Stevie and the court jesters have, in my opinion, gone ‘way too far this time. Here’s the link to an editorial in The Toronto Star of Saturday, January 3, 2015: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/01/03/a_bad_year_for_canadian_citizenship.html
In this article, Citizenship Minister Chris Alexander is quoted as saying “Citizenship is not a right, it’s a privilege”. Um, excuse me Mr Alexander, perhaps you were Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan too long for you seem to have adopted some of the attitudes of that country. Under new rules just brought in, a Canadian citizen who either holds dual citizenship or can claim citizenship of another country through birth or other reasons can be stripped of their Canadian citizenship if they are convicted of treason, terrorism or espionage anywhere in the world.
What is truly terrifying about this is that whereas in the past, such citizenship actions would have to go through the courts, these actions are now at the discretion of the Minister. No courts, no chance to plead your case, just the Minister’s opinion of whether or not you deserve to be able to call yourself a Canadian.
Let’s get silly here for a moment. If I were to commit one of the actions listed above (although considering the number of times I’ve ripped into the Harper government in the past, jaywalking might do for a reason) I could be stripped of my Canadian citizenship. I can claim American citizenship because both my mother and maternal grandfather were born in the US. That I was born in Canada, raised and educated in Canada, paid Canadian taxes and served in the Canadian Armed Forces wouldn’t matter. I committed some heinous act and the Minster (who also happens to be the Member of Parliament for my riding) decided I no longer held the privilege of calling myself Canadian. Fortunately for me I am a law-abiding citizen – except for the jaywalking thing – so I‘m not too worried. Otherwise I doubt that the next time CSIS came knocking, they would be carrying a pizza and a bottle of wine.
Since they obtained an absolute majority in the last federal election, the Harper government has been running rough-shod over the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and this is just the latest example. There is a federal election next year and I’ll tell you right now that if any party promises to rescind this horrible, discriminatory law, they’ve got my vote.
Have a safe and happy 2015 and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.