Calgary MP Deepak Obhrai took a strong stand against his fellow Conservatives at the party’s policy convention in Halifax Saturday after delegates voted to end birthright citizenship for anyone who doesn’t have a Canadian parent or a parent with permanent residency.
The vote was a close one — going to electronic tally — but eventually passing by a near margin.
Obhrai stood up to speak against the policy change, earning cheers from many in the crowd.
‘A slippery slope’
“The government should not have a right to decide who is Canadian,” Obhrai told CBC Calgary Saturday evening in a phone call from Halifax.
“Because in my view, that is a very slippery slope, because you know countries everywhere else use these laws to deprive citizens from their citizenship.”
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Obhrai said he felt it was important to take a strong stance against the non-binding resolution — which those in favour of argue would stop people from coming to Canada in order to have “passport babies.”
According to Statistics Canada, in 2016 there were more than 380,000 babies born in Canada — of those, only 313 children were born to mothers whose place of residence is outside Canada.
It’s unknown how many of those cases are ones where a non-Canadian woman travelled to Canada for the sole reason of giving birth, as the numbers include Canadians who live abroad but return to the country to give birth.