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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Stripped of citizenship - who's next?

From The Canadian Press

The federal government has revoked the citizenship of an Islamic extremist who masterminded a plot to bomb downtown Toronto in an effort to terrorize Canadians and cripple the economy.

A member of the so-called Toronto 18, Zakaria Amara was sentenced in 2010 to life in prison with no chance of parole until 2016 after admitting his role in the plan aimed in part at forcing Canadian soldiers to leave Afghanistan.

Defence Minister Jason Kenney sent a tweet describing him as a man who hated Canada so much that he “forfeited his own citizenship” by plotting to murder hundreds of Canadians.

I understand that the crimes of the Toronto 18 are horrendous, and an affront to Canadians who value their country and their lives. But even though Amara is a duel citizen, and has another country to land in should that ever be necessary, at one point in his life, Canadians believed he was qualified by every measure to be a citizen. When he committed these crimes, he belonged to us.

How secure is citizenship if the government of the day decides that if you break this or that law, they have the right to strip it from you? Amara is a terrorist - but what if, say cyber criminals become a target? Or habitual criminals? Or any violent offender - even one who commits a minor violent offense? It seems to me that the Harper government wants to be able to say Amara wasn't "one of us" or he wouldn't have done what he did. If he was, well, now we've disowned him.

I believe this is terrible policy in regard to Citizenship. I believe if a country takes you in as a citizen, you are theirs for better or for worse. There can not be two classes of Canadian citizen. Those with dual citizenship cannot worry that future winds of change may allow their hard won rights to be stripped from them.

I'm fairly certain this law will be challenged. I hope it is. The precedent it sets is dangerous and demotivational for anyone thinking of becoming a Canadian citizen.  

Read the Globe and Mail article here

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