Summary: Bill C-24 in its present form is discriminatory, unconstitutional and anti-diversity.
Bill C 24, which was voted into law earlier this year, has resulted in widespread changes in the Citizenship Act. These changes are retroactive, and apply not only to naturalized citizens but also to their children, even if the children are Canadian born. These changes have resulted in a two-tier system of citizenship and very real targeting of new Canadians and curtailment of their freedoms and rights.
Although the bill impacts New Canadians directly, this bill is a problem for any Canadian, Old or New, who believes in a just, fair, inclusive, diverse and non-discriminatory society. A society in which all Canadians are equal, with equal rights and responsibilities and where the punishment of crime is in the hands of the judiciary and law enforcement, not immigration officials.
As a direct result of Bill C 24, New Canadians are no longer free to move and live outside of Canada, and must declare and indefinitely demonstrate intent to live in Canada or risk having their citizenship revoked. While a natural born Canadian cannot have their citizenship revoked under any circumstances, naturalized citizens and their Canadian born children and grandchildren can – for a wide range of offences listed in Bill C 24 that are open to very broad interpretation by a single immigration official with no recourse to the judicial system.
The amendments the Bill has put forward have been presented as safeguarding Canada from terrorism. However, on a closer read, it is apparent that it severely curtails the rights and liberties of the average law-abiding citizen. There is clear targeting of new Canadians and their descendants, who have been reduced to second-class citizens with fewer freedoms, rights and privileges than ‘old’ Canadians. And while we fully support the Anti-Terror provision in this bill, we want to ensure that they are applied without any bias and discrimination and eliminate the possibility of misuse by circumvention of judicial inquiry and process.
We call upon all Canadians who believe in a society that upholds the ideals of equality, justice and freedom to join us and work towards repealing this highly discriminatory and divisive piece of legislature.