THE BLOG
08/28/2018 11:11 EDT | Updated 08/29/2018 09:10 EDT

The Conservatives' Birthright Motion Should Terrify All Canadians

Canada should come together and with one clear voice to reject the politics of purity that have gained a significant foothold in Andrew Scheer's party.

This past weekend, a non-binding motion at the Conservative Party convention claiming that children born in Canada should not be given Canadian citizenship unless one of their parents is Canadian was passed. This should shake this nation to the core.

I don't say this to be an alarmist. The non-binding nature of this motion means that it won't necessarily make it into the Conservative's 2019 election platform, but it still speaks volumes to how divided Canada is becoming along identarian lines.

There is no doubt that immigration has become a major talking point in Canada, and globally. This is also not new territory for the Conservatives, as past leadership candidate, Kellie Leitch, suggested the incorporation of a "values test" for new comers.

THE CANADIAN PRESS
Conservative Party of Canada leader Andrew Scheer delivers remarks at the party's national policy convention in Halifax on Aug. 24, 2018.

But the latest convention motion moves beyond a subjective and ever moving threshold of moral outrage toward absolutism, peddling back on an idea key to the Western identity Conservatives claim to protect: that we are all created equal.

Many have pointed to the fact that, if this motion somehow became law, children born in Canada to no Canadian parents will end up stateless. But this technical problem is significantly less frightening than the ideological shift this motion signifies.

The idea that a "Canadian" can only be so if you can prove your heredity hardwires national exceptionalism; that there is a fundamental difference between those with "Canadian" blood, who are better, and others who do not, and are therefore worse. With this motion, Canada has moved beyond the concept of "values" and into the business of "purity" testing.

Conservatives will be quick to buck this accusation. The motion is an economic one, they will say, as did British Columbia Member of Parliament Alice Wong when she claimed, "We should fight for our own babies." But to stick to that claim, Conservatives who support this motion will need to prove that "passport babies" and "birth tourism" do place a financial burden on the nation.

I write this article as a so-called 'passport baby'

In doing so, they will realize that this "problem" is nothing but a figment of their imagination, as children born to non-Canadian parents often make the move to Canada armed with the financial resources their parents have accumulated outside of Canada. Like any sort of tourism, money is brought into the country, not out.

I know this because I write this article as a so-called "passport baby." My parents flew here during my mother's pregnancy to visit family with the intention of giving birth to me in Canada. They did this because, having lived through a 15-year civil war in Lebanon, they wanted to provide their child with a safe passage out of a country that may hurl back into violence at any moment.

Thankfully, I never had to use my citizenship to flee violence. Rather, my move to my "home" of Canada was driven by my want to experience the liberal values that Canada and other Western countries have projected around the world.

A major theme of my experience though has been marked by learning, through motions like this, that these values are not under threat by some foreign actors such as my self, but by reactionary illiberalism festering within.

More from HuffPost Canada:

Those who consider themselves among "true blooded" Canadians would fair well to heed the warnings from countries who experimented with ideas of identitarianism. Not only do these ideas betray the complexity with which individual identity is formed, but they also have the inverse effect of creating social incohesion instead of preserving it, alienating those who have come to call Canada home, and sowing seeds of hatred and encouraging violence in both directions.

Canadians should come together and with one clear voice to reject the politics of purity that have gained a significant foothold in one of Canada's largest parties.

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