Muhammad Chaudhary came nowhere near passing his Canadian-citizenship knowledge test, scoring two out of 20 on the questions about Canada’s geography, history and political system. He was denied citizenship as a result.
But a Federal Court judge in Calgary has overturned that decision, citing a surprising reason: there is evidence his mental illness — schizophrenia — makes it all but impossible for him to retain such facts and figures.
The court has sent the case back to be decided by a different citizenship judge, keeping in mind opinions of the immigrant’s doctor about Mr. Chaudhary’s reasoning abilities.
Is being mentally ill really a better qualifier for Canadian citizenship than illiteracy? Illiterate people seem less likely to go on killing sprees.
Mr. Chaudhary arrived from Pakistan in 2007 and immediately became a permanent resident. Five years later, he appeared before a citizenship judge with his brother, who acted as his guardian.
A report from his psychiatrist, Calgary’s Dr. Clinton Hirst, stated that he had developed schizophrenia in 2007, along with related cognitive deficits that left him with diminished verbal comprehension, working memory and processing speed.
He developed schizophrenia at the same time as he moved to Canada. That certainly is quite a coincidence that there is no need to be suspicious of.
Dr. Hirst indicated that the condition would prevent Mr. Chaudhary from acquiring the kind of knowledge needed to pass the test. “He is incapable of advanced schooling and his career prospects are limited,” the physician added in a later letter to the court.
So make him a citizen. Think of all the contributions that an illiterate schizophrenic incapable of being educated or holding a job can make to Canada.