Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Canadian-born. A new and unnecessary definition

I am Canadian. I was born that way even though, until 1977, my official status was that of Commonwealth citizen. My parents were British subjects who, in 1947, had Commonwealth citizenship conferred upon them and 30 years later were defined as Canadian citizens. They were born here too. To call them Canadian-born British subjects at one time in their lives would have been technically accurate.

Today, if you're born in Canada, you're Canadian. Unless of course you appear to be something else. Then you may be "Canadian-born"; something, apparently, different from being Canadian.

Cathie From Canada has an outstanding post drawing out the language being used in the media which is defining certain Canadians as something different than citizens. What she exposes is little more than intentional racism. And she has an answer to the problem.

I was born here too. And I always thought of myself as Canadian, not just "Canadian-born". But if the term "Canadian-born" is to be used to denigrate those terrorist suspects and turn them into second-class citizens then I have no choice -- I'll just have to adopt it for myself, too.
As we all should. Until the media puts a stop to painting a picture of some Canadians as less than citizens.

Make no mistake, I expect the 17 people arrested for suspected terrorist activities receive due process. There is, however, no excuse for applying labels which have no place in this society.

Unless of course we start identifying white, English-speaking impaired drivers as "Canadian-born potential murderers".

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