@TorontoStar Thomas Walkom – Changes To Canada Citizenship Act in a #FATCA World

This is a brilliant article – one of the best I have seen on Canada’s proposed changes to the citizenship act. The article includes:

“But it would also give Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government unprecedented authority to strip Canadians — including thousands born in this country — of their citizenship. … (and later on)

Current law lets the government strip naturalized Canadians of their citizenship only if they obtained their status fraudulently.

But throughout history, the citizenship of Canadians born in this country has been irrevocable.

No more. Bill C-24 would let the government unilaterally strip citizenship from any Canadian — naturalized or native-born — who has been convicted in any country of a terrorist offence and sentenced to at least five years in jail.

Other crimes that could cost Canadians their citizenship would include treason and espionage.

In all cases, the only caveat is that the person could not be left stateless.

Decisions in these matters would be made by cabinet alone rather than a court.

Government press releases say the new revocation measures would apply only to dual citizens — that is, to Canadians who are also citizens of another country. Technically, this is true.

What the press releases don’t say is that thousands of Canadians born in this country may be dual citizens without realizing the fact.

That’s because, as the government’s own foreign affairs department points out on its website, many countries automatically treat the children — and even the grandchildren — of their nationals as citizens, regardless of birthplace.”

This article dovetails nicely with an article by Chris Selly of the National Post (which is also a must read). As is often the case, the comments are better than the article.

Harper Government’s proposed amendments to the Citizenship Act demonstrate the importance of having the definition of citizenship defined in the Constitution. Interestingly, S. 6 of the Charter of Rights gives rights to those who are Canadian citizens, but doesn’t define what a Canadian Citizen (or a permanent resident of Canada) is. In contrast, the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution (the abuse by the Obama administration notwithstanding) gives citizenship a constitutional meaning.

These proposed amendments to Canada’s Citizenship Act are very dangerous and should be opposed by all. As Mr. Walkom notes, they can (and if history is a guide) will be used for improper purposes. They must be opposed by ALL Canadians!

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