New citizenship law faces first of two expected constitutional challenges

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act is unconstitutional, says challenge


 OTTAWA — The federal government has no authority to strip a Canadian-born person of their citizenship, says a Toronto lawyer spearheading a constitutional challenge of new legislation.

Rocco Galati, fellow lawyer Manuel Azevedo and the Constitutional Rights Centre have filed a notice of application in the Federal Court of Canada arguing Parliament reached beyond its jurisdiction in passing the controversial measures.

They are asking the court to declare the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act unconstitutional, citing citizenship protections ranging from the Magna Carta to the Constitution Act, 1867.

For years, a newcomer could be stripped of Canadian citizenship if they attained it through false representations.

The new law, which received royal assent last week, expands the list of those vulnerable to revocation to people born in Canada but eligible to claim citizenship in another country — for instance, through their parents.

It also broadens the grounds for revocation to include several criminal offences including espionage, treason or terrorism.

Opposition MPs have denounced the provisions as arbitrary and nonsensical, as revocation could now result in deportation to a country the person has never set foot in.

The Canadian Bar Association said the new law revives the medieval punishment of banishment.

Galati and his associates are also seeking a court order prohibiting citizenship revocation and removals under the new provisions.

They also want the government to file copies of “any and all” memos, opinions or legal opinions concerning the constitutional authority of the government to enact the legislation.

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander’s office did not answer questions Wednesday regarding the law’s constitutionality.

However, the minister has vigorously defended the legislation, saying the public thinks it is “absolutely legitimate” to strip dual nationals of their Canadian citizenship if they commit grave offences.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said he wasn’t surprised at the legal challenge.

“The Conservatives are at war with a court system that keeps turning back their bizarre legislation that fails to respect Canadians’ rights,” Mulcair said in an interview.

The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers has said it will also fight the citizenship measures in the courts.

The legislation violates equality rights under the Constitution by creating separate classes of Canadians, says Lorne Waldman, president of the association of more than 250 lawyers who represent refugees.

The association also argues the proposed revocation procedures lack fairness and that a provision forcing new citizens to swear they intend to reside in Canada — and risk losing their citizenship if they later go abroad — would mean some Canadians have mobility rights while others do not.

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New citizenship law faces first of two expected constitutional challenges

  1. ‘saying the public thinks it is “absolutely legitimate” to strip dual nationals of their Canadian citizenship if they commit grave offences.’

    Well…his neighbour Fred from down the street might agree, but the rest of us weren’t asked. Where do they get this stuff from anyway??

  2. Do we all need to reread “Animal Farm”? We’re all equal, but “some are more equal than others”. Ouch. For a really radical right-wing perspective, read Nevil Shute’s “In the Wet”. Like most governments, this one is pushing legislation that affects just a few people (so who cares), in order to divert attention from major issues.

  3. Correcting our serious mistake: Sorry, but if they arrive here as members of a cult which tells them that since they are the greatest they can murder/rape/enslave/rob anyone who is not a member of their cult —- then I say they should not be here in the first place. We have laws against that stuff and padded cells for those who live that way. It’s in their books; they accept the books, therefore they accept murder/rape/ensavement.robbery as their God-given right/duty. Whether they kill anyone or not – just accepting a creed that impels them to kill/rape/enslave/rob everybody outside their group makes them by definition ‘psychotic’. Why should we let them in and support them on welfare so one man will have ten wives and a dozen kids on welfare, building their in-house brainwashed army to eventually take over the country and law in a few years —- like everywhere else in the world? Does no one in Ottawa do their homework? Nice is nice, but our open-door policy is simply suicidal (see UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Philippines, India, Africa and everywhere else the cult has imposed itself. Wake up, Canucks. If they don’t kill you and rape your wives and daughters, enslave your sons, and take all your land and possessions, then their kids’ kids’ kids will. It’s in the book – the world domination gameplan. After murdering hundreds of millions so far, and raping/enslaving/robbing many many more, do we really think it will suddenly stop because we’re such nice guys here? Their books even describe this strategy of how they grow their numbers in foreign countries as sweet people until they have enough numbers to terroize and displace their neighbours, then convert/kill them all (it’s in the book, the book they believe). It is hard for us to imagine that anyone would ever buy into such a ridiculous cult, but if they’re going to kill you unless you don’t buy into it, then just maybe ‘what the hell – at least I won’t get killed’.

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