CARL Commends Amendments to Citizenship Act
For Immediate Release
MONTREAL (February 26, 2016) – The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers commends the Liberal government for the announced amendments to the Citizenship Act, although the Association is concerned the amendments do not address the flawed revocation procedure. The former government fundamentally devalued Canadian citizenship by making it harder to get and easier to lose. Bill C-6 seeks to rectify many of those concerns.
In Bill C-6 the government once again affirms that all Canadians have equal standing under the law regardless of whether they are mono or dual nationals.
The new amendments also reduce barriers to citizenship in re-establishing an inclusive approach to new members of our society. This includes providing credit for time spent in Canada as protected persons, live-in-caregivers, or students. These individuals spend time caring for our children and studying in Canadian institutions among other activities; this is valuable time which deserves credit.
CARL and the BC Civil Liberties Association launched a constitutional challenge to the creation of two-tiered citizenship in August, 2015. Mitch Goldberg, President of CARL, provides: “Bill C-6 takes a principled stand against the rhetoric of fear and division. There is a false choice between our constitutional rights and our security. The full force and weight of our criminal justice system protects our safety without the creation of second class citizenship.”
Although many of the concerns that led to the challenge have been addressed by Bill C-6, it does not address the revocation of citizenship without due process in a court of law. As it stands, citizens may have their citizenship unilaterally revoked by the Minister under allegations of fraud, without the procedural safeguards necessary for such a fundamental determination. Currently, an individual facing a minor criminal charge is afforded greater protections through the right to disclosure of evidence and a full adjudicative hearing. “To deny the same basic rights to those facing revocation, belies the value of our citizenship and is unconstitutional” states Goldberg. CARL urges the government to address this concern among the commendable amendments.
CARL Vice-President, Aviva Basman adds: “Over fifty years ago the US Supreme Court explained ‘citizenship is not a licence that expires with misbehaviour’…the medieval notion of exile has no place in modern society. Those principles hold true today.”
For more information please contact:
Mitchell Goldberg: firstname.lastname@example.org , (514) 844-7528