About Thomas Mulcair’s French citizenship

- January 17th, 2012

I expect plenty of debate today on whether Thomas Mulcair being a citizen of France is a big deal. It’s true our first two prime ministers were born overseas, as was John Turner who held the job for a very short while in the 1980s. Perhaps millions of Canadians have or are entitled to dual citizenship.

What makes Mulcair different though is that, in addition to seek to become leader of the opposition and eventually prime minister, is that he sought out and took French citizenship. It is not automatic that a husband becomes a citoyen when he marries a  French woman.

We don’t have the same rules as the Americans when it comes to who can head our government but after controversy over Michaelle Jean and Stephane Dion, and I am assuming Thomas Mulcair, is it time we developed some.

Or is this no big deal.

When this came up with Stephane Dion several years ago it was an issue for many New Democrats including Jack Layton. Their quotes are below.

Jack Layton

“I would prefer that a leader of a party hold only Canadian citizenship,
because one represents many Canadians, and for me that means that it’s
better to remain the citizen of one country,” Layton told The Canadian
Press.

“But for a person that isn’t in a position of representing others, holding
dual citizenship is fine with us.”

===

Pat Martin

Mr. Martin said it would be “common sense for Dion to renounce his French
citizenship.”

“Mr. Dion should not have divided loyalties,” the Manitoba MP said.

“If he were ever to be the premier leader of Canada, this is going to be a
problem for him and he should not be so dismissive of people raising the
question,” Mr. Martin said.

===

Tony Martin

“In any other circumstance, short of being our Governor General or our prime minister, dual citizenship is fine. There are a myriad of reasons for it … to participate as a citizen of the world. I think as prime minister, he should be willing to give up his French citizenship and demonstrate his loyalty to Canada.”
===

Peter Stoffer

“I think [Dion] should just follow the lead of the Governor General. I don’t think it’s good that a possible prime minister hold dual citizenship. Say you’re the prime minister of Canada and you hold French citizenship … France comes knocking at your door for a deal … you’re perceived to be in a conflict of interest. A prime minister should always be clear of any perception of conflict of interest.”

 

Categories: Politics

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16 comments

  1. daveyy says:

    so its ok to have a head of state, the Queen, who is a foreigner, but not ok to have a PM who has dual citizenship ?

    If Canada were to go to war with France, Mulcair would need to divest himself of its citizenship, but what if Canada went to war with the UK, where does that leave the ”Queen of England” ?

  2. fernstalbert says:

    So if one of our national leaders was a duel citizen of Russian or Saudi Arabia or perhaps the USA, would there not be an outcry? Really Mulcair you need to choose – Canada or France. Many Canadians have foreign born spouses who have choosen to not become Canadian citizens. However the spouses do not aspired to be PM of Canada. This may be a yawner in Quebec, but will definite not sell in the ROC. The nuance of Quebec politics. They are different. Cheers.

  3. Denny Lama says:

    Politician = Hyrocracy. Nothing new.

  4. franc black says:

    No can do, Mr. Mulcair, not as Opposition Leader.

    Keep your dual, but lose gracefully in March.

    In 2012, the Opposition Leader cannot be a member of a competing nation.

  5. Eskimo says:

    Nothing to see here, move along….

  6. Evan Menzies says:

    @daveyy The Queen doesn’t have a passport or a citizenship as she is the Head of the Commonwealth and 16 sovereign countries.

  7. Ignatiev says:

    Politicians are corrupt human beeings.

  8. Master Wooten says:

    Its no issue. So long as his Canadian citizenship is still valid and he is a REAl Canadian as opposed to Iggy who was a Canadian In Name Only then its fair game. Even in America it used to be that the president had to be from one of the 48 states yes (excluding Hawaii and Alaska). That provision would have excluded the current president Barack Obama (Birther issues aside), and John McCain, (who was born in Panama). If they can relax their elibigility for head of government requirement, why need we be more rigid? Just imagine a Palin/Biden ticket? Oh the excitment that would come out of that schizophrenic administration?

    As to the earlier comment “the Queen, who is a foreigner”, not so!

    This country was founded by the United Kingdom as evidenced by its constitution and system of government. We don’t call people who established our country developed it and gave it guided independence “foreign” anymore than we call our parents strangers.

    So to the point, let Tom Mulcair keep his French passport. Its not like he’ll ever be Prime Minister!

  9. @daveyy I think the big difference is that the Queen isn’t a citizen: she’s our owner. Citizenship is for peons, apparently.

  10. Observant says:

    Okay, so Mulcair has French citizenship, but that’s quite a propos as a citizen of the Quebec nation….as was Dion’s dual citizenship.

    French citizenship is one of the privileges of Quebec nation citizenship.

    Canada is a schizoid country….the Quebec nation and the Rest of Canada (RoC). Fortunately, the RoC can elect a federal majority government without the involvement of French Quebec… and thank God for that..!!!!

  11. I went to China and married a Chinese lady,so now it appears I won’t be PM of Canada,and I really had my heart set on it to impress my Chinese bride.

  12. Larry Bennett says:

    I would really like to hear his reasons for taking out French citizenship; what did he gain? And didn’t Chretien deny Conrad Black his knighthood, as a Canadian? Black would pay for that later, but I thought it pretty sick that he would deny a title under our own Queen, but then, Chretien is (f)rench, isn’t he? When you divide allegiances like this, you do put yourself in a sticky position should you run for a seat in our legislatures; but then, I wouldn’t vote for him, either way!

  13. George Lenard says:

    The real question is have the oil companies got him in their back pocket?

  14. rasndy says:

    no it not right at all

  15. Alain says:

    When any Canadian seeks a second citizenship as an adult, it indicates that Canadian citizenship is not valued as much as the sought out second citizenship. It is one thing for ordinary citizens to do this but a very different thing for the prime minister or leader of the opposition to do so. It clearly puts the person in a conflict of interest.

  16. Marc Opie says:

    Prediction: Not Censored

    I think this notion that you’ve proven your point by simply looking for something someone said in the past is silly.

    This insistence that politicans never say anything that contradicts anything they’ve ever said is silly. It’s not that difficult to find contradictions. I think Emerson said something about that. I’ll let you figure it out.

    Oh, I’ve noticed that Alain posts a lot up here. He’s conservative so that’s OK. I post up here regularly, make sound arguments, and people engage in ad hominem arguments, which are violations of the terms of service (i.e. not on topic).

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