The Canadian Bar Association has raised serious concerns about the proposal to substantially increase the government’s powers to revoke citizenship of natural born Canadians who oppose “a relatively benign act of opposition to government repression” under Bill C-24, Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.
In their submission to the Commons Citizenship and Immigration Standing Committee, where the bill is currently being examined, they point out that “citizens who may be subject to citizenship revocation include those born in Canada who are presumed to be able to claim citizenship in another state through one of their parents, notwithstanding that the Canadian may have no ties with the other country at all.”
The CBA notes that the proposed revocation powers create a new distinction between Canadian citizens, i.e. those who are subject to exile and banishment and those who are not, undermines the tradition of permitting dual citizenship, and results in differential treatment based on national or ethnic origin.
They point out that “banishment is one of the most serious punishments that can be inflicted on a citizen and has not been in common use since the Middle Ages.”
The CBA has recommended that “citizenship revocation should continue to be limited to those instances where naturalized citizens materially misrepresent” and that “a citizen facing revocation always have the right to a hearing before an independent and impartial decision-maker.”