Ottawa, Canada — Part of the new Bill C-24 now includes a two-tier citizenship system that says some Canadian citizens can have their citizenship removed.
The new law, which is part of the Anti-terrorism Act 2015 introduced by the Harper government last year, says that the new system affects dual citizens who are born in Canada but have another nationality or those who have immigrated to Canada.
Canadian citizens born in Canada and not eligible to obtain another nationality cannot have their citizenship taken away. However, Canadians with a second nationality now have second-class status, even if they were born in Canada, and under Bill C-24, can have their citizenship revoked if found guilty of “jihadi terrorism”.
Taking effect immediately, Canada is now able to revoke citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism, treason and high treason, and/or spying for foreign governments. The purpose of the new law, according to an online news release commented on by Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister, is to protect Canadians.
“Our Government knows that there is no higher purpose for any government than to ensure the safety and security of its citizens and we have never been afraid to call jihadi terrorism exactly what it is. That is why we are taking steps to confront the ever evolving threat of jihadi terrorism by revoking citizenship of dual nationals who have been convicted of heinous crimes against Canada such as terrorism, espionage for foreign governments or taking up arms against Canada and our brave men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces. Our Government’s changes to the Citizenship Act will ensure that those who wish to do us harm will not be able to exploit their Canadian citizenship to endanger Canadians or our free and democratic way of life.”
Currently, citizenship can be taken away mainly on the basis of crimes that are considered threats to Canada’s national security, like terrorism or espionage, or demonstrations of disloyalty to Canada, like treason. But legal experts warn that the list of offences that could lead to the removal of citizenship might be expanded in the future.