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Bernie Farber on immigration

It’s Time To End The Stigma Of Immigration In Canada

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On Tuesday April 19, 2016, I was a witness on behalf of the Mosaic Institute to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration hearings regarding Bill C-6 “Bill C-6: An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act.” This is an edited version of my remarks.

Today I hope to desensationalize some of the ideas about those seeking Canadian citizenship and what it means to be Canadian.

I have a visceral understanding of the refugee and immigration experience, simply because I was brought up in its shadow. I understand in the heart of my hearts the value and power of Canadian citizenship. Both my parents left their ancestral homes not because they wanted to, but as a result of antisemitism and persecution.

My parents’ immigration experience and the work I am involved with today at the Mosaic Institute have informed my life and I have learned much that may be helpful to this committee.

Firstly, people love being Canadian. Whether they arrived yesterday or have been here for generations, there is something about this country that inspires. Our work has proven that our diversity is one of the reasons people quickly ascribe to and adopt Canadian ways of life.

In 2014, we received a grant from Public Safety Canada to conduct a study titled The Perception and Reality of Imported Conflict in Canada. This research was conducted as part of Public Safety Canada’s efforts to “shed light on terrorism and how best to address it in Canada.”

When citizenship is achieved, it is treasured and harnessed. I say harnessed because it becomes a vehicle by which people’s lives are improved.

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