The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

A noteworthy exchange from question period Thursday in the House of Commons

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OTTAWA - On Thursday, Liberal MP Emmanuel Dubourg asked Immigration Minister Chris Alexander about his comments on the Citizenship Act. Alexander has repeatedly said the law "cheapened" Canadian citizenship by opening it up to abuse.

Dubourg: Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the minister of Citizenship and Immigration said that the 1977 act "actually cheapened Canadian citizenship."

My family and I arrived in Canada, like many other people, under the program "operation mon pays" during that period.

Does the minister think that my family and I are traitors and citizens of convenience?

Alexander: Mr. Speaker, 1977 act cheapened citizenship for all of us as Canadian citizens.

We are proud of the stories of immigrants like the member opposite, the sacrifices they have made, everything they have done to make this a better country, and the contributions they have made.

What we were not impressed with in the years after 1977 is the abuse that went unaddressed and the reduction in the residency requirement to three years which was too little. That is why we are taking the measures in this bill, to restore the integrity and value of Canadian citizenship, and that is why it is popular with Canadians.

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