US and Canada: Citizenship, terrorism and linking the two

The following comment appeared at the MapleSandbox blog last week:

Citizenship and terrorism is making news both in Canada and US right now.


In the questioning of Obama’s nomination for CIA Director, Senator Dianne Feinstein referred to a man killed in a drone attack as a “so-called” American citizen.

She and CIA nominee John Brennan had this exchange:

FEINSTEIN: See, that’s the problem. When people hear “American,” they think someone who’s upstanding. And this man was not upstanding by a long shot.


FEINSTEIN: And maybe you cannot discuss it here, but I’ve read enough to know that he was a real problem.

“When people hear American, they think someone who’s upstanding?” Really?

When I hear American Senators or members of Congress, I think financial terrorists. I have never once thought of them, Shulman, et. al. as “upstanding.” (Many apologies to Steven Mopsick who insists those folks in Washington are moral, intelligent and highly educated).

If only they would consider us “so-called” Americans instead of trying to reclaim us as “US persons.” We are simply “upstanding” people who choose to live our honest, law-abiding tax-paying lives away from United States.


Instead of killing Canadian citizens who have been involved with terrorist activities, Canada is taking a different but still controversial approach. If the person is a naturalized Canadian citizen, Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister is proposing to revoke citizenship.

CBC National Affairs reporter Chris Hal says this is a “slippery slope.”

In this piece, Mr. Hall raises some of the same points we have raised relating to FATCA: This “would create two tiers of citizenship and so provide greater protection to people born in this country than those who choose to come here and become citizen.”

(Exactly what we have been saying about FATCA!)

“As well, opponents argue that the two-tier approach violates Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees that every Canadian is entitled to equal treatment under the law.”

(Ditto, what we have been saying!)

Mr. Hall reports that Peter Showler, a law professor at University of Ottawa says: Citizenship conveys the same rights and obligations on everyone in a nation.

(Threepeat what we have been saying)

“Canadian citizenship is precious. If a person is a naturalized Canadian, it means they can count on being Canadian,” he says.


Although both the American issue and the Canadian one revolve around terrorism, they are relevant to our situation. Can a government like US force citizenship on someone? Do Canadians citizens born in US have equal rights under the law or do we have a two-tiered system?

Mr. Showler is “Director of Refugee Forum, located at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa. The Refugee Forum undertakes various research and law reform initiatives dealing with refugee law. Peter teaches Immigration and Refugee Law and Advanced Refugee law.”

Although he is primarily involved with immigration and refugee law, it might be useful to contact Mr. Showler to see if he would be interested in the FATCA issue as a potential two-tier citizenship issue. If he is not able or interested, perhaps he could refer us to someone else at the Human Rights Research and Education.

Does anyone have any other knowledge of Mr. Schowler or the Centre?

Those interested in the modern day version of “McCarthyism” might find the following discussions to be of interest:

Canada – Stripping People of their citizenship:

United States – Sending drones to kill U.S. Citizens Abroad:

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