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Ignatieff is not just a visitor

I have a question about the time threshold for when you stop being a Canadian and become “just a visitor.”

I have a question about the time threshold for when you stop being a Canadian and become “just a visitor.”

Recent television ads by the Conservatives suggest that Michael Ignatieff is just a visitor since his illustrious career had him in the U.S. and in Britain for 34 years or 56 per cent of his life.

If he had built his career in 29 years, or 49 per cent of his life, or if he did not leave the country again before he reached the age of 69, would he lose the title “visitor” and become once more, a full-blown Canadian by Conservative standards?

While enjoying my daily coffee at Tim Hortons, I was struck by the multi-class citizenship standards suggested by the Conservatives and how it affects my neighbouring customers.

The Dutch-Canadian farmer enjoying a donut with his grandson, has he attained his full citizenship title? Or, after many hard years of toil, is he still a visitor?

The African-Canadian doctor enjoying a quick coffee or tea with his co-workers, who decided to move his expertise to Canada, after how many years and lives helped will he lose the “just visiting” moniker and enjoy all the benefits of full Canadian citizenship?

There is the Alberta-born career soldier enjoying lunch with her family, probably worried that all the years spent on tours of duty outside our international borders may have made her just a visitor.

What is the Conservative threshold to being a real Canadian?

Did we downgrade the citizenship of Wayne Gretzky, Jim Carrey or Michael J. Fox, or have they not hit the threshold yet?

The Conservatives better explain the rules about timelines if Canadians do not want to be downgraded to “just visiting,” and what are the consequences?

Do doctors, lawyers and teachers lose their credentials?

How many levels of citizens do Conservatives believe there are?

I would like our Conservative government to determine at what day did Ignatieff go from being an internationally renowned successful Canadian to being “just visiting?”

My biggest concern may be what Conservatives deem being a real Canadian and what other factors may make us less a Canadian. Conservatives should let us know before we all become second-class Canadians.

Garfield Marks

Red Deer

Editor’s note: The letter writer will represent the Liberals in Red Deer during the next federal election.