February 05, 2010

As Canadians, we know that our country is the best country in which to live, work and play. Our standard of living is amongst the highest in the world, and Canada is known around the globe as a beacon of peace and prosperity. It is for these reasons that Canadian citizenship is highly valued by many who seek to build a better life.

New Canadians contribute to our economy and continue to play an important role as we recover from the effects of a global economic downturn. Their success in gaining citizenship is a success for Canada as a whole. This is why our Conservative Government has created a new citizenship study guide called “Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship”. The new guide will help make the transition for immigrants to Canada even easier.

The previous citizenship guide was exceptionally outdated and had not been substantially changed since it was created in 1995. It lacked many important aspects of today’s Canadian culture, including important Canadian traditions such as wearing a poppy on Remembrance Day. The new study guide has a broader focus on Canadian history, symbols and institutions. There is also more emphasis on the basic facts about our Government and politics, all in an effort to teach new Canadians not only the rights, but also the responsibilities of being Canadian.

The new guide outlines important information on topics that were omitted from the old guide. This includes issues such as gender equality and women’s rights, Canada’s role in both World Wars, the history of the Québécois nation, and the impact of residential schools on Canada’s First Nations communities. It also expands on certain topics that did not receive the attention they deserved, such as our renowned Canadian artists and athletes, and the role that diversity plays across our great country.

Citizenship applicants who have been scheduled for a test or interview before the end of February 2010 should study the old guide. But starting March 2010, a new citizenship test, along with the Government’s new study guide, will be in place. The test questions will reflect the content in the new guide, and we believe that applicants will learn the fundamental information they need to become Canadian citizens who fully participate in Canadian society.

Many respected Canadians helped our Government complete this study guide. From public figures to authors and historians, those who were consulted contributed their expertise and unique perspectives on Canada. Thanks to these individuals and organizations, the new guide now better reflects our shared history.

Our new study guide aims to provide a deeper understanding of our great country to both new Canadians and those who have been here for many generations – something the previous Liberal government ignored.  The old study guide was criticized for being bland and fell short of providing a thorough outline of the important people and events in Canadian history. By giving our new citizens a more in-depth look at our history, our Conservative Government is helping to make Canadian citizenship more meaningful.

Our Conservative Government re-wrote the citizenship guide in order to better tell the story of Canada. It gives new Canadians more information about the rights and responsibilities of a Canadian citizen. Our Government will always aim for common identity and pride among all people in Canada, from coast to coast to coast.

Until next time. . .

Earl Dreeshen, MP
Red Deer