On Tuesday April 19th, 2016, the Mosaic Institute was invited to present to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship on Bill C-6 amending the Citizenship Act.

This bill will amend, among other things, the removal of grounds for the revocation of Canadian Citizenship.

We are proud that the Mosaic Institute was once again able to use our research and experience with diverse communities to amplify the voices of Canadians to better inform our policymakers.

Here is an excerpt of Executive Director Bernie M. Farber’s remarks. The full version can be found here.

“[…] 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’.

So, we asked the question: to what extent, if any, do Canadians with connection to countries in conflict import that conflict to Canada?

After surveying 5,000 Canadians across the country and speaking to over 220 Canadians connected to countries in conflict, we determined that, for the most part, Canadians do not import their conflict here. In fact, one-fifth of the people we surveyed told us that they were no longer as one-sided about ‘their’ conflict, and that being in Canada had helped them to be empathetic and recognize larger factors driving these conflicts.

One of the reasons given for this attitudinal shift is that people were able to connect with others who have experienced conflict. Essentially, they realized that they are not alone. The shared element of being Canadian gives people a common ground, and a foundation upon which to build their lives.

We have also found that, when citizenship is achieved, it is treasured and harnessed. I say harnessed because it becomes a vehicle by which people’s lives are improved. Work is rewarded. People are safe. Access to education and other social services is available.

However, our research indicates that, while people do not import their conflicts, they do import their trauma.

When this trauma is left unchecked it can lead to social isolation and a disassociation from Canada, particularly when it is exacerbated by other barriers such as discrimination and economic exclusion. But when Canadians are able to fully participate in society, not only do their lives improve, they also help improve Canadian society as a whole.

Truthfully, unless you are a member of our indigenous peoples, we are all immigrants, regardless if you gained your citizenship yesterday or 16 generations ago. Historically, immigrants and refugees who adopted Canada as their country of choice contributed to the development of Canada’s social, economic and civil fabric. Today we stand on their shoulders.”

This was an excerpt of Bernie’s remarks. The full version can be found here.