The Senate passed Bill C-6 on Wednesday (May 3, 2017) after debating for almost a year on changes affecting citizenship, children’s rights and language requirements.
Bill C-6 which proposes changes to the Citizenship Act, removes the right to revoke citizenship from dual nationals who are convicted terrorists; ends the obligation for new citizens 14 -18 and 55 -65 to know either English or French; reduces the number of days someone must spend in Canada before they are eligible for citizenship; minors can apply for citizenship independent of their parents.
For many Canadians the most troubling change is the non revoking of Canadian citizenship even if the individual is convicted of terrorism. If passed in the House of Commons, it would automatically reinstate citizenship for dual nationals such as Zakaria Amara, a member of the Toronto 18 who intended to bomb downtown Toronto. Under the Conservatives’ Bill C-24, he had his citizenship revoked last fall. Responding to criticism from the Conservatives about Bill C-6, Prime Minister Trudeau and cabinet ministers repeated “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian”.
Conservative Senator David Lang (represents the Yukon) is Chair of the National Security and Defence committee in the Senate. He is fiercely opposed to the changes and believes it ” weakens Canadian citizenship on several fronts.”
But he is most concerned that “If an individual is convicted for terrorism, they will be able to keep their Canadian passport and all the benefits that go with it. It is ironic that the government supports the view that if you lied to get into Canada, you can lose your citizenship, but if you are a dual national Canadian who is convicted for a serious terrorism offence, you cannot have our citizenship revoked.”
According to Senator Lang, terrorism is a real threat to our country. Of the 218 terrorist suspects under investigation by CSIS today, roughly 60 are either dual nationals or permanent residents.
Approximately 180 people with a connection to Canada are engaged in terrorist activity abroad and an additional 60 have returned and are freely walking the streets. He claims 86 percent of Canadians support revocation of citizenship for terrorism.
The former Conservative government’s citizenship legislation revoked citizenship from dual Canadian citizens convicted of terrorism, treason or espionage.
The Senate vote to pass Bill C-6 was supported by 45 senators, 20 against, with no one abstaining.
The Bill now goes to the House of Commons for further examination, and MP’s can accept, reject or modify it.
See also: “Terrorists should get to keep their Canadian citizenship”: Trudeau – click HERE
Doris is a multimedia journalist with many years of experience. She has worked in radio, television and print journalism and writes on a variety of topics, especially the crucial issues in Canadian and Jewish life.