Immigration bill C-24 decried as path to two-tiered Canadian citizenship

Proposed changes to the Citizenship Act could create a new class of naturalized Canadians who have fewer rights than those born in the country.

That’s according to Zool Suleman, a Vancouver immigration lawyer. He told the Straight that Bill C-24, which was introduced in February as the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, would make it so that new immigrants to Canada could see their citizenship revoked at the discretion of government bureaucrats.

Citizenship could be rescinded if it’s decided an individual fails to show “intent” to reside in Canada, Suleman explained in a telephone interview. Immigrants could also lose their citizenship if they are found guilty of a crime, which creates a form of “double punishment” for one group of Canadians that does not apply to another, Suleman continued.

“There has always been a gradation between a citizen, a resident, and someone who is here on a temporary basis,” he said. “But I think what is happening now is a cleavage is opening up where more and more people are being left in this indeterminist status.”

Suleman noted that with Canada’s low birth rates, the number of Canadians that could come to be affected by these changes is significant.

According to Statistics Canada, immigration accounted for 67 percent of Canada’s population growth in 2013. That number is expected to rise to 80 percent by 2031. In 2011, British Columbia had the lowest birth rate of any province in Canada.

The Canadian Bar Association has found some of the proposed changes are “likely unconstitutional”. A 31-page brief prepared by the CBA’s national immigration law section states that the citizenship-revocation process outlined in Bill C-24 will “primarily be a paper one”, wherein a hearing before a Federal Court judge will only be granted “in limited circumstances”. The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers has also published a summary of the changes outlining its concerns.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada declined to make a representative available for an interview.

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe, NDP critic for citizenship and immigration, takes issue with provisions that allow for the revocation of citizenship without avenues for remediation.

“A lot of lawyers have argued against the constitutionality of this bill because there is no appeal process possible,” she told the Straight in a telephone interview.

Like Suleman, Blanchette-Lamothe called attention to the potential for Bill C-24 to create a different set of rules for citizens new to Canada.

“There should not be two tiers of citizens, where one citizen can have access to our judicial system and another one cannot because their parents are Egyptian, for example,” she said. “That’s a very dangerous path.”

Comments (23) Add New Comment
Of Course Lawyers Dislike This
Hearings before judges mean more money for lawyers. Of course they don't want a situation where lawyers don't get "their cut" of an adjudication.

It is entirely appropriate to have different classes of citizens---the USA does, you cannot run for president if you are not a natural born citizen of the USA.

We already have lots of decisions made by bureaucrats: zoning decisions, regulatory decisions, etc. etc. No natural born Canadian has anything to fear from this---the only people with something to fear are those who might have their citizenship revoked. And in an appeal of an administrative action, there is a different burden than if a federal judge is hearing the matter for the first time. That is probably what the lawyers object to, that they won't be able to use lawyer tricks to get their rich clients off. Does Government provide lawyers for people who cannot afford them in immigration matters?

And the idea that our birth rate is negative therefore we should be importing foreign human resources is nutty. Are Canadians sterile, impotent? Maybe we should encourage our own people to have children through incentives, etc. rather than engaging in a left-wing ideological war that says westerners have "too much" of everything, even children, that it is time to "redistribute the wealth" by slashing our birth rate while actively importing foreigners.
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Dan
Our out of control immigration system is driving house prices through the roof in Vancouver. The result is young families leaving and thus a declining birth rate.

If we want our immigration system to help with the birth rate, why not restrict all immigration to those under 30 years old?
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Yeah!
Having read the first comment ("Of Course Lawyers Dislike This"), I'm glad to see that members of the First Nations community are finally speaking up about all those foreigners!
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K
Your ancestors were immigrants, too. Canada's first prime minister was born in Scotland.
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Michele Baillie
With Citizenship comes loyalties and responsibilities. Those include respecting the laws and social norms of the country you live in. That includes not beating your wife, or women beating their husbands. It does not allow you to sell your childs or spouses kidney or lung to reduce your mortage or tolerating honour killings/beatings either.

In Canada we have what is called The Criminal Code;and yes, it changes from time to time; hey, that's called evolution. It defines what is unacceptable and what is not. The maxims and precepts in Law contained within the Criminal Code contain these paradigms:

You are free; though you are responsible and accountable for your actions when you interfere with the freedom of another. People are equal, though they are different. No one person is more valuable than another.

Not too hard to follow for anyone who has some compassion for other people.

There are perqs for being a Canadian Citizen too; Healthcare, Education, Retirement Pension, Safety; room for improvement there to be honest, lots of room to live and travel just to name a few.

If you can't behave and measure up to what is expected of a Canadian Citizen, than I think you should not BE a Canadian Citizen. This includes "parking" your family here while you go commit criminal acts elsewhere in the world. Espionage against Canada because of your cultural or religious ideology. Funding, aiding and abetting, helping to conceal War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity anywhere in the world....these last two seem to be a particular specialty of some Dual Citizens according to my intel sources.

If a Canadian posessess the basic compassion of "treat another person how you would like to be treated" than they would not seriously consider doing what is in the paragraph immediately above this one, and the proposed law mentioned in this article would never be brought to bear upon them.

Lawyers are lawyers; some are quite nice and are principled people, others are more neutral in their outlook; that is the "mix" of different people that makes the world go 'round.

Leaders understand that certain things need to be done; to maintain a country....Statesmanship, an understanding of human nature, compassion; along with a thorough understanding of the paradox of violence and criminality are essential to making WISE decisions- including unpopular ones...to ensure Canada stays strong
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Mohamed Fouad
Creating 2 tires of Canadians is not constitutional and against Canada values and human rights principles. All Canadians should be treated equally. Citizenship revocation should not be a punishment for those Canadians convicted with a crime. Criminal law, however, should be applied equally on all convicted people after a fair trial whether they are Canadians, permanent residents or visitors.
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skeptic
Considering Canada is a land built by immigration and touts itself on its 'multiculturalism' this law in itself is discriminatory. Are we saying Canada's too full, too good for people now?
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JRC
My problem is not with some immigration reform, this is a live issue through many wealthy countries, it's with badly drafted legislation.

It's a bit of a joke that the government that was selling TWCs brings in something to block or manipulate ("strengthen") citizenship - it's like refusing to turn off a tap while you're using paper towels to soak up the pool. Dealing with concerns about citizens of convenience and insufficient ties to Canada needs more targeted law and policy, not faceless bureaucrats. They're using things with general appeal to a certain demographic (greater emphasis on language testing scores, more days required to qualify), to try and sneak through things that aggregate the government a bunch of arbitrary power (Ministerial decisions not subject to review!).
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Marion Vermeersch
Anyone who had their citizenship stripped as I did in 2003 (no judicial process there, no notice & no way to appeal)would agree with giving the right to strip citizenship, legally, to a single political office holder.
My Dad was a Canadian soldier in WWII, Mom was his War Bride, and there was a Canadian Privy Council Order in place stating clearly that we would be given citizenship upon arrival at the end of the war. We lived our entire lives here in Ontario, paid all taxes, participated in everything: my parents loved Canada and would be appalled to know, were they alive, that this had happened.

I grew up in Norfolk County,often known as "tobacco country", home to diverse agriculture and also to a diverse cultural mix as many immigrants arrived after wars and revolutions with their languages and cultures. They enriched this area while contributing greatly to the economy. Many of their descendants are dual citizens depending on Canada's agreements with the countries from whence they came. They deserve better than to be relegated to some sort of second-class citizenship.
Citizenship is important: I hope they take their time and reconsider carefully this new legislation. I don't want mine back, as a Lost Canadian, only to be subject to losing it again if somebody decides I don't meet their standards.
Nor do I look forward to having mine restored, as a child of a war bride, when there are four other groups not apparently included in this. There also is no acknowledgement that all those soldiers of wars prior to 1947 were never citizens, which is part of the rationale for stripping ours(even though, like Jackie Scott's, they may have been born in Canada).
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Narif
This bill is unconstitutional, plain and simple:

1- Violates the principal that all citizens are equal under the law. Because now what applies for one citizen (naturalized) doesn't apply for another (born). It effectively creates a 1st class and 2nd class citizens.

2- It uses citizenship stripping as punishment. This has no precedence in the free world!

3- It plain out violates section 6.(1) (Mobility Rights) of the "Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms" signed by her majesty the queen in 1982, which plainly states: "6. (1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.". Now Harper wants to change the constitution to only accommodate "first-class" citizens?!

4- It plain out tries to circumvent a Canadian law pinnacle: THE DUE PROCESS. Harper is trying to give his bureaucrats the power to strip citizenship from whoever "they see fit" with no possibility of appeal or even a hearing!


Harper and his government are planning to rape the constitution with their parliamentary majority. Their proposal is not only unconstitutional, but will also only result in bitterness with new immigrants, instead of helping them to integrate - something that's already difficult for those who did not have to go through it.
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Adam
"[I]mmigration accounted for 67 percent of Canada’s population growth in 2013."

Whether via 'temporary' migration (Canada has no exit visas), officially permanent immigration, or whatever other means, the Federal government is bringing in too many people--currently, nearly 5x the annual volume during the Trudeau era. This is simply not sustainable, and is the primary driver of urban sprawl, bulging landfills, strain on social infrastructure like healthcare and education, and rising physical infrastructure (sewage, water, transit, roads) costs to keep up with growth. But all of these warm bodies mean big profits for the real estate and financial lobbies that own all three levels of government, hence any questioning of the numbers is verboten. We saw the immigration-as-taboo-topic factor with Jason Kenney's amazing tirade against Dr David Suzuki.
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@Marion Vermeersch
"He went overseas as a sergeant with the Canadian artillery, where he met my mom. My brother and I were both born in Sussex."

If that is you I found this quote from, then you were born in Sussex, not Canada. You were not "stripped" of Canadian Citizenship, you never had it. You are a British Citizen. You were not born in a Canadian Embassy overseas.

It seems odd to me that people would have such an emotional understanding of something that is so thoroughly artificial, like Canadian Citizenship. It is a question akin to whether or not one is a shareholder in a corporation. That is a matter of whether one is eligible to hold shares and whether one is in fact holder of a share. And if a corporation finds that many people are becoming shareholders not to contribute to the growth and prosperity of the company but simply to take advantage of it, all of those interested in the unity and profitability of the company should be concerned.
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Rafael
Canada survived the last recession because immigrants injected millions to its economy. Immigration has become a lucrative business for the government of canada, where they advertise that canada needs more professionals and when they arrive they have to clean your floor and most of the time for free. I am a newcomer to this country, I became canadian and I love this country. My background is french and british, but i was born in latinamerica. I have lots of family here and this Bill C-24 is a slap in my face. I feel like a jewish guy living in Berling in 1939, where anytime I can loose everything I have worked for in just a second if a son, grandson or a great grandson of an also immigrant does not like my accent. If that is so, I prefer to take my carreer, my experience and my money somewhere else where i can find security, because I don't feel safe anymore. The original people of this territory are the natives, remember that.
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Carolina
There is a detail that seems to be missing from all this, and it's that, in order to obtain canadian citizenship, immigrants have had to go through a process that includes having lived in the country for at least three years, presenting and passing an exam about history, geography, laws and political system, among others, and also clearing a criminal background check, in Canada and internationally. The canadian government holds the key to grant or not the citizenship status, so if they consider than "an individual fails to show “intent” to reside in Canada", why grant them citizenship in first place?

That means that after the becoming a citizen, one should be a citizen with all the rights and duties that a every citizen has, no more, no less.

This project of law is unconstitutional.

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Marion Vermeersch

It is good to see that so many people are interesting and caring about citizenship, even though we probably all vary in our opinions.

I would like to explain why I believe I am a Canadian citizen: I had no reason to think otherwise until 2003. Yes, I was born in Sussex, England so have British citizenship automatically, although I left as an infant and have never been back. The Third Canadian Army was stationed in that area for the five years prior to the D-Day invasion followed by the liberation of France, Belgium and Holland. As there were thousands of War Brides and children at the end of the war to transport back to Canada when troops were discharged, the Canadian government made an Order in Council, P.C.858, February 9, 1945 which states:
"Every dependent who is permitted to enter Canada pursuant to section two of this order shall for the purpose of Canadian immigration law be deemed to be a Canadian citizen if the member of the forces upon whom he is dependent is a Canadian citizen and shall be deemed to have Canadian domicile if the said member has Canadian domicile".

My brother spent a lifetime in the Canadian Navy, which viewed him as a citizen, and also worked with a police force as a veteran. I worked for over 50 years full time in several jobs (farmwork, banking, social services) - including a short stint with a Federal government office the year the SIN numbers came out: they had no problem then with my citizenship. My children, who were born in Canada, both have Canadian citizenship and British, because of my birth there. They may also have Belgian citizenship as their father is also a dual citizen (he does not have a problem with his Canadian citizenship). If you got rid of all the Canadians with dual citizenship there would be very few people left: many don't even realize they have it.

For the above reasons, I hope that much more consideration is given to this Bill C-24, especially the section on revocation that appears to discriminate against dual citizens.
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Rashmikant Dave
IF Bill C 24 says that Citizenship can be lost or its rights and duties curtailed then what was given to the proposed tier 2 citizen is not really citizenship if it is something like permanent residence and cannot be called citizenship. Also remember whether anyone agrees with it or not there are people who are staying out of Canada due to many genuine reasons like for example their spouses were not allowed into Canada by a technicality of law like Sec 117 9 D or immigration and refugee protection act. Is it correct in law, morality and from an ethical point of view to curtail "citizen ship" on these grounds also it is very doubtful that such measures will make Canada stronger. Canada will become stronger by getting more jons, economic development and integration of its new citizenship. Throwing away good citizens on grounds in the proposed bill will not help.
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John
Let us take our country back!!! A lot of brain washed people on this form wake up!If you are 40 or over you know the standard of living and country have gone down hill. Let's all bury our heads in the sand and keep our mouths shut after all it the poor and vanishing middle class that suffers. We need more third world immigration so we can destroy this country faster. I am glad I do not have kids this is not the Canada I grew up in too bad. I just want too thank our corrupt government for being greedy and not having a conscious.
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David S.
This bill might pass, but it has a snowflake's chance in hell of surviving its (rather inevitable I bet) first Supreme Court hearing, after which it will be absolved of all practical meaning, except it being a statement of hate and unwelcome towards immigrants.

"They Took Er Jerbs!"
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volens-nolens
what pension?....Canada is only country in the world that tax you whole lifetime and does not allow you to enjoy your retirement is you leave country for more than 6 months...I do not mind loosing healthcare after 6 months but do not keep me on the leash for 400$ monthly.
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Real opinion, i won't bother with mindless hater
Can anyone give me opinion on this.
I became Canadian last year, after finish University in Ottawa, i found a better opportunity as an Asian to work for a company in Taiwan. Therefore, now i am not physical presence in Canada that i am actually eligible to loose my status.
My family got me my permanent resident card through business class application when i was 17 years old, and i move to Canada at the age of 15(which two of this years i pay the education fee as an international student). spending almost 10 years in Canada i have never broken any law. Not only that, i spend more of the family fund than i made in Canada, hence i am actually helping to make Canadian richer(than the lynching off many complained).
Now, you worry about us new immigrants taking away your common wealth, while the government approve much of your oil company being acquired by China.
(http://wpmedia.business.financialpost.com/2013/12/fp1207_china_table_c_a...), isn't that bit ironic?

Do you believe, that just because i find a better job opportunity abroad, that I should be stripped away my rights to be Canadian? And, will the money my family invest through business class application be refund to us once this law cancels my status. Just Wondering

By the way, I probably know more of the Canadian History than most of so call real Canadians. the only reason i wish to become Canadian is the stability of its politics and its idea of freedom. I found it kind of funny that how many people are heading back to Canada compete in the Canadian labor market just to maintain his/her status. Would that be funny, the security you are looking for can very well be damage by this incompetent new immigration law.
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