Canada’s new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, has announced the government’s intention to repeal the previous government’s laws concerning the revocation of citizenship. The bill passed when the Conservative Party held the parliamentary majority. The latest federal election saw the Liberal Party holding the majority of votes.
The law was introduced to allow the revocation of citizenship upon the conviction for terrorism. It would not have applied to those born within Canada, but could have been applied to those who gained citizenship upon arrival in the country.
For instance, Zakaria Amara who was born in Jordan but became a Canadian citizen, has received a letter stating the intention to revoke his citizenship for his part in a plot to blow up the Toronto Stock Exchange. He is currently serving a life sentence in prison. One of his confederates, also in prison received a similar letter.
Bill C-24 has been challenged in the Canadian courts, but with the minister’s announcement this morning, it is no longer in effect.
Both the implementation and the revocation of Bill C-24 have been controversial. It was argued that people who acquire citizenship and then go on to commit treason, or engage in acts of terrorism or fight against the Canadian military, should be stripped of their citizenship.
Those who worked to revoke the bill have maintained that once citizenship has been granted, it is equal to those who gained it by being born in the country. That doesn’t preclude incarceration if criminal acts are committed.
Another area of the bill that will be revoked is the residency requirements during the first six years. It would require the new citizen to physically reside in the country for 67% of the time.
The ability of the government to strip citizenship from people would remain if it can be shown that fraud or lying occurred in obtaining it.
Canadian Bar Association
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