Friday, 26 February 2016 08:47


Written by 
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Constitutional Challenge: Bill C-24, Launched By Civil Rights Groups


TORONTO: A new law that gives federal government the power to revoke Canadian citizenship for certain dual nationals undermines the country's identity and violates its Constitution, a coalition of civil rights groups said Thursday.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) said the rules that went into effect when Bill C-24 became law in May create a two-tiered system in which naturalized Canadians are treated as second-class.

The two organizations are launching a formal constitutional challenge of the law on the grounds that it violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The organizations take exception to the government's much-publicized position that the bill is necessary to protect Canada from terrorism, but have focused the charter challenge on many of the law's lesser-known clauses.

Vague stipulations about a new Canadian's intention to live here, plus changes to the procedure by which people can contest challenges to their citizenship, mean the bill could have an impact on millions more than Ottawa's intended target, they said.

"All Canadian citizens used to have the same citizenship rights no matter what their origin," B.C. Civil Liberties Association Executive Director Josh Paterson said at a news conference.

"We were all equal under the law. Now this new law has divided us into classes of citizens: those with more rights and those - overwhelmingly immigrants to Canada and their children and grandchildren - who have fewer rights."

In rolling out the contentious bill, the federal government spoke openly about some of the new powers it would provide.

The new law allows Ottawa to revoke citizenship for anyone convicted of terrorism, treason or espionage offences inside or outside of Canada. The rules also apply to dual citizens who take up arms against Canada by fighting in a foreign army or joining an international terrorist organization.

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has previously stated that the regulations are necessary to combat "the ever-evolving threat of Jihadist terrorism."

But the civil rights groups said other provisions, such as the "intent to reside clause," present more insidious threats.

CARL member Lorne Waldman said the ambiguously worded clause forces naturalized citizens to declare their intention to make Canada their permanent home, but leaves the door open to accuse them of misrepresenting their claims if they're out of the country for an extended period of time.

"This means that if after they obtain citizenship they wish to travel abroad for an extended period, perhaps if they got accepted into a university or because there's a family member who's ill, they face the prospect of having their citizenship revoked because they misrepresented their intention," he said.

Waldman also expressed concern over the revamped revocation process.

He said people on the verge of losing citizenship previously had the right to a hearing in front of a judge, who would then decide their fate.

Now, Waldman said, people are given 60 days to fight the revocation through a written submission, and the final decisions are made by government employees.

He also criticized Ottawa's stated purpose for Bill C-24, saying many terrorism convictions handed down outside of Canada are reached through dubious processes.

Waldman cited the example of Mohamed Fahmy, the Canadian-born journalist convicted of terrorist offences in Egypt during a trial that was internationally condemned as politically motivated and unjust.

Fahmy's case was so infamous that the official opposition New Democrats extracted a promise from the government that the new rules would not be used to target him when the law was first announced.

A spokesman for the federal government said it would "aggressively defend itself in court" and said the bill enjoys popular support.

This is not the first time Bill C-24 has been taken before the courts.

Hence, Toronto-based lawyers Paul Slansky and Rocco Galati launched a constitutional court challenge against the new law. Federal Court Judge Donald Rennie dismissed the case earlier this year.




Read 464802 times Last modified on Friday, 26 February 2016 08:51


  • Comment Link Bryon Saturday, 18 November 2017 17:33 posted by Bryon

    Thank you for this brilliant website. I am trying
    to read a lot more posts. Many thanks again!

  • Comment Link Alisa Saturday, 18 November 2017 17:31 posted by Alisa

    Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Very helpful information particularly the last part
    :) I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this particular info for a very long time.

    Thank you and best of luck.

  • Comment Link Phillipp Saturday, 18 November 2017 17:25 posted by Phillipp

    Excellent post, you have stated some excellent details, I
    think this is a good website.

  • Comment Link Judi Saturday, 18 November 2017 17:24 posted by Judi

    There's definately a lot to learn about this topic.
    I like all of the points you have made.

  • Comment Link Latosha Saturday, 18 November 2017 17:21 posted by Latosha

    I think more writers should write with desire like you.
    Even informative articles such as this can have personality.
    That’s what you have put in this useful post. Your views are very unique.

  • Comment Link fathers day shirt from daughter Saturday, 18 November 2017 17:04 posted by fathers day shirt from daughter

    you should always be careful with recruitment agencies because some of them are just scammers.,

  • Comment Link Wilbert Saturday, 18 November 2017 16:55 posted by Wilbert

    I read this piece of writing completely about the
    difference of hottest and previous technologies,
    it's awesome article.

  • Comment Link Elliot Saturday, 18 November 2017 16:55 posted by Elliot

    I pay a quick visit daily a few websites and blogs to read content, however this weblog presents feature based articles.

  • Comment Link Domingo Saturday, 18 November 2017 16:55 posted by Domingo

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Finding the time and actual effort to generate a great article… but
    what can I say… I procrastinate a llot and don't eem to
    geet anything done.

  • Comment Link Napoleon Saturday, 18 November 2017 16:49 posted by Napoleon

    I'm not sure why but this site is loading incredibly slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end?
    I'll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.