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Bill C-425 strips dual citizenship to demand "loyalty" to Harper's Canada

By: 
Ian Beeching

February 26, 2013

Supposedly reacting to a terrorist attack in Bulgaria on July 18, 2012, allegedly involving a Canadian citizen and leaving six dead, Canadian immigration minister Jason Kenney is backing bill C-425 that could strip dual citizens of their Canadian citizenship. Technically, the bill will target a minuscule number of dual citizens convicted of terrorism, but the legislation's real intention is to demand "loyalty" to Harper's Canada while ignoring state terrorism.
 
“Canadian citizenship is predicated on loyalty to this country and I cannot think of a more obvious act of renouncing one’s sense of loyalty than going and committing acts of terror,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is quoted as saying. As Kenney admitted, "I think the value of this proposal is largely symbolic, educational...Our prospective amendments have not been triggered by any reflection on dual nationality but rather on the question of violent disloyalty to Canada."
 
The hypocrisy is all too glaring when compared to the 1997 failed assassination attempt of Hamas's political chief Khaled Meshaal in Jordan. Israeli intelligence agency Mossad used a Canadian passport to conceal the identity of their agents. Despite the similarities to the attack in Bulgaria, no action was taken by the Canadian government and Israel remains one of Canada's closest allies.
 
“To strip someone of citizenship is a very serious sanction indeed and to the extent someone is culpable of acts of war there are more than enough tools in the existing arsenal of prosecutorial prospects to deal with it,” Queen’s University law professor Sherry Aiken has stated. Stripping someone of their rights as a Canadian citizen is an egregious affront to civil liberties and could result in people being sent to countries were they may be tortured or worse.
 
The treatment of Maher Arar is a case in point. Mr. Arar, a Canadian and Syrian citizen and resident of Canada since 1987, was deported from the United States to Syria as a suspected member of Al Qaeda while returning to Canada from a family vacation in Tunis. In Syria he was tortured and held in prison for a year. The Syrian government later stated Arar was “completely innocent,” and a further commission of inquiry ordered by the Canadian government cleared him of all links to terrorism. Despite having to pay Mr. Arar $10.5 million in reparations, the Conservative government is set on a policy which would not only repeat the error, but might have resulted in Mr. Arar’s Canadian citizenship being stripped altogether—leaving him without recourse to the meagre diplomatic support he was eventually able to demand through the efforts of his wife, Monia Mazigh.
 
For Kenney, apparently, occupying Afghanistan (resulting in 14,728 civilian deaths since 2007 according to the UN) and handing prisoners over to known torturers, or dropping hundreds of bombs on Libya, or the brutal genocidal colonial foundation of Canada are legitimate. Thus, his statements around Bill C-45 implicitly demand Canadians accept Canadian state acts of terror. Meanwhile this latest attack on civil liberties seems designed to bolster the rest of Kenney’s anti-immigrant and –refugee arsenal.

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