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Should a stand up citizen worry about C-24?

Posted in View Point

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Published on June 26, 2015 with No Comments

Bill C-24 was passed an year ago, allowing the government to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism, high treason and several other serious offences. However, it has generated enough discussion off late as a result of the new provisions that came into effect last month.
Face book witnessed widespread reactions, leading to warning to all dual citizens including those who were born in Canada now have “second –class status” and that their Canadian citizenship can be “stripped arbitrarily.” The “second –class status” soon found mention in drawing room discussions –brewing more storm with backseat drivers playing their role in spreading advice through their non existing infinite knowledge!

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But what does this new law really mean for dual citizens? Does the bill mention or define “second class status”? In order to know so, it’s important to know that as per Canadian laws, all Canadians, whether born in Canada, immigrants who have become Canadian citizens or dual citizens, are treated the same under the judicial system. The system didn’t coin any such phrase, or characterize individuals. Under the new revocation conditions which came into force on May 29 the law gives power to revoke citizenship under certain conditions: if one has obtained citizenship by false representation or fraud or has served as a member of an armed force or organized armed group engaged in an armed conflict with Canada, was convicted of treason, spying offences and sentenced to imprisonment for life; was convicted of a terrorism offence or an equivalent foreign terrorism conviction and sentenced to five years of imprisonment or more. A person who relies on false representation to get all those rights that make him equal to any hardworking Canadian does call for an action. The law is bound to treat a man guilty when he violates the rights of others.
Does an action of the sort against anyone who has indulged in such acts make him a “second class citizen”? A person convicted of treason or spying has worked against you, your nation. Would you want him to have all the rights that you worked hard for? Voices are being raised on other accounts too. The clause is only applicable to holders of dual citizenship. Under this law, the only Canadians who can never lose their citizenship are those born in Canada who do not have another nationality. Canadian citizenship will not be revoked as that would lead to an individual becoming stateless, and Canada can’t do the same to comply with the UN’s 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Critics are distressed with another provision. Majority of revocation cases will be decided by the citizenship and immigration minister instead of a Federal Court judge.

The critics say it denies people the right to due process while giving immigration officials prudence when it comes to annulling citizenships. Can the very fact be denied that the same department also processes the grant of citizenship? And can be trusted enough for any action that may involve revoking. Critics have gone overboard to say that the law discriminates against dual citizens by suggesting they are somehow “less Canadian” and not necessarily entitled to the same rights as Canadian-born citizens. Hence the much discussed “Second Class Citizen” is nothing but an interpretation that is not based upon facts; it stems from certain unfounded apprehensions. This law has been passed to help Canadians live without fear of being spied upon, become victims of terror etc. The critics need to be reminded that the provision in the law is not directed against “less Canadians” but against those who work against Canada.
Canada invites people into the country hoping that they will create a better society or if they are refugees, to give them a better life. The immigrants are expected to create jobs for others, run sustainable businesses and be productive assets to the country. A stand up Canadian citizen who has immigrated here will have no worry about his/her citizenship being revoked or becoming a “SECOND CLASS CITIZEN”.

 

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