Allowing new Canadians to take the oath of citizenship by clicking a box online is a disgusting idea that will cheapen the process and open the door to fraud — or a forward-thinking notion that will help decrease a backlog of citizenship applications, depending on who you ask.
That's according to the hundreds of comments the government received about the idea over the last few months.
In February, the Liberals asked the public to weigh in on their plan to let people opt out of a formal in-person or online ceremony and instead take the Oath of Citizenship with the click of a mouse.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser pitched the concept as a way to quickly work through a backlog of people waiting to swear their oath and officially become Canadians. It's expected to save people roughly three months of waiting between taking their citizenship test and officially becoming a Canadian.
The 691 comments sent in reveal deeply divided opinions on what would be a fundamental change to the way new Canadians pledge their allegiance to King and country. Names were removed from the comments before they were posted online.
"This is a HORRIBLE idea!" one person wrote in response to the proposed regulations.
"This proposal takes what should be one of the most meaningful things a person will ever do in their lives and equates it with ordering a new pair of underwear from Amazon."
Several comments suggested the change would more closely resemble online shopping than a solemn, life-changing ceremony.
Some called it disgusting, a disgrace or a travesty.
Others saw the one-click option as a way to give people some much needed flexibility and certainty, particularly for those living in remote communities or who can't afford to take time off work.
"This is a progressive, forward-thinking, and truly commendable initiative and should be implemented as soon as feasible," one person wrote.
"It would help to increase citizenship acquisition rates, particularly by individuals in the Indigenous and racialized minority communities, as these communities are disproportionately lower income and have less flexibility to schedule a day off from employment to take the oath at a traditional ceremony."
During the pandemic shutdown, new Canadians began taking their citizenship oaths through virtual Zoom presided over by a citizenship judge or official.
Even after the government began in-person ceremonies again, the majority of new Canadians have been instructed take their oaths online as a way to get more people though the system quickly.
In the latter half of 2022, fewer than 10 per cent of citizenship ceremonies were in person, and the vast majority were held over video conference, according to government data provided to Parliament.
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