Dion says he'd give up French citizenship if it's an issue
The Globe and Mail
TORONTO The new Liberal Leader says he'd be willing to give up his French citizenship if it poses a problem with the Canadian public.
Appearing Thursday on TVOntario's The Agenda public affairs show, Stphane Dion said suggestions that his Canadian-French dual citizenship means he is not completely loyal to Canada have been upsetting.
Mr. Dion was born in Canada, but his mother was born in France. As a result he holds dual citizenship.
The Liberal Leader told Agenda host Steve Paiken that he has kept his French citizenship out of respect for his mother.
I'm born like that. It's part of me. It's my mother who gave that to me. And like all sons, I love my mother and I love what she gave to me. And so to remove that from me, I'd be sad, Mr. Dion said.
This being said, if I see that it's a liability for our winnability, I will do it.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Mr. Dion sought to assure Canadians of his loyalty to his country of birth.
I'm proud of who I am, and I am fully loyal to my country, and nobody will question that, he said.
I'm 100 per cent loyal to Canada, and I believe I've more than demonstrated that in my life.
But Ezra Levant, a long-time conservative pundit and publisher of the Western Standard, criticized Mr. Dion in a Calgary Sun column.
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? Mr. Levant wrote.
NDP Leader Jack Layton was not as critical, but said it would probably be a better idea to maintain one 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, Mr. Layton said.
But for a person that isn't in a position of representing others, holding dual citizenship is fine with us.
Bloc Qubcois Leader Gilles Duceppe said it was no problem at all for Mr. Dion to hold dual citizenship, because he's a modern man, he's not living in a previous century.
The same issue dogged Governor-General Michalle Jean, who also held a French passport through her husband. She eventually renounced French citizenship saying it would feel strange to hold both while fulfilling her vice-regal duties.
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