Immigration Minister John MacCallum has introduced legislation in the federal parliament that repeals the law passed by the former Harper government that stripped dual Canadian citizens of their citizenship if convicted of terrorism-related offenses.
|The Liberals promised during their 2015 election campaign that they would repeal the law. The promise was applauded by many lawyers, civil rights activists and others. So far the law has been used to deprive only one person of his citizenship — Zakaria Amara, the ringleader of the so-called Toronto 18who were charged back in 2006 with planning "to detonate a truck bomb in downtown Toronto, storm Parliament Hill and behead the prime minister."|
"It will still be possible to revoke citizenship, as it always has been, for those who misrepresent who they are or who are guilty of citizenship fraud. I think under the previous law there was a risk of a slippery slope. If one crime made you eligible for revocation this year, what crimes could be added next year?We do have a criminal justice system. We do have courts. We do have prisons where those convicted of crimes are sent. And that is the way in which we deal with this."The Harper government had used the euphemistic title "Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act" for their legislation.
"This man hated Canada so much, he planned on murdering hundreds of Canadians. He forfeited his own citizenship."Conservative MP Michelle Rempel was critical of the Liberal decision, saying:
"Make no mistake. This bill is a win for Zakaria Amara and not many Canadians. A lot of Canadians will question the government's judgment with the decision made today."McCallum admitted that the optics of the situation were not that favorable:
"My life might be a little simpler if there wasn't this one person out there. But the fact is, there is. So I am comfortable adhering to the point of principle that this applies across the board."
"The dumbest actually was taking away the 50 per cent credit for international students, because if there's any group in this country who would be good Canadians — they're educated, they know about this country, they speak English or French — it's them. So why punch them in the nose when we're trying to attract them here in competition with Australia, the U.K. and others?"