Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Opinion
Classified Sites

Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Bad policy remains on citizenship ceremonies

One year ago, former Brandon city councillor and longtime Manitoba politician Jim McCrae was appointed a judge with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Since his appointment, McCrae has presided over citizenship ceremonies in Winnipeg, Clear Lake and Thompson in Manitoba, as well as ceremonies in Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Iqaluit, Nunavut.

In that year, he has not had the chance to preside over a citizenship ceremony on his home turf here in Brandon, as the last such ceremony took place in October 2012. But McCrae will finally get that opportunity later this spring when the CIC will hold two citizenship ceremonies in the Wheat City.

Last week, a spokesperson with the CIC told the Sun that the first ceremony will be held June 5 at Waverly Park School, followed by another ceremony the next day at the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba’s Summer Fair.

Citizenship ceremonies were previously held in Brandon biannually for more than a decade, but were pulled in 2012 after operational guidelines were changed, stating that itinerant services should not be provided in locations less than 300 kilometres from a CIC office.

That has meant immigrants from western Manitoba who have earned the honour of Canadian citizenship have had to travel to Winnipeg or Clear Lake ceremonies in order to take part.

Until now, that is.

We are glad that efforts by the Provincial Exhibition and local politicians to bring the ceremonies back to Brandon have borne fruit. They have worked hard to bring the ceremonies back to Brandon, and we applaud them for it.

But we are concerned that the government’s policy has not actually changed. Worse still, there has never been any assurance that this spring’s double ceremony isn’t simply a one-off, meant to placate local voices of protest.

A government spokeswoman simply stated that the “CIC delivers itinerant services, as needed.”

“Many factors are considered when determining where itinerant services may be scheduled, including wait times, size of inventories, capacity, and other considerations, such as special events, historic and momentous occasions, and special circumstances,” she told the Sun.

The problem with the situation facing our city — and likely others in our position — is that the reason the government gave for the policy change in the first place was non-existent. We were thus left to assume that the change was merely a departmental cost-cutting measure by the federal government, as a means to help balance the budget.

That strikes a rather disheartening chord for those Canadians — and those who want to be — who believe citizenship in this country is a valuable thing to have. To our mind, the government’s action has cheapened citizenship in this country, and unnecessarily so.

As we’ve stated before on this page, for a community that has welcomed thousands of new immigrants over the last decade, news of the change has been difficult to accept, as having a local ceremony had become a source of pride.

Brandon should not be considered a “special circumstance” or any other definition under the factors listed by the government mouthpiece. That Manitoba’s second-largest city has been denied a citizenship ceremony on a mere technicality — we’re not close enough to Winnipeg — is an ill-considered move.

Throwing the city a few ceremony dates without considering a reversal of a bad policy decision, in our opinion, is a slap in the face.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 22, 2014

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

One year ago, former Brandon city councillor and longtime Manitoba politician Jim McCrae was appointed a judge with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Since his appointment, McCrae has presided over citizenship ceremonies in Winnipeg, Clear Lake and Thompson in Manitoba, as well as ceremonies in Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Iqaluit, Nunavut.

Please subscribe to view full article.

Already subscribed? Login to view full article.

Not yet a subscriber? Click here to sign up

One year ago, former Brandon city councillor and longtime Manitoba politician Jim McCrae was appointed a judge with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Since his appointment, McCrae has presided over citizenship ceremonies in Winnipeg, Clear Lake and Thompson in Manitoba, as well as ceremonies in Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Iqaluit, Nunavut.

Subscription required to view full article.

A subscription to the Brandon Sun Newspaper is required to view this article. Please update your user information if you are already a newspaper subscriber.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media