could better understand how it is in the spirit of the social democratic ideals that the New Democratic Party was founded on, and strives every day to uphold.
According to Statistics Canada, appx. 557,000 Canadians, or 1.8 per cent of the population, hold dual citizenship. We’ve established that you feel they shouldn’t be party leaders. I’m wondering, are there any other positions you feel they should be excluded from?
At least 41 Members of Parliament were born in other countries, and therefore may hold or be entitled to hold dual citizenship. This includes a number of your own caucus members. For example, Peter Stoffer was born in the Netherlands, Libby Davies was born in England and of course your partner, Olivia Chow, was born in Hong Kong. All three make strong contributions to the House of Commons, and I think their cultural backgrounds are assets that contribute to a greater and more vibrant debate that truly reflects the diversity of a multicultural Canada.
If you feel that dual citizens shouldn’t be party leaders though, is that where you draw the line or would you include MPs? How about provincial premiers and legislators? Mayors? Supreme Court justices? School district trustees?
I’m just looking to better understand the limits the NDP feels multicultural Canadians should face in Canada before they’re forced to abandon their heritage. I appreciate your willingness to help me better understand your position.
Yours in solidarity,
P.S. You may be interested in reading what some members of your party feel about your policy here.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Dear Jack and Pat,