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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Canadian citizenship laws : two facets Tremblay, Guy

Abstract

This thesis purports to consider two related problems in Canadian citizenship laws. In the first chapter, a comparison is made between the American state citizenship and what could be called a provincial citizenship in Canada. In conclusion, it is asserted that there are more factors in the United States tending to standardize the content of the citizenship status between the states than between the provinces in Canada. Consequently, insofar as this content is determined by the states or the provinces, it can be said that Canadian provinces have been recognized by the laws of the constitution much more leeway than the American states to grant to the people they consider as their citizens a particular status which is distinct from the one possessed by citizens of other provinces. Moreover, the first chapter demonstrates that, both in Canada and in the United States, the purposes for which a formal citizenship has been created are mostly irrelevant for the determination of the classes of persons who are entitled to share in the rights and privileges granted on a territorial basis. This should normally lead to a recognition that aliens lawfully landed on the territory will he entitled to these rights privileges for internal purposes, and that classifications against aliens in this respect should be declared invalid in the United States and inoperative in Canada by virtue of the equality before the law provision of the Bill of Rights. A study, in the second chapter, of the judicial attitudes of Canadian judges concerning the interpretation of section 91 (25) of the B.N.A. Act has revealed that, even today, the judiciary is not likely to use the Bill of Rights as an effective tool to bring about a complete recognition of the rights aliens should have to share in the general citizenship status. The solution proposed is to reform the Supreme Court of Canada so as to give to this organ the representativeness and legitimacy it needs to feel free to depart from a legalistic application of the law; thus, the reliance on the Bill of Rights to render inoperative federal enactments could be supplemented by the availability of some "implied bill of rights" approach capable of effecting the same result as against provincial discrimination. Then, the distribution of persons (aliens and Indians) in the B.N.A. Act would become useless, and it could be removed, either judicially or by a formal constitutional amendment.

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