Mother knows best

October 5th, 2016

I feel compelled to comment on the case of Maryam Monsef, Liberal MP and federal Minister of Democratic Institutions, who has been caught up in a story about the location of her birth 32 years ago. Monsef, an Afghan citizen who arrived in Canada aged 11, was born in Iran. She had previously believed she was born in her country of citizenship, Afghanistan. Her documentation had stated that this was the case — documentation that had been submitted by her mother all those years ago.

Do you remember when you were 10 or 11 years old? Did you decide what school you went to or where you lived? Probably not. And if your parents decided when you were a child that the family would emigrate, or flee hardship, did you decide what your destination would be, and how you would get there? Hypothetically, if you were 10 or 11 and somebody, such as a parent, was submitting a form on your behalf, would you ask to review it for accuracy?

Of course not. And if it turns out that somebody made an incorrect assertion on a form submitted on your behalf more than two decades ago, should you suffer the consequences of a decision that you yourself never made?

Of course not.

Some editorial media outlets in Canada have taken this situation and made a disingenuous effort to stoke a fire. For example, in an opinion piece in the Toronto Sun earlier this week, the author writes: the Trudeau government actively revokes citizenship from people who provide false info on their applications. Now the question is whether democratic reform minister Maryam Monsef is going to receive the same treatment if it turns out her citizenship application contained false information. The article goes on to mention the possibility of Monsef being deported.

Apart from giving her a government Ministry that doesn’t exist (it’s democratic institutions, not democratic reform), the article errs in a more sinister way. Yes, citizenship may be revoked from individuals who knowingly provide false information, but Monsef herself, at least to the best of our knowledge, never submitted the application. Her mother did. And so there is a leap of logic.

The fact of the matter is that few people in Canada can go back more than a couple of generations before an immigration story forms part of the family tree. We are, by and large, an immigrant nation. Some of these immigrants arrived from states of flux, from changing situations in the regions of the world from which they came. There are almost certainly stories and situations similar to Monsef’s own story across the country. In many cases, it is likely that the person who the situation affects doesn’t even know the full story.

Remember this: if we are talking about punishing Monsef, it would be a vicarious punishment handed out to someone who did not make a decision when she was 10 or 11 years old. And in the end, what does it even matter where she was born?

And also remember that she is a remarkable woman who, in her so far short career, has shown nothing but resilience and intelligence. She has had to in order to get where she is now.

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9 Responses to “Mother knows best”

  • On October 11th, 2016, William Fold said ...

    Perfect example of how vetting in general of Canadian resident/citizen wannabes from 3rd world countries is simply not adequate or even possible to protect Canada. Yet they flow in at an alarming rate, thanks to leftist government decisions and attitudes of people like liberal David, endangering Canada and, for that matter, other countries they are trying to “flee” to, allegedly. Who among them is a threat? This cannot be determined. What’s good for the goose…

  • On October 11th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    I understand from that that it should be the mother who takes responsibility for this intentional mis- representation. I accept this point of view and would love to see the law implementation. The wrong should stay wrong without any bias.

  • On October 12th, 2016, Fadi Dasouki said ...

    I read the article with admiration. This is a nation that respects and supports it citizens.

  • On October 13th, 2016, Abdullah-Baquie Ghazi said ...

    in third world countries – in social disturbances, illiteracy, underdevelopment, poor communication, and administration – often proper accurate picture do not come out.

  • On October 19th, 2016, Ella Gallo said ...

    A very lucid and compassionate opinion, to which I entirely agree.

  • On October 19th, 2016, LUCIE said ...

    I do believe however that if a false statement is made on an immigration form/application, even though the child is a dependent and not responsible for what was written and signed and most likely completely unaware – misrepresentation is still the case (on the part of the principal applicant). The status was granted as a result of misinformation / misrepresentation. The child was only landed as a dependent. I believe that the status could be revoked and an application on Humanitarian grounds can be considered and will likely be successful. My concern is that we are rewarding people who misrepresent themselves – like the MPs parents. Not the MP herself. If the PA’s status is revoke then so would the status of his/her dependents. The dependents can then present a case on H&C. MP or not, I don’t think any child should be punished for their parents failures. There needs to be consequences to serve as a deterrent.

  • On October 19th, 2016, LUCIE said ...

    I do want to add that false statements on an application means that people are not properly screened. By brushing this aside are we not saying to fleeing war criminals – try your luck. I’m not saying she is from a family of war criminals but we’ll never know because they weren’t properly screened. The Canadian government needs to send a strong message. We need to be consistent.

  • On October 19th, 2016, mustafa bozi said ...

    Information that my website is that the standards are different in Canada than in the rest of the world and that I understand very well the case of citizenship subject of the article – the glory of Canada

  • […] Cohen has an excellent blog post on the situation facing Monsef, titled “Mother Knows Best”. He cogently and thoughtfully argues […]

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