This is how the game is played. I will present a story about an alleged "Canadian" and you can decide if the individual is a Canadian or just a Canadian citizen and yes, there is a difference. Just ask this woman.
Today's contestant is a gentleman named Yasser Mahmoud Abbas. You can read about him here at the Toronto Star.
The first name pays homage to the late Yasser Arafat, long-time leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, while the rest of the moniker is identical to that of the current Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas who is, in fact, Yasser Abbas' father.
In fact, speculation surged this year among some sectors of the Israeli political cognoscenti that Mahmoud Abbas might be grooming his 46-year-old son to become his political successor when his presidency expires in January.
Abbas, former chair of the Canadian-Palestinian Business Council, provided intriguing details about his considerable wealth, denied exploiting family connections to acquire it, railed against the Islamist group Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip and freely owned up to being a collaborator with Israel.
Married with two sons and a daughter, Abbas owns several large businesses gathered under the umbrella of the Falcon Holding Group.
He struck the carcinogenic equivalent of gold early this decade when he obtained a monopoly on the distribution of American cigarette brands such as Lucky Strike, Kent and Viceroy in the West Bank and Gaza.
Abbas also heads an insurance company, a civil engineering firm and a real-estate business, all with their main offices in Ramallah, the de facto West Bank capital.
Along with his brother, Tariq, Abbas also owns a West Bank advertising agency.
Abbas spent several years living in Montreal during the late 1980s and early '90s, when he ran a company whose main business was renovating apartment buildings.
Raised mainly in the United States, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Washington State University in 1983, Abbas took out Canadian citizenship while in Montreal and retains many ties with his former northern home.
Since moving to the West Bank in 1997, he has periodically acted as an emissary between the Palestinian Authority and Canada, notably in July 2007, when he travelled to Ottawa to urge resumption of financial aid, suspended after Hamas' victory in the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006.
So let's recap. He is Palestinian by birth; was mostly raised in the United States; was educated in the United States; spent a few years in Canada in the late 1980's to early 1990's running an apartment reno business thus allowing him to obtain Canadian citizenship; moved to the West Bank in 1997 so he no longer lives in Canada; most of his business dealings are located in the West Bank; and he is being groomed by his father to succeed him as Palestinian president.
So is he a Canadian or just a Canadian citizen? According to the Toronto Star he is a Canadian but rational minds know better. Yasser is just a Palestinian with Canadian citizenship and therefore just a Canadian citizen, even a Canadian of convenience, but not a Canadian. I don't see how his passing through Canada characterizes him as a Canadian. He only stayed here long enough to qualify for Canadian citizenship. But he doesn't live here anymore and in fact hasn't lived in Canada for the majority of his life. Most of his business dealings are located in the West Bank which makes me wonder if he pays any taxes to Canada on any of his income there.
Being a foreign born "Canadian", if Yasser hasn't paid any Canadian taxes on his world income and/or has not lived in Canada for a considerable amount of time since obtaining citizenship then I propose that his citizenship status should come under review and possibly revoked. To my knowledge such a review is not in place. Implementing a review would be an improvement to the citizenship laws and increase the value of Canadian citizenship beyond its status as an insurance policy.