Gov’t Unveils New Citizenship Handbook

Government unveils new citizenship guidebook

The CBC News (Canada), November 12, 2009

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney unveiled a new and larger version of the citizenship guidebook for prospective immigrants on Friday, one that emphasizes the importance of getting a job, obeying the law and the nobility of serving in the army.

The new 62-page guidebook, called Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, is what newcomers aged 18 to 54 will use to prepare for their citizenship test.

Kenney said when you become a citizen, you inherit certain obligations.

'And one of those responsibilities is to know who we are, from where we came, what values define us and to live in accordance with those values,' he said in Ottawa on Thursday.

Under the subheading 'citizenship responsibilities,' prospective citizens are reminded that rights come with duties, including obeying the law, voting in elections, serving on a jury, taking responsibility for oneself and one's family by getting a job, and volunteering.

The guide notes that military service isn't compulsory, but that serving in the Armed Forces is a 'noble way to contribute to Canada and an excellent career choice.'

Kenney said the guide also includes a more detailed history of Canada, something he said the previous booklet published in 1997 under the Liberals was lacking.

'It didn't explain what the poppy represents, didn't talk about the equality of men and women, didn't address the nationalist movement in Quebec. It was, I think, in a way, unintentionally promoting a certain degree of historical ignorance. And I think we've corrected that.'

In discussing gender equality, the new guide says Canada's openness doesnt include 'barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, honour killings, female genital mutilation or other gender-based violence.'

The booklet will also be made available to schools, to give all Canadians a better sense of common values.