• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 10:54am
NewsHong Kong
DIPLOMACY

Returnees to Hong Kong slam idea to limit aid for Canadian dual citizens

Suggestion an affront to human rights, say Hongkongers who have returned to city

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 January, 2014, 7:11am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 January, 2014, 2:10pm

A suggestion to limit consular assistance to Canadians living abroad who hold dual nationality has caused anger in Hong Kong.

The aim of the proposal is to save money by rationing universal assistance for citizens.

It would reduce the largesse and complexity of diplomatic services, a problem identified by bureaucrats.

The idea has upset K.C. Yao, who lived in Toronto for 20 years before moving back to Hong Kong last year.

She is one of an estimated 300,000 Canadian citizens in the city.

"Don't say you're not going to help us if you're overseas for too long. It's ridiculous," she said.

Yao said the proposal, contained in just six paragraphs of a ministerial briefing, gave few details on what kinds of services and rights a dual citizen would lose.

"They are not being specific when they talk about 'consular help'," Yao said.

"The fundamentals in this idea are basic human rights. They cannot differentiate between the rights of a citizen. Once we are naturalised, we are Canadian citizens.

"If they start differentiating, they will discriminate against citizens. It's not equal any more. As far as I'm aware, once I was naturalised, I became a Canadian citizen - that's it."

Yao said a solution would be to either give people with dual citizenship equal access to consular services or restrict Canadians to one passport, one nationality.

"But they can't go back on the law that lets citizens have dual citizenship and justify it," she added.

A law student at City University, Nathan Ma Hin-che, who moved back to Hong Kong from Vancouver to study, said he would not seek assistance from the consulate even if he was in trouble. "But for those who need it, I think they are entitled to it," Ma said.

Michael Hsu, from Vancouver, thought it a "bad proposal".

The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada think tank said in a 2011 report that 79 per cent of respondents cited trade and investment inquiries as their reason to contact the Canadian consulate in Hong Kong.

The other main categories of inquiries involved passport and citizenship issues.

A consulate spokesman was unavailable for comment.

 

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
9

This article is now closed to comments

josephyang
That the Canadians in Hong Kong are "up-in-arms" shows the hypocrisy in this place. Hong Kong-ers did to Canada the same thing that Hong Kong-ers are upset about mainlanders doing to Hong Kong now. Given the benefits provided by Canadian society, the "300,000" Canadians are probably greater freeloaders of Canada than the mainlanders in Hong Kong, many have benefited from low tuition, retirement benefits, and possibly healthcare.
ennoun
Yeah, your suggestion makes good sense. Why would Canadian citizens who travel on non-Canadian passports expect to get their cake and eat it too? They don't even pay tax in Canada yet they want the same benefits as residents who live in the country most of the time. The US tax system seems to address the issue very well. Tax treaties between countries typically have a tax credit agreement so that one does not pay tax twice.
jayb
problem is, canadians working in hongkong do not pay canadian income tax. the best solution is to copy the US model, where irrespective of where you work/live, you are due taxes to uncle sam (with a portion of taxes you paid to hongkong deductible). the days of free lunch are over.
chaz_hen
None of this is about racism, discrimination, or whatever. It's about taxation, the use (or waste) of national resources and USERS that don't even want to commit to one nationality!
Of course they are all proud to parade about Causeway Bay, Central and Mid Levels wearing their "ROOTS" jumpers as a way of "differentiating" themselves from their lowly brethren here or from the Mainland.
chaz_hen
That's assuming one would want to be associated to a specific country forever by having ONE nationality. Canada should first blame its own stupidity for allowing such silliness as recognizing "dual citizenship" in the first place! For sure that was going to be exploited!
patrick.gifford.180
it is amazing to see a hong konger complain about discrimination, hk discriminates south asian people and their very own chinese from the mainland, not to mention africans , i see it everyday in mtr , restaurants, taxis, etc , look yourself in the mirror .
I am french living in hk since 12 years.
petersenkwan
As far as I'm concerned Canadians have limited coverage in healthcare abroad, let alone tuition when they are physically not in the country. Retirement benefits I'm not sure, don't you have to work at least 10 years in the country?
321manu
People make choices. Those choices carry consequences. Citizenship, among other things, confers the right of entry, and the right to avail oneself of government services. But citizens also have responsibilities, including contributing to the government's ability to provide said services, which, as Chaz says, bolls down to taxes. So before the expats in HK whine about possibly losing some consular services, I'd first ask if they're still paying Canadian taxes while in HK. If they're free-loading (from Canada's perspective), then they deserve little sympathy.
As long as the change in consular policy is applied the world over, and not just in HK, then there is no discrimination to speak of whatsoever.
cc805
Break glass with hammer in case of emergency eh?

Login

SCMP.com Account

or