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A citizenship guide has been revamped still in progress as the election approaches

A promised refurbishment of the Canadian citizenship guide remains a work in progress with only a month left in the mandate of the Liberal government.

That leaves the newcomers to the country with the current guide – full of historical gaps and outdated information – as their main document for preparing for the citizenship test. .

The government is revamping the page 68 Discover Canada last updated in 2012, to reflect our better diversity and to include more "meaningful content" about the history and rights of indigenous people and the residential school experience.

With just five months to go before the federal election, a spokesman for the Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, said a launch date was not yet set and did not offer a specific explanation for the delay.

"We are committed to getting the citizenship guide right, and that includes consulting with so many stakeholders. T [as possible] on the proposed changes. This work is ongoing, "said Mathieu Genest." We listen to experts, stakeholders and community representatives, because what we want to do is take the politics out of the guide. "

Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Refugee Council, said it was "incomprehensible" that the guide took this long to deliver.

"Our main concern is that newcomers will be presented with a fair and balanced picture of Canada recognizing the problems in the reality of Canada and current, and how that affects people indigenous and racist people. T "a disservice to the country as a whole as well as to the newcomers," he said.

The Minister's Immigration department Ahmed Hussen is updating the citizenship guide. (Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press)

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) had recommended amending information materials for new entrants and the citizenship test to reflect "a more inclusive history of the peoples of various Canadian Aboriginals, including information about the agreements and history of boarding schools. T "

Historical gaps, outdated information

Until the new guide is released, new entrants will have to use the existing guide to study for the citizenship test. It includes limited information on the legacy of residential schools, outdated information such as population numbers and words to the national anthem which has since been changed by Parliament to make it more neutral. gender.

Calling the delay "is staggering," said NDP immigration critic, Jenny Kwan, that it is unacceptable that inaccurate, outdated information is still in the guide.

"You want our newcomers to know the wording of our national temple. It's annoying to have in our citizenship a guide of this kind of wrong information," he said.

Kwan said she was disappointed by the delay, given that MPs had been consulted on it two years ago and an early draft was revealed last year. Canadian Press.

"Certainly, I believe, with the citizenship guide, we can take the opportunity to ensure that new Canadians, newcomers understand our history, the good, the bad and the ugly. T , and … fully appreciates the history of Canada, certainly around the issue of indigenous people, "he said. "Giving full recognition to that, I believe, is very important."

Plan to release guidance in 2017

Draft copy of the revised guidance received from Canadian Press He showed that there was reference to the illegal practice of female genital mutilation. CP also said that the Liberals are hoping to have the new guide in place for the 150th anniversary of Canada in 2017.

Last fall, CBS News reported that the citizenship guide would have been updated, in fact, including a warning to new arrivals about female genital mutilation.

A Citizenship Certificate will be presented by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and Citizenship Judge Marie Senecal-Tremblay on the Senedd Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press)

The issue was charged politically, with Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel repeatedly pressing Hussen on the subject. He also sponsored an e-petition in the House of Commons on the matter.

Vancouver immigration lawyer, Zool Suleman, said it was likely that the government would think that the exercise would be easier than it was. He said that the citizenship guide reflected the priorities and values ​​of the government that wrote it, and it helped to define how people see the country.

Political focus on focus

The previous Conservative government pushed the wording of the guide towards military history and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, while the Liberal government seemed to tend to explain inherent reconciliation and multiculturalism, Suleman said.

"Given that we have an election coming to an end, there's probably a calculus about whether it's worth releasing a new guide, which will inevitably make some people be happy and other people are unhappy," he said.

Dory Jade, chief executive officer of the Association of Professional Immigration Consultants Canada, said he thought it was better to take the time to do things right rather than to rush for political reasons.

"Personally, I think that the bureaucratic machine needs more time to do a job of this kind and the government did not anticipate that in their promise," he said, noting that the Conservative government has also taken a long time to finish its update.

Canadian Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said that the refurbishment focused on several key areas:

  • Responding to the Commission's Truth and Reconciliation call for a language that better reflects the views and history of the native peoples of Canada.
  • Showcasing Canadian cultural diversity and commitment to official languages.
  • Introduce the social evolution of civic rights and freedoms for LGBT, women and people with disabilities.
  • Use language that is more accessible to second language learners and structure the document so that the newcomer can easily identify the main points of each chapter.

The government has also pledged to update materials for new entrants and revise the oath of citizenship to reflect respect for indigenous rights. This change was also recommended by the TRC and included in Hussen's mandate letter, February 1, 2017. t

Those initiatives are also ongoing, according to Hussen's office.

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