Friday, December 08, 2006

French Whine

Surprisingly enough, the first major attack launched by the NDP and CPC on Stephane Dion is an assault on his dual Canadian-French citizenship. Despite all the bad blood among many of the contenders in the leadership race, we never even heard a whisper campaign about this (of course, had he been a dual Canadian-American citizen I doubt he could have won, but that's a rant for another day).

Dion appears to be going against his French instincts by refusing to surrender on this one. If he sticks to his guns, I don't think we'll see much political fallout from this, if only because it's easy to wrap yourself in the flag when defending it - "Canada is a great country because it is made up of people from many backgrounds. My loyalty is unquestionably to this great country which is why I've spent my life fighting for it." Or something like that.

Still, the question of whether the Prime Minister should be allowed to have dual citizenship is a tricky one. Michaëlle Jean gave up her French citizenship after she was named Governor General and if we're going to require that of a figurehead, surely the same standard should be applied to the leader of the government, n'est-ce-pas?

So while Dion could certainly hold his own in the duel over dual citizenship, in my opinion he likely should voluntarily give it up as a sign he's ready to be Prime Minister.

55 Comments:

  • On that note, may I direct you here?

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 12:34 AM  

  • Well, that's good to see. At least the guy is willing to be pragmatic about it.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:36 AM  

  • I think Dion is insulting France.

    Like the NP's editorial said today, if he's 100% committed to Canada and loyal to Canada, why hold the citizenship for a country that you feel nothing for?

    By Blogger Manitoba Liberal, at 1:00 AM  

  • Hahahah, honestly CG, where do you get your penchant for titles?

    By Blogger Clear Grit, at 1:07 AM  

  • On another note, workers for the Bob Rae camp have dropped to a new low. They still have not gotten over their loss and they are trying to taint Gerard Kennedy, by implying he is anti-Jewish. Pure garbage.
    What next?
    The Rae camp just keeps looking worse and worse over time.

    By Blogger jnpliberal, at 1:09 AM  

  • Incidentally, I'd really hate to see him have to fold on this one. The French citizenship thing seems to be important to him, not because of any feelings towards France, but because it holds a special significance with regards to his mother.

    By Blogger Clear Grit, at 1:09 AM  

  • I don't think he should give it up even if he does become PM. It's a good symbol of the multiculturalism that Canada embraces, and we all know that Dion is nothing but loyal to Canada.

    By Blogger Charlie Barnard, at 1:12 AM  

  • His advisers finally woke up and slapped him upside the head. It'll be renounced in a month or so.

    Cheers,
    lance

    By Blogger lance, at 2:03 AM  

  • "...against his French instincts by refusing to surrender..."

    Ouch!

    By Blogger Technetium, at 2:24 AM  

  • I think the case with the GG was quite different, as her loyalty to Canada arguably was is question. Indeed, it was a reasonable inference that she was a sovereigntist.

    Dion, on the other hand, has been committed to Canada ever since some federalist couple plied him with with Rum and Pepsi when he was 18, as the story goes.

    It's apples to oranges.

    By Blogger Peter Loewen, at 5:06 AM  

  • Actually, I don't think he should voluntarily give it up. If we want PMs (or CabMins or party leaders) to be only-Canadian, then there should be legislation stipulating so.

    Pat Martin is an opportunistic, shallow, dishonest asshole (IOW, an MP). If he had any honest motivation, he would have introduced such legislation -- which I'd have no problem with.

    This is all a dust-up just for the sake of having an Attack-Dion dust-up. Too bad we can't hang MPs. If Harper had a US or Australian or French passport, the CPC would be in knots justifying it - same for the NDP (incl. Pat Martin) for Jack Layton.

    Please, you fuck-ups, get back back to work trying to run country.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 7:02 AM  

  • Yes Peter, I agree - Jean's loyalty to Canada was in serious question. If she hadn't been running around championing separatists, it wouldn't have been such a huge issue.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 7:04 AM  

  • "duel"

    By Blogger Q, at 7:45 AM  

  • Is it purely about the optics then? I would HATE to see him fold over this.It will be an insult to all dual citizens who are 100% loyal to Canada but hold on to their original citizenship due to sentimental reasons. It will also be a sign that Ezra Levant the nutcase has power.

    By Blogger mezba, at 9:07 AM  

  • Maybe it's time to ditch multiculturalism? A Prime Minister of a country should be someone who was born here. Since it is not our law, have him renounce his french citizenship. The libs would have been howling if Harper held American citizenship dont you think?

    By Blogger Rositta, at 9:54 AM  

  • 1) I don't think the PM should have dual citzenship, though I'm not fussed if MPs or cabinet ministers do;

    2) If someone has dual citizenship from bitrth, I can see how it wouldn't become an issue until someone decides to raie it;

    3) If SD climbs down on this and renounces his French citizenship, it strikes me as the right thing to do in the long run and not a big deal either way.

    By Blogger Herb, at 10:13 AM  

  • Jeez, I really should proofread my posts before hitting "Publish".

    By Blogger Herb, at 10:13 AM  

  • Much ado about nothing. He inherited from his mom at birth. Apparently, if one generation does not renew it, it's lost to the family forever. As many have pointed out, Dion's "Canadianness" has never been in doubt.

    I could have taken out another European country's citizenship prior to my dad's death but never did. I wouldn't have felt less Canadian had I done so.

    I wonder if his kids are also dual citizens.

    By Blogger Abrawang, at 10:59 AM  

  • I think this is all nonsense.

    Canadian citizens are permitted to have dual citizenship. Until that changes, Dion should neither need to give up or justify keeping his dual citizenship. I fail to see why a right given to all Canadians does not apply to the Prime Minister.

    By Blogger Danma Takizawa, at 11:03 AM  

  • Unless you see him keeping it as a symbol for the millions of Canadians who hold (or are entitled to hold) dual citizenship.

    Remember Dion has never held a French passport. I think this would be the equivalent of asking a Jew to renounce the right of return to Israel.

    By Blogger Jason Cherniak, at 11:44 AM  

  • Just be glad that Ezra and the NDP raised this issue now and not during a campaign. Wouldn't Libs feel a lot worse if they had rolled out the cannons in support of Dion's "I won't renounce" just to have him backpedal to the pragmatic "I could be convinced to renounce" if it happened when voters are paying attention?

    This sort of flip flop is not the type of error that moves votes en masse but it does piss off loyalists in small groups and many small groups taken together makes a large group. In other better hope this isn't the start of a pattern.

    By Blogger Rhetoric, at 12:05 PM  

  • "Pat Martin is an opportunistic, shallow, dishonest asshole"

    The French citizenship would be a bigger issue in western Canada, where the NDP has much of it's base. It's shameful that the French issue would be used for political gain, we know the Liberals would never bash the US for cheap political points.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 12:22 PM  

  • "Remember Dion has never held a French passport."

    Jason, Mansbridge corrected Dion on that last night. he correctly pointed out that the issue wasn't that Dion had never held a passport, but that he could.

    Cheers,
    lance

    By Blogger lance, at 12:27 PM  

  • This whole arguement is very American. We celebrate multiculturalism in Canada and don't expect people to conform to some ficticious identity.

    Mr. Dion is half French period. His mother is French and Canadian end of story. To say he has to deny his mother in order to be Prime Minister is barbaric, zenophobic and outragiously American. Dual Citizenship also allows Canada to be a global leader in such fields as trade with China etc., by the way. It is one of the reasons we are poised to do much better in the 21st century globally than the American Empire. I can't even believe this conversation is going on, far less being entertained by Liberals.

    Michael Jean represents the Queen in Canada and is our head of State an entirely different situation than an elected Prime MInister. It was the Queen's office that could not be represented by a French National, for legitimate historic and diplomatic reasons, not Canada.

    By Blogger s.b., at 12:43 PM  

  • Green- I agree the NDP and CPC look a bit petty and desperate to bring it up but I do think it might be best to just take the issue off the table because it is such a small triffle.

    But if Dion does choose to stick by his guns then, like I said, I think he can handle himself on it during a campaign.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:22 PM  

  • What people seem to forget it that this is not a rant. This is not about the xenophobia of a small pocket of Canadians. It is about the good of Canada. And if renouncing his French citizenship makes him a more preferable candidate to Steven Harper, the M. Dion has a responsibility to do it -- for the good of Canada.

    By Blogger Jordan, at 1:37 PM  

  • "Dion appears to be going against his French instincts by refusing to surrender on this one."

    LOL!!!

    I'm sure everyone has heard by now, but he caved, of course.

    Just as many of us predicted.

    I love a Liberal leader who shifts his stance under pressure. It reminds me of Paul Martin - and we all know how he did.

    ;)

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 2:04 PM  

  • Yes, we all know how principled Stephen Harper is. The way he stuck to his guns on bilingualism, health care, the firewall, same-sex marriage, free votes.

    We know that when Stephen Harper says something you can count on him sticking to it - right up until the point his moronic supporters' votes are cast.

    I'd feel angry about him being such an unprincipled creep, but then I realize exactly who he is screwing over and realize how deeply they deserve each other. Charles McVety and Stephen Harper. Immoral, unprincipled lying scum - both of them.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 2:41 PM  

  • What people seem to forget it that this is not a rant. This is not about the xenophobia of a small pocket of Canadians. It is about the good of Canada. And if renouncing his French citizenship makes him a more preferable candidate to Steven Harper, the M. Dion has a responsibility to do it -- for the good of Canada.

    That was exactly the rationale he gave to Mansbridge yesterday.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 2:41 PM  

  • John Turner was a dual citizen and Prime Minister without any problems, so I don't see why it should be a problem here.

    The Governor General is the Head-of-State's representative, and so I think it's appropriate that he/she have only one citizenship.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 2:42 PM  

  • No Jew could ever become PM of Canada without renouncing Judaism according to Levant. Indeed, Israel, like France and other countries, confers citizenship rights jus sanguinis (bloodline). So every Jew in this country is in the same boat as Dion. Should we not question Levant's loyalty to Canada ?

    By Blogger Loraine Lamontagne, at 2:43 PM  

  • I doubt you meant to give offence, but imo the "going against his French instincts" crack is not a helpful laugh-line.

    Nor, for that matter, do I think that Dion should cave on this issue; maybe it's my own citizenship talking, but I think the Turner example - and the inherent silliness of this issue - should make it case closed. This isn't something that'll lose Dion votes that aren't already going to the CPC or for that matter CHP.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 2:57 PM  

  • If Dion caves in on this issue, then it does mean a Jew cannot become Prime Minister of Canada.

    By Blogger Loraine Lamontagne, at 3:03 PM  

  • I am amazed this accusation comes from Ezra Levant, but then again on second thought I'm not.

    Our friend Ezra Levant deliberately published cartoons ridiculing Islam as a freedom of the press issue.

    At that time, islamic fundamentalist were threatening Danes because the same cartoons had been published in Denmark.

    Through his recklessness and stupidity, Mr. Levant risked the safety of Canadian citizens at home and abroad.

    If radical fundamentalists had noticed and made a similar sized international stink Canada's reputation would have suffered.

    So, who is the more loyal Canadian citizen, Mr. Levant or Mr. Dion?

    I would challenge Mr. Levant to demonstrate some of the same courage that Mr. Dion has done in advocating for and defending Canada but given his tactless methods, the outcome would be unpredictable and possibly disastrous.

    We can all thank Mr. Harper for one thing. He pre-empted Mr. Levant from becoming a member of parliament by usurping his riding nomination after being elected leader of the Conservative party.

    A modern day "Rat Pack" composed of Rob Anders, Myron Thompson and Ezra Levant might have been a real parliamentary powder keg.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 3:11 PM  

  • Michaelle Jean's dual French citizenship was through marriage I believe, not through her ancestors. Much easier for her to "divorce" it from her allegiances.

    Not a fair comparison with Dion.

    By Blogger The Anonymous Green, at 3:13 PM  

  • I thought the French instincts line was very witty and altogether innocent - it was obviously in good humour.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 3:15 PM  

  • Ms Jean as I have stated is also the Regent in Canada. The Ruling Monarch of Britian aka The Queen cannot be a French National or her stand ins. Period. It had nothing to do with Canada, but the office of HRH that required Ms. Jean to renounce her French citizenship. it is just fine for an elected leader to have dual citizenship as has happened many times before and has just happened in Alberta with a Conservative Premier who is American.

    By Blogger s.b., at 3:18 PM  

  • I heard an interview of Lafond on RC during which he explained that Jean sought French Citizenship in order to protect the rights of the child they were planning to adopt. Lafond has 2 children and grandchildren in France from a first marriage. Lafond has property there and a government pension. Marie-Eden had to have French Citizenship to be equal to her French siblings in the eyes of French law as regards inheritence. It is to secure this protection for the child they were adopting that Michaelle Jean sought French citizenship.

    By Blogger Loraine Lamontagne, at 3:26 PM  

  • I don't mean to suggest that the joke was meant anything but harmlessly, but the stereotyping of the French as surrender-ers is... not one anybody would like applied to their own country, nor at all historically just.

    No knock on CG meant, and I'm sorry if I'm being painfully humourless. The myth of French surrender is the product of a lot of Vichy propaganda and Franco-American and Anglo-French hostility. What happened to France in WWII could have happened to any of the other Allies in the same circumstances.

    If I had dual French citizenship, I would be deeply proud of it without compromising my national and state loyalties; I wouldn't give it up to placate xenophobes whose votes I have no interest in wooing.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 3:35 PM  

  • Jason C. and others:

    I actually don't see Dion's French citizenship as equivalent to the Jewish right of return at all. As I posted on coyne's blog, there's a differnce between being entitled to something and actually having it. I have the right to become an Israeli citizen under Israeli law, but until I exercise it, I'm not an Israeli citizen.Dion is in a different position -- as, apparently was John Turner, without anyone noticing.

    By Blogger Herb, at 4:10 PM  

  • s.b. :it is just fine for an elected leader to have dual citizenship as has happened many times before and has just happened in Alberta with a Conservative Premier who is American.

    From Newly elected Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach's biography

    "He and his wife Marie raised four children and operate a mixed farm south of Andrew on the homestead originally settled by his grandfather in 1898."

    I think you made a freudian slip (wishing it was Ed Morton?)

    My original posting was referring to the original blog, not your comment.

    Who knows? Maybe if her French citizenship was by birthright, she may not have accepted the title.

    The point being, it's different (well, to me at least).

    By Blogger The Anonymous Green, at 4:14 PM  

  • Of interest, a new Leger poll puts the Liberals only two points behind the Bloc in Quebec (35% to 37%), which would give the Liberals 15-20 more seats (possibly more!) if an election was held today.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 6:15 PM  

  • Jason, no need to apologize - everyone is used to your pained humourlessness by now.

    Herb is right - Cherniak's Israel comparison is false.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 7:45 PM  

  • I'm with Jason on this one (Townsend and Cherniak that is, not Bo Green), cheese-eating surrender-monkey jokes are best left to the lgf types, and I don't see the distinction between a right of return to Israel and Dion's case...

    lance says: "the issue wasn't that Dion had never held a passport, but that he could."

    herb says: "there's a differnce between being entitled to something and actually having it. I have the right to become an Israeli citizen under Israeli law, but until I exercise it, I'm not an Israeli citizen.Dion is in a different position"

    I say: "huh?"

    By Blogger Declan, at 9:50 PM  

  • Would Harper having a British citizenship cause anyone to be worried about it?

    I think we should live in an age where we don't consider the fact that someone's parents come from somewhere else to be a big deal. Had Joe Volpe won the leadership race, would people ask him to revoke his Italian citizenship, since he was born there? I personally think we should encourage immigrants, and not insult them by asked them to give up their ancestry when they reach the highest office in the land.

    By Blogger UWHabs, at 1:04 AM  

  • Well, declan, I see it as fairly straight forward:

    Dion _is_ a French citizen.
    Herb _is not_ an Israeli.

    Questions?

    Cheers,
    lance

    By Blogger lance, at 4:22 AM  

  • Dart, you've got a strong point when you say Dion has a responsibility to be as electable as possible. You give me good pause.

    However, I still feel Pat Martin has handled this wrong - it should not be incumbent upon any leader to voluntarily decide on his citizenship: it should be the law or it should not. In the US, it should have been law to restrict the President to 2 terms, or it should not have been: it did not work out as they wished it to when Roosevelt became President.

    If Martin et al feel so strongly about this, they should move to change the rules, and not Dion's status.

    I think the best thing here for Dion to do is to introduce his own legislation, stating that in order to be PM, you must be solely Canadian in citizenship. Once the bill is passed, he would renounce his French c.ship. If the bill does not pass - then it doesn't pass.

    Just my further two cents on this.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 12:36 PM  

  • I have a friend who tells me often, "What'd you do then, hit him with your purse?"

    One could tell him, "What a negative stereotype, that's really best left to bigots!"

    But he means it innocently, and so I take absolutely no offence to it at all. Anyone who did take offence would have a chip on their shoulder - period.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 12:40 PM  

  • Declan, if you're suggesting that a Jew couldn't become PM because they can take out an Israeli passport, then I disagree.

    Right of return is not comparable to holding French citizenship - it is a poor example, and overblown.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 12:41 PM  

  • Would Harper having a British citizenship cause anyone to be worried about it?

    You mean apart from the British?

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 12:59 PM  

  • Lance - Dion's citizenship doesn't allow him to do anything directly. All it allows is for him to get a passport, which *would* allow him to, say, travel as a French citizen.

    Similarly, as I understand it, someone being Jewish doesn't allow them to do anything directly, all it allows is for them to get a passport, which *would* allow them to say, travel as an Israeli.

    It seems you are arguing that because this state of potential Frnech passport holding goes by the name 'citizenship' and the state of potential Israeli pasport holding goes by the name 'right of return', there is a meaningful disticntion between the two, but it seems more like tom8to tom@to if you ask me.

    The only meaningful distinction I see is that, as I understand it, one would have to actually live in Israel to take advantage of the right of return, whereas Dion could theoretically get a French passport while still living in Canada. But as long as he has no French passport, this seems lie a pretty thin reed to rely on.

    By Blogger Declan, at 3:24 PM  

  • Kinsella says the whole issue has been generated by the Conservative War Room

    . . . . . in case there some who aren't aware.

    . . . . . Conservative bloggers have been encourage to perpetuate the story in the blogs and in the media.

    The sad thing is that those with weak journalistic principles have been sucked in . . . . .

    Again

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 8:07 PM  

  • I'm not sure the JEwish parallel is that off base. It is definately an attack on his personhood, who is is by birth. none of us can control who we are born. Therefore, I see it as no different than attacking someone for being Native and demanding they give up their Native status to be leader, or demanding someone give up the right of return or attacking someone for being black, and saying they would be biased towards Africa as leader because they are black.

    Attacking someone's personhood at birth is disgusting. Mr. Dion should not be questioned or attacked for his birthright and should not be forced to give it up.

    By Blogger s.b., at 8:07 PM  

  • A Prime Minister of this country should be born in the country. I believe that is the law in other countries, notably the US. Your right, though, if Harper had been dual US/Canadian citizen all hell woulld have broken loose, the media would have crucified him. ciao

    By Blogger Rositta, at 10:34 AM  

  • It can't really have effect, I think this way.

    By Anonymous экскурсии в барселоне, at 9:49 AM  

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