Conservatives slam Liberals on new citizenship guide

Michelle Rempel

MICHELLE Rempel, Critic for Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship, has slammed the Liberals for lowering Canadian standards in a new citizenship guide that they are reportedly set to issue.

Rempel said in a statement: “Canada’s citizenship guide is a key source of information about the story of Canada for those who have chosen to be Canadian and want to help our country grow and prosper. As Conservatives, we always want to tell the story of Canada because we are proud of it. We also want to reinforce with new Canadians the importance of democratic institutions and principles that make Canada the greatest country in the world.

“Reports indicate that the Liberals have removed references to female genital mutilation (FGM) in the guide under the equality of women and men section. It is also being reported that the new guide divides the responsibilities of citizenship into ‘voluntary’ and ‘mandatory’ categories. Voluntary responsibilities now include ‘respecting human rights’.

“We should all be very concerned that the Liberals do not have a plan to address the rise of this horrific act of violence against women. Ignoring this issue will not help its victims. Canada’s laws differ from many places where FGM is common. Newcomers need to know that in Canada violence against women is not tolerated. We call on the government to acknowledge the growing trend of FGM and inform Canadians of the steps they will take to protect victims from this practice.

“Standing up to protect the rights of women and girls is important to Canadians. Removing mentions of honour killings and FGM from this document sends the wrong message.”

Rempel also expressed concern about not only what was removed, but what has been added to the guide. According to media reports, the guide will include quotes from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Unfortunately Justin Trudeau and the Liberals want to politicize what is supposed to be a non-partisan citizenship guide, by adding quotes from Mr. Trudeau. This guide is not meant to be free advertising for the Liberal Party and Justin Trudeau – Liberal Party does not equal Canada,” said Rempel.