Okay, guess what: John A. MacDonald, father of the country? Born in Scotland. His successor, Alexander Mackenzie? Ditto. Under modern laws, both of our first Prime Ministers would have "dual citizenship" (they were of course both British subjects, as were we all) and the country nevertheless did just fine. MacDonald came back to office once more after Mackenzie, to be replaced by John Abbott - Canada's first Prime Minister actually born in this country. He took office in 1891.
Meaning, in case you haven't gathered, that this country was able to do just fine for almost 25 years after founding the Dominion, with Prime Ministers who weren't born here. By the end of the 19th century, we'd had three PMs born outside Canada. Did anyone seriously question MacDonald's commitment to Canada? No, because there was no conceivable way you could - despite not being born here, he put his heart and soul in to
his alcoholism this country.
Seriously, this hysterical nativism doesn't deserve to be a story.
Dion has so far suggested he will keep his French passport.
"Everybody knows that my loyalty is 100 per cent to Canada first," he said.
Ezra Levant, publisher of the Western Standard, criticized Dion's decision in a column for the Calgary Sun.
"When it comes to making decisions about the war on terror, and Canada's role in Afghanistan, will Dion be unduly influenced by France, a country that has taken up the role of lawyer and arms dealer for every terrorist state in the world, even defending Saddam Hussein until the eve of his overthrow?" he wrote.
Since when did we start listening to what turd-blossom Levant says? Oh, and it pains me, but extra-double-booo on Jack for taking a swing at this:
NDP Leader Jack Layton took a less antagonistic position, although he agreed Dion should stick to his Canadian citizenship.
"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.
In a perfect world, I'd agree with Jack. But we don't live in a perfect world, we live in this one. There are two issues, as far as I'm concerned: One is the country to which the man has allegedly got divided loyalties, the other is the man himself.
So, France? Sure, an important country, and I'm sure we trade with them a lot. But this isn't the same as having US citizenship - unless we try and seize St. Pierre & Miquelon, we're unlikely to have any crisis with Paris. If Dion had US citizenship, the odds are good that we will have periods of tension with the US leadership - certainly for the next 2 years! - and I could entertain the argument. But this is silly.
Secondly, the Man himself. To claim that Dion is anything but 100% committed to Canada is, frankly, offensive. It's an insult to the hard work he did as Intergovernmental Minister. Indeed, Quebec's separation is the one issue where France has intervened in Canadian affairs before, and Dion was on the other side, fighting them off. This is likely to be seen as a slap in the face to a lot of Quebecois: "See, no matter how good you are to the Anglos, they'll never accept you." If I thought Levant had a sense of shame, I'd say he use it.
But let's not pretend that this is anything more than Levant vomiting up some piece of barely-disguised francophone-bashing. If Dion didn't have French citizenship, Levant would have written the column 95% the same, except he wouldn't be able to hide his disdain for Quebeckers at all.
(PS - I generally prefer justified text, so I tried it out for this post. What's the verdict?)