Canadian Club

Birthright Citizenship and National Belonging

By (author) Lois Harder
Categories: Jurisprudence and general issues, Law
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Paperback : 9781487548605, 216 pages, October 2022

Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. Operation Daddy, War Brides, and the Making of Canadians: Canadian Citizenship Law, or the Canadian National Family
3. Feminine Virtues and Lost Canadians
4. The Veranda of Citizenship: The 1977 Citizenship Act and After
5. Lost to Canada by Ordinary Means
6. Security and Birthright Citizenship Determination
7. Reproductive Technologies and “Maternity Tourism:” Jus sanguinis and Jus soli Redux
8. Alternatives


Birth-based citizenship is widely considered to be the most secure claim to political belonging. Despite the general belief that liberal democracies are formed through consent, in fact, most people are members of a political community by virtue of the circumstances of their birth. In Canadian Club, Lois Harder tracks the development of Canada’s Citizenship Act from its first iteration in 1947 to the provisions governing the citizenship of children born abroad to Canadian parents with the assistance of reproductive technologies. Reviewing a range of cases, Harder reveals how membership in the Canadian political community relies on norms surrounding gender, family, and sexuality, as well as presumptions regarding the constitution of "authentic" national identity, racial hierarchy, and the rightness of settler colonialism.

Canadian Club concludes with a consideration of alternative approaches to forming political communities. Ultimately, it asks whether birth-based citizenship is the best we can do and what a more democratic and socially just alternative might look like.