Bill C-24 lawsuit claims no legislation can strip Canadians of citizenship

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      A Toronto lawyer has launched a court challenge against controversial changes to the Canada’s Citizenship Act.

      On June 25, Rocco Galati filed documents in a federal court that argue Parliament and the Governor General surpassed their constitutional authorities in approving certain aspects of Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.

      The lawsuit primarily targets provisions in the bill that allow for the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration to revoke the citizenship of a Canadian-born citizen and deport them from the country.

      “The Federal Parliament has absolutely no legislative competence to legislate the revocation, removal, annulment, or any extinguishing whatsoever of the citizenship status, per say, of any Canadian-born citizen,” reads the notice of application.

      It states that citizenship is “inalienable, and cannot be ‘revoked’ under any circumstance by Federal Parliament”, and that citizenship is a “fundamental constitutional protection, outside of the legislative competence of the Federal Parliament”.

      Galati’s lawsuit, which he filed on behalf of lawyers with the Constitutional Rights Centre, might only be the first of multiple court proceedings challenging the constitutionality of the Conservative government’s new citizenship laws, which have already passed through the House of Commons and the Senate and received royal assent.

      On June 19, the Straight reported that the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL), working with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Amnesty International, is preparing a court challenge against Bill C-24.

      Those organizations plan to argue that the changes violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

      “This proposed law would allow certain Canadians to be stripped of citizenship that was validly obtained by birth or by naturalization,” says CARL president Lorne Waldman, quoted in a release. “We think that is unconstitutional, and we intend to challenge this law if it is passed.”

      Vancouver immigration lawyer Zool Suleman has argued that Bill C-24 could be especially concerning to immigrants new to the country.

      Citizenship could be rescinded if it’s decided an individual fails to show “intent” to reside in Canada, he explained in a May 18 interview with the Straight. 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.

      The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) has also found certain provisions of Bill C-24 are “likely unconstitutional”. A 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”.

      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.

      Galati’s lawsuit means the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act joins a number of other Conservative rules taken to court in recent years. Lawyers with Pivot Legal Society are fighting a Health Canada regulation that bans B.C. doctors from providing select patients with prescription heroin. Pivot is also challenging mandatory minimum sentences for small-time drug dealers. And it’s expected that proposed prostitution laws targeting the clients of sex workers could soon become the subject of a constitutional challenge.



      Utter Tripe

      Jun 27, 2014 at 2:56pm

      Canadian Citizenship was created by parliament and therefore can be annulled by Parliament. In fact, we could all be stripped of our Canadian Citizenship, and we would revert to being British subjects in right of the one imperial crown. God save _the queen_, not _every queen_.

      Michele Baillie

      Jun 27, 2014 at 3:55pm

      One thing I would like to see is ending Recognition of Dual Citizenship; that is to say Canada recognizing that the Canadian Citizen also has formal, recognized citizenship of another country. A citizen of questionable loyalties? End that. Do it now.

      Citizen of one country- and my country is Canada- there is no mistrusting, nor misunderstanding my loyalties.


      Jun 28, 2014 at 11:26am

      Here we go again.It seems the Supreme Court is having to working overtime, admirably ruling that yet another piece of Con legislation is unconstitutional. Unlike Harper, the Supreme Court seems to have a better grasp of democracy.


      Jun 28, 2014 at 12:55pm

      Let's think logically instead of legally. What do you do with a person that has been stripped of their citizenship if they were born here? We can't send them anywhere, why would any other country take them or be obligated to? They can no longer work, vote or receive social services and health care. What becomes of such a person? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. What monstrosity would care to create such people?


      Jun 28, 2014 at 1:25pm

      Michele Baillie writes;"Citizen of one country- and my country is Canada- there is no mistrusting, nor misunderstanding my loyalties."

      Blind patriotism is a disease that gave rise to Hitler's Nazis. Harper's Canada is not my Canada. Whatever definition of Canada that you have pledge your loyalties to may very well be the opposite to many other Canadian's definition, as the Harper government is displaying. My loyalties apply to human rights principles and the rule of law, not abstract political concepts that divide and destroy instead of unite.

      In the end we are all citizens of the world, and it is getting smaller every day.


      Jun 28, 2014 at 6:32pm

      I agree with the essence of the bill. But it does need to be more carefully considered in terms of who can be stripped of their citizenship and why. There has to be some protection and process in place so dual citizens can give their side of the story so a fair decision can be made. But those who simply use our citizenship to get welfare, launder money)through family, etc) from their homeland, and use us as a place of refuge when their corrupt political boss is purged should be cracked down on(as should the their tax records and perhaps family members who immigrated here).


      Jun 28, 2014 at 11:24pm

      It seems Canada starts to go to hell with these rules that divide its citizens. It is, start of ending Canada.


      Jun 29, 2014 at 2:42am

      This is a badly thought out plan. This legislation gives the Canadian government a tool to blackmail dual citizens. If you don't do "_____________________" (spy for government, vote for us, anything you want). We will declare you persona non grata, and deport you based on an immigration official's whim or some technicality as "intent" and NO, you cannot go through the courts.

      Anoosheh Kalantari

      Jun 29, 2014 at 4:38pm

      I am a Canadian and I am proud of it. I am a dual citizen. I studied electrical engineering in University of Toronto and graduated with honors but then I heard Steve Jobs that you should never settle. I always loved fashion and so I have moved to New York to study at Parsons and I am one of the best in my school and my school recognizes me as a bright Canadian! Now does Harper wants to take away my identity as a bright Canadian engineer and fashion designer because I live in New York and actually have to stay here for another 5-6 years in order to start my own line? When I came to Canada I said to everyone that Canadians are the most honest and least racist people on earth and I was shocked on how I was welcomed to Canada a way that I was not welcomed in my own country. Now this Bill C-24 is just pure racism! I am a christian, I am a Muslim, I am a Jew, I am a Buddhist, I am a creator, I am a human, I am from this universe. This bill says otherwise. Yes it is indeed a privilege to be Canadian and I always believed it, because I always believed it is where pure freedom is and it is where pure anti-racism is. Now this bill and Harper says otherwise. Isn't that a shame? So because I am not "BORN" in Canada, Canada is going to treat me like NORTH KOREA?????? I love fashion and I want to travel the world from far east to all Europe to Africa and Middle East to be inspired to create and I would love to do it as a CAnadian but does HArper allow me?


      Jun 29, 2014 at 9:17pm

      Canadian are dumbest people on earth, especially their government and their people, no wonder the world thinks of them as a joke, seriously coming up with these shameful laws only shows how retarded they are , country of 30 million dummies and stooges ,

      you leave canada for few months come back, they dont let you in, you own a house a car a business they dont let you in and cant even fight it in court because some idiot made this law and every Canadian cheers for it, thats how pathetic they are

      lets say if the canadian government makes up a rule that every morning canadians must line up and bend over for a government representative to stick it to them , not only canadians WILL line up but they will also complain to get an increase in the number of rapist representatives , so this way they wait too long in the line up, thats how retarded these people are,

      ive lived and travelled in many countries of the world and by far i have to say the dumbest of all are canadians