Entitlement run amok in citizenship guide

By Cam Cotton-O’Brien

It seems that citizenship and multiculturalism minister Jason Kenney needs some help — he’s forgotten the distinction between his own opinions and the country’s.

The minister removed reference to homosexuality being decriminalized in Canada in 1969, the protection against discrimination based on — among other things — sexual preferences and the legalization of same sex marriage across the country five years ago from a guide to potential immigrants about Canada. The Canadian Press reported the department drafting the document tried to have the sections returned, but Kenney refused. The only mention of homosexuality rights in the entire brochure is a photo caption.

Kenney’s actions betray a broad disrespect for Canadian values and an unfortunate belief that he has the right to display his personal views in a document intended to represent Canada to people from around the world who are considering residence here. Kenney needs to realize that it is not his place to so drastically alter what this country stands for.

As the brochure is intended to represent Canada, it must not be at the mercy of petty individual preference or party politics. It is clearly inappropriate for Kenney to remove such references because he happens to disapprove. He has every right to his own opinion and its expression, but as this document is intended to reflect the country as a whole, it is wholly unacceptable to imbue it with his own nonsense. The facts removed themselves demonstrate the arrogance and meanness of his decision: homosexuals enjoy the same rights as other Canadians, so the country clearly does not want to limit them. Kenney is far overstepping his purview by hiding these facts about Canada.

Even if one wanted to maintain that this decision reflected not simply Kenney’s own opinion, but rather his party’s base belief or the feelings of his constituents — which it is not clear that it does — the move would still be wrong. This is not a partisan document and it needs to be based on the actual laws and practices in this country. As the items removed from the brochure are facts, there is absolutely no justification for their deletion.

This incident reflects an uncomfortable sense of entitlement on behalf of Kenney. He should be required to apologize for misrepresenting the country in this way, and carefully monitored to ensure that his own bullshit doesn’t slip in to national documents anymore.

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