Liberals move to overhaul rules on revoking, granting citizenship

February 25, 2016

The federal government is scrapping measures brought in by the Conservatives that allow Ottawa to revoke the citizenship of Canadians convicted of terrorism and other offences.

Legislation last year allowed Canadians who held dual nationalities to be stripped of their Canadian citizenship if they were found guilty of terrorism, treason or spying offences.

The Liberals campaigned on a promise to revoke the measures and have now made good on their pledge. Immigration Minister John McCallum introduced his new bill when the House of Commons began sitting Thursday.

"It will still be possible to revoke citizenship, as it always has been, for those who misrepresent who they are or who are guilty of citizenship fraud," McCallum told reporters.

"I think under the previous law there was a risk of a slippery slope," he said. " We do have a criminal justice system. We do have courts. We do have prisons where those convicted of crimes are sent. And that is the way in which we deal with this."

Toronto 18 ringleader's citizenship restored

During the campaign, the Conservatives moved to revoke the citizenship of Zakaria Amara of the so-called Toronto 18, a group of men convicted for plotting to place bombs in Southern Ontario, but the matter is still before the courts.

An exchange on the issue between then-prime minister Stephen Harper and current prime minister Justin Trudeau was one of the more heated moments in the federal leaders debate on foreign policy, with Harper asking why those convicted of terrorism shouldn't have their citizenship taken away.

"A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian," Trudeau responded. 


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