Saturday, December 09, 2006

Why won’t Tony answer?

Stephen Harper has now waded into this whole contrived dual citizenship nonsense, taking a thinly veiled cheap shot at Stephane Dion on the subject. Ladies and gentleman, our Prime Minister:

Stephen Harper took a thinly disguised jab at Stéphane Dion, subtly suggesting Friday the new Liberal leader might want to surrender his French citizenship.

The prime minister noted Gov.-Gen. Michaëlle Jean gave up her French citizenship shortly after being named to the vice-regal post.

“As you know the Governor General was faced with a similar decision and I certainly supported her decision when she gave up her (French) citizenship,” Mr. Harper said when asked about the matter.

“Obviously, I think everyone has a right to select options under the law, they have to use their own political judgment.”

Very Prime Ministerial Steve. But, ok. I would submit though that if such a precedent exists, and is being expanded as you suggest from just the vice-regal position, should that precedent not also include ministers of the crown? After all, cabinet ministers are very much in a position to set and influence government policy, and regularly have to meet and negotiate with their international counterparts. How many crowns can they be loyal to at once?

Which brings me to Tony Clement. Your Minister of Health was born in England. Manchester, to be exact. Is he a dual citizen? We don’t know, his office refused to return repeated media calls on the topic. Maybe he’ll return your calls Steve. Because, while I for one would never, ever question Tony’s commitment to Canada, other people might. What if he were participating in international negotiations on a health care issue involving England? Or dropping the puck at a Canada/England hockey game?

Of course it’s a silly argument to make, and I feel silly for making it. I’m just wondering though Steve, and I’ll ask you because you’ve now decided to toss your beret into the ring, if we’re expanding the precedent as you suggest just how far do you want to extend it? If you’re going to draw a line arbitrarily, say leaders but not cabinet, you need to explain why.

So, I ask Steve, is your Minister of Health a dual citizen? And if so, will you require him to renounce his British citizenship to remain in your cabinet? If you won't, why not?

P.S. Speaking of potential conflicts, when you're talking to Tony could you ask your health minister if he ever sold his stock in that pharmaceutical company?

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Larry Gambone said...

Truly laughable that the Harpocrit, our own version of Quisling, should question someone else's loyalty.

Torian said...

“As you know the Governor General was faced with a similar decision and I certainly supported her decision when she gave up her (French) citizenship,” Mr. Harper said when asked about the matter.

“Obviously, I think everyone has a right to select options under the law, they have to use their own political judgment.”

where did he question Dion's loyalty? Where is the "thinly disguised" jab?

He commented that he supported Jean when she had a similar decision and that everyone has the right to choose whether they do or don't give up the second citizenship.

Kyle said...

The thinly disguised jab is in the first quote:

"...I certainly supported her decision when she gave up her (French) citizenship."

And in the second:
"...they have to use their own political judgment.”

In other words, he was implying that if our GG did, then Dion should. And that he should do it because to not would be detrimental politically. Or it's going to be a point of contention, probably stirred by the Cons.

Anonymous said...

What to do....what to do. Keep the French citizenship, stand up for what you believe in and stay on the moral high ground or....dump the thing for some votes!! Or....keep the dual and tell Canadians how they should feel and if they dont feel that way call them bigots and Un-Canadian!! Or get rid of the French Citizenship, use it as an elecion issue, you know, Harper was questioning my loyalty stuff, neo-cons blah blah blah, soldiers on the streets, abortion bans and gays should marry today cuz the Cons are going to ban everything...blah blah blah...all that stuff!!! What is truly laughable is how no one in the Liberal machine saw this coming!! Like who runs that show anyways??
Go ahead and try to win the next election with a leader who has two citizenships...if it is that important let Canadians decide. Me?? I could care less. But whats fun, is watching Liberals twist and turn and spin and flip and flop over the very notion that joe-schmoe Canadian has the nerve and unmitigated gaull to question a Liberal hard it must be to bite your tongue and not lecture us on Canadian values, and blah blah blah we built this country we know whats good for you. This citizenship thing was never going to be about was and still is going to be about how Liberals talk down to and lecture to the average Canadian. So far...not so good.

Torian said...

come on, kyle, that's a HUGE stretch, and even you know it.

"in other words he was implying.."

That jab is not thin- it's non-existant.

loraine lamontagne said...

"Keep the French citizenship, stand up for what you believe in and stay on the moral high ground or...."
Obviously, Dion doesn't care about his French citizenship. However, he obviously cares about his mother's feelings. Is the concept of respecting your parents that is totally foreign to you and so many other Canadians, billg?

Anonymous said...

You may want to ask Harper how he feels about his good, good friend, Ted Morton. You know, the right-winged wacko who co-wrote the firewall letter with Harper and who recently ran for Premier of Alberta (lost - good thing). Mr. Morton has dual citizenship - U.S./Canada.


Anonymous said...

I'm curious about Myron Thompson. He is U.S. born (came from Colorado I believe in 1968) - does he carry dual citizenship? Diane Ablonzcy - born in U.S. as well - does she have dual citizenship?

I think perhaps this should all get checked out.

Harper and his double-standards.

Anonymous said...

In all honesty, is there not a differentiation when the person holding dual citizenship, also wants to be made the main spokesman for the country?

Having dual citizenship, in general, provides a fallback position, one not available to the rest of their fellow citizens.

These are not the times they used to be. People now see conflicts coming to countries where they still have family.

I am noticing a reticence, a tiny moment of going 'hmmm'... questionning what is really the full play going on behind the scenes.

Before, it might have been about one's immediate community, but we see now, how what is happening far away impacts our community.

There is a loss of control in some ways, a wanting to know whom can be trusted, and why actions are being taken here, that reflect what is going on there.

It is good to explore what it means to stand with one's country in these times.

Surely, we want to be certain that those who profess to love this country, and this country alone, cannot also be saying the same thing when they go to their 'other' country.

I think the sticky point, however each sees that to be, is not going to go away anytime soon....and it develops differently depending on what that second country's government is, and where it is with the many conflicts in mind.

Afterall, many of those countries see that person as theirs....end of story.

Many do not relinquish their right to hold that citizen responsible to that country.

If push comes to shove, what are we to do with that?

I think you are seeing how that is playing itself out lately...not necessarily a bad thing.

And I think it will continue to be in flux, as long as the world is so unstable and unpredictable.

People here are thinking out loud this time 'round.

Some may be grappling with this issue on some introductory level, finding it bubbling up to the surface for the first time.

Perhaps globalization is not everything some wanted to make it, or hoped it would be...and maybe for very good reasons.

A View From The Left said...

Anon at 1:49

Myron Thompson does indeed hold a US-Canada dual citizenship. Clearly Harper only cares about dual citizenships in other parties.

loraine lamontagne said...

The PM is Primus inter pares(first among equals). The same standards should apply equally to all ministers, including the PM. If dual citizenship is not acceptable for a Prime Minister, then it should not be tolerated for any minister.

Anonymous said...


The concept of First Among Equals is probably a little too arcane for Stephen Harper. He has proven through his actions that he does believe his minister are his equals. Understandably so; the concept is not found in American cabinets, so I doubt Steve has even heard of it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Loraine thanks for proving my point...question Dion and somehow your now someone who doesnt respect your parents...????
How in the hell could you twist that??? What about all the MP's who are catholic and voted for SSM?? Do they now not respect thier religion?? Like honest to freakin betsy you couldnt have proven my point better, and this is what will eventually cost the Liberals again...question Dion and now its.." hate your parents, dont respect your mother and you want to destroy Canada".
Thanks couldnt have made my point any better. I dont care about Dion's citizenship, but, I fully understand those that do...and this would have probably gone away if it wasnt handled in the usual Liberal way. Now as far as the rest of the comments go...each individual MP has to make up their own mind on dual citizenship...and thats all I was sayin' Loraine, I just dont think Dion has the balls to stick to his original statement that he will keep both...too bad, cuz I think that it would backfire on the Cons if they tried to use it as an election point. Now if Dion does give up the French citizenship after he said he wouldnt, does that make him a hipocrit?? This will get worse for him before it gets better, and, how the hell could no one see this coming??? And how on earth can anyone compare a regional MP like Myron Thompson to the leader of the Liberal Party??? If the good folks in Myrons riding dont want him to have dual citizenship they'll vote him out....yep..that pain in the ass thing called Democracy. So, if its moral and ethical and personal issue with Mr Dion...go to the polls with it....ya I thought so. There's a stamped envelope addressed to the French Embassy as we speak with Mr Dion's return address on it now. Whats next...going to the polls as the Environment Party??

loraine lamontagne said...

billg: how is Myron Thomson a regional MP? Isn't he a member of the Parliament of Canada?

Morton, on the other hand, I would agree is a regional MP.

I maintain that Dion's reasons for maintaining his French citizenship is because he loves and respects his mom.

canuckistanian said...

this "issue" is hilarious. i do hope the cons and dippers continue to use this cause it will invariably blow up in their face. no sentient being thinks this is an issue. if it was ok to have an immigrant (many actually) be the pm of a country of immigrants, than surely there is nothing wrong with a canadian-born person having another citizenship due to foreign law (jus sanguinis).

the answers from the knuckledraggers about turner, an immigrant, are telling. most argue that canada is british, so it is ok...hmmmm, discrimination??? indeed!!! ted morton, an american, who wrote the firewall letter...who is disloyal??? dianne abloncxy, an american, who has argued in favour of separating the west from canada...who is disloyal??? myron thompson, another yank, loyally serving his constituents...i guess he's disloyal too, somehow??? tony clement, a brit, where do his loyalties lie??? with big pharma and putting cosmetic choices before public health concerns (silicone boobies). any others...lets start the withunt; burn 'em...gather the villagers; i'll get the torches, you get the pitchforks; there's a FOREIGNER in our midst.

in a country of immigrants, how can this be an issue??? it can't, it isn't. it is a clever smear campaign to distract people from actual issues. clever enough to have gotten some putative liberals on should be ashamed of yourselves (you know who you are).

Devin Maxwell said...

Ummm. John Turner was Prime Minister wasn't he? Where was he born? This is the stupidest issue ever.

Anonymous said...

We are in different times now, than when Turner was PM.

Make of it what you will, but there are questions being asked, and considerations given to what dual citizenship could mean.

Seems like Liberals will have to get their minds around that one, too, if kicking and screaming....

It is pretty much a point to ponder when the Toronto papers are giving the nod to Dion to reconsider his stance...dithering will be seen for what it is, and used to be...his choice...

Penelope Persons said...

Well, Anon, you tell us what is different about these times, and what dual citizenship could mean. And who is asking the questions.... whatever they are.

Just so we can, like, exercise our own judgement on the risks to Canadian.... what? Security?

Tell us just what renouncing one's citizenship in another country could possibly mean. If Dion, for example. is suspected of setting France ahead of Canada - and why exclude the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, Citizenship & Immigration, National Defence, International Co-operation, all the various Ambassadors... If there is ever even the slightest chance that any of these representatives of Canada might be, might be what..?? Quislings? Shouldn't we ensure that they all get up and renounce any dual "allegiances"?

But how could we be sure that deep down, behind our backs, scrambled lines, meetings in dark churches.... these potential traitors might not still be doing what their masters abroad were telling them to do?

And while we're at it, let's disqualify anyone who might have other allegiances that might be harmful to the business of the country.

Let's start with Tony's unsold pharmaceutical stocks. People have been asking questions about the loyalty of the Minister of Health and former director of Prudential Chemicals, to the people of Canada vs, the shareholders of the company he still owns stock in.

Then there is David Emerson, the former President and CEO of Canfor, which holds extensive timber resources and operates manufacturing facilities in B.C., Alberta, Quebec and Washington State from which it produces softwood lumber, and kraft pulp and paper for markets around the world. Where were his loyalties in the Softwood Lumber Sell-out?

And why did the Prime Minister appoint these men in the first place, knowing about their conflicts of interest? What was he up to?

Next we need to ascertain who is an Evangelical Christian in case they are trying to advance a religious agenda, and those pesky Islamofacists, Jews, Palestinians and Lebanese "foreigners" with their own foreign policies... And why stop there? What about Chinese-born citizens, and on and on and on?

Let the one who is without any allegiance at all cast the first ... er, I mean, hold office in government.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Penny, the real question is for the Liberals to tackle now, as it is their guy that is in the news.

Sometimes life goes like that.

One person becomes the caalyst for debate...seems this time it is your guy.

Penelope Persons said...

As I see it, however, Anon, this potential "debate" could lead to our questioning everyone in the country's loyalty.

It could also feed the need of governments to come up with rules, laws and more rules and laws - even about where people should spit!!

Not a bad idea, come to think of it... how about trash cans?

But perhaps a debate will show the frivolity of worrying about M. Dion's unsolicited French citizenship. There is really no concern about Dion's loyalty any more than there is any assurance of the loyalty of anyone else.

In a democracy, we don't ask people to prove they have stopped beating their wives. We assume people are innocent, so to speak, unless they have given us reason to think otherwise.

For some reason this reminds me of a discussion I had recently about a friend's love life. Can you imagine how anyone would find a partner without an initial assumption of trust?

Not that one should be incautious, but we don't normally assume that everyone who approaches us is an axe murderer.

Anonymous said...

The issue for anyone with a second citizenship is that some of those other countries play hard.

They think that even if one of theirs disavows themselves of their citizenship, that they are good to go with one...some countries will say, 'Not so fast...we decide when you are a citizen and for now, you are one of ours, and you shall live by our rules.'

Not France, I suspect, but who knows...maybe they care...

But Dion has opened himself up to speculations about the 'what-ifs'.

In truth I think many people now read the news items, and jump to conclusions about a lot of things.

The justice system may read rights as innocent until, but people...regular citizens...nah...not so much...

Dion has this hot potato in his lap...and I have to wonder if "Hot, Hot, Hot" is feeling so comfy now...

He is under a microscope of his own making, just as the others are...we shall see how he does with it...

Anonymous said...

There's a MAJOR difference in the GG's French citizenship and Dion's. The GG "obtained" hers because of her husband who is French. Dion "inherited" his because his mother is French. I don't think Dion's "honorary" citizenship gives him full rights in France, at least that's what I've heard.

Interesting about Myron Thompson - he came here from Colorado in 1968 which would appear to me he came here as a draft dodger during Viet Nam - if so, he should be appreciative of the Liberals/Trudeau instead of trying to Americanize Canada.

Diane Ablonzcy was also born in the U.S. and what I find hypocrital is that she was an "active" member of the Western Concepts...Party - the party that wants to separate Wpg,Sask,Alta, B.C. and NWT from Canada and to maintain Christian European values - loyalty to Canada??? Does she carry dual citizenship?

While Dion was defending a "federalist" Canada - Harper was making speeches to American right-wing think tanks whose members include Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld -putting down his own country.

Quite frankly, I question the loyalty of Harper and his U.S./Canada MP's.

Anonymous said...

Penny, you forgot Harpor's appointment of former lobbyiest O'connor to the seat of defence, where now he is able to help direct work to his former employers. Funny thing, that! It's free game to question someone's birthright but corporate connections are off-limits in Harpor's world.
Let's not forget this witch hunt is just a new version of what they played against Arar and the Liberals during those dark days -- where the whispers of some American agent, somewhere (WMD, anyone?) said that this Canadian was a terrorist, plain and simple, then whisked him away to sunny Syria... How the CRAP Day, Harpor and Ablonczy are trying to whitewash that Hansard record. Maybe they can bring in a bill to detact that document, perhaps?
Dion has never exercised his dual citizenship, has only displayed the most loyal and passionate actions for Canada. This country essentially is built by people with 'divided loyalties', other than our First Nations. The Cons are trying to stir something up that is absurd, and disturbing that the NdP have sunk to that level. Must be reading the polls, lately.