Liberal leader Justin Trudeau greets supporters while campaigning Thursday, October 3, 2019 in Montreal, Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau greets supporters while campaigning Thursday, October 3, 2019 in Montreal, Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Scheer stuck on dual citizenship while touting tough-on-crime agenda

Conservative leader: ‘It’s not a big deal in Canada for people to have dual citizenship’

Andrew Scheer was out promoting his plan to tackle gang-related violence Friday, but found himself on the defensive about his dual citizenship and other tight spots instead of the signature Conservative tough-on-crime agenda.

The Conservative leader was in Toronto to talk about his crime platform, which would see the Canada Border Services Agency do more to stop guns from being smuggled in from the United States. It also promises new mandatory minimum sentences for some gang-related offences.

Yet, Scheer was still having to spend a lot of time talking about how he is in the process of renouncing the dual American-Canadian citizenship he has through his U.S.-born father, and why he had never said anything publicly about it until now.

Scheer, who said he has never renewed his U.S. passport as an adult, said he did not begin the process of giving up his American citizenship until August, despite having decided to do so after winning the Conservative leadership race in 2017.

“It’s not a big deal in Canada for people to have dual citizenship,” Scheer said Friday morning.

The Conservatives, however, had attacked former NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, as well as former Liberal leader Stephane Dion, over their dual citizenship with France. Mulcair obtained his citizenship through his wife, who was born in France, and Dion through his mother, also born there.

READ MORE: Scheer and Trudeau accuse each other of distracting from their records

When asked whether he had brought up his own situation then, Scheer said: “I wasn’t leading the party at that time.”

Scheer also faced questions about whether he had ever earned any U.S. income (no), whether he had registered for the draft with the U.S. Selective Service, as required by law (he did not know, but the party has since confirmed he did) and when his U.S. passport expired (he would have to check).

The Liberals made a thinly veiled reference to the issue when they sent out a scornful news release about the Conservatives’ approach to law and order.

“Andrew Scheer wants to bring American-style gun laws to Canada,” said the statement from Liberal candidate Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief.

The Liberals took their own hits Friday on an issue that leader Justin Trudeau has made, for better or for worse, central to his legacy as prime minister.

Ottawa is asking the Federal Court to review a September ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which found the federal government had discriminated against First Nations children living on reserves by not adequately funding child and family services.

It also ordered children and their families be given the highest level of compensation it can award.

Trudeau said he agrees with many of the tribunal’s findings, including that victims should be compensated, but that more time is needed for consultation, especially with the election campaign.

New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh condemned the decision to challenge the ruling.

“This is a moral failure, this is unjust, this is continuing an injustice,” he said in Saskatoon.

Singh said an NDP government would accept the ruling and provide compensation. Scheer has said a Conservative government would ask for a judicial review.

Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID cases in the Bella Coola Valley have dropped to just four active cases (file photo)
Active COVID cases drop to four; schools re-open for face-to-face instruction

A total of 63 cases were recorded with 59 now out of isolation

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Joyce Cooper (left) said she had to set an example for Tsilhqot’in communities by sharing her COVID-19 positive results. (Photo submitted)
Tsideldel off-reserve member documents experience of COVID-19

We should all be supporting one another and not judging each other, says Joyce Cooper

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Nuxalk Public Health Nurse Sophie Mack is all smiles as she vaccinates her dad, hereditary chief James Mack Sr., with his first dose of the Moderna vaccine (photo submitted)
Cases drop as vaccine continues to roll out in Bella Coola

Seniors at Mountain View Lodge, Nuxalk elders, hospital staff and long-term care residents have all started to receive their vaccines so far

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
5 big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform as she makes a phone call. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver man calls 911 to report his own stabbing, leading to arrest: police

Officers located the suspect a few blocks away. He was holding a bloody knife.

Most Read