Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bring Some Common Sense To The Citizenship Act

MONTREAL - The federal government violated a convicted terrorist's Charter rights when it refused to issue him a Canadian passport on the grounds of protecting national security, a Federal Court judge ruled yesterday.
Fateh Kamel, a 47-year-old native of Algeria who obtained Canadian citizenship in 1993, was sentenced to eight years in prison by a French court in 2001 for terrorism-related crimes. An internal Department of Foreign Affairs report submitted to Federal Court says that at the time of his arrest he was "the leader of an international network whose purpose was to plot terrorist attacks and procure arms and passports for terrorists throughout the world."
Obviously, the Citizenship Act needs to be fixed. No, I'm not suggesting that anyone taking up another citizenship (or retaining a citizenship of his home country) should be automatically stripped of his Canadian citizenship, as it used to be before 1977. But the current situation when Canadian citizenship became merely a passport of convenience is yet another extreme, which isn't any better.

There must be a middle ground solution, that would allow law-abiding Canadians to live and work outside of Canada for as long as they please, but that would also allow the government to strip known terrorists such as Kamel or Khadr of their citizenship and let some other country (to which those guys are actually loyal) take care of them.

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