An open letter to Canada's Members of Parliament and its Senators.
The Citizenship Act provides that any Canadian citizen who arrived in Canada as an immigrant and acquired citizenship through naturalization, is subject to be stripped of citizenship through revocation (denaturalization) and deported (shipped out).
In Bill C-18 the Government proposes that Cabinet be given the further power of stripping through annulment of citizenship, as well as the power to keep evidence secret from an accused or his counsel.
In result, a "citizen-by-choice" who has acquired a citizenship is denied the same right and status of Canadian-born citizens, and denied the same protection of due process and rights of open trial and appeal in accordance with the Constitution Act and the traditions of justice of Canadian law.
In contrast, the protection and due process of law is available to refugees. Even murderers receive due process whether they acquired citizenship or are Canadian-born.
In addition, a "citizen-by-choice" is faced with a penalty of deportation, which does not apply to a Canadian-born citizen, creating an obvious two-tiered citizenship which is inherently discriminatory and contravenes the Constitution Act.
The Canadian Bar Association says *
"Revocation or annulment of citizenship are amongst the most serious penalties that the state may invoke against its citizens. The consequence.... can include loss of any status.... and removal from Canada. These consequences are obviously severe and require strict adherence to due process, procedural fairness and appropriate appeal rights."
In addition Bill C-18 introduces "secret evidence rules" which cannot
be appealed or reviewed.
In our opinion these laws of "stripping & shipping":
 are discriminatory and create inequality and a second-class (two-tiered) citizenship because they apply only to immigrant citizens, and not to Canadian-born citizens;
 create a 'stateless' person through "denaturalization" [stripping of citizenship];
 are unconstitutional for several reasons, including the penalty of deportation which is a "cruel and unusual treatment or punishment". Deportation can also create real logistical, diplomatic and international problems;
 deprive a citizen of the fundamental and constitutional right of a full, open and fair trial as called for in the Constitution ;
 deny a citizen the "due process" of personal service and full rights of appeal;
 are discriminatory in requiring findings to be on an onus of a "balance of probabilities" instead of "beyond a reasonable doubt" as in a criminal trial;
 deny the right to have a full trial in a court of law [instead of the strangely created "split-level" two-part, non-judicial process foisted on the Frederal Court and the Cabinet];
 deny the right to a penalty set by a court after full trial, instead of by the Cabinet, which is a political body and which decides on deportation in private without the citizen's right of representation.
 belie the legislation that declares that citizenship is a status
(s.12 of Bill C-18 and s. 6 of the current Act) and not a "licence" that can be withdrawn.
No one wants Canada to be a haven for terrorists, criminals or security risks, but for those who may be such risks (whether born in Canada or not) there are now laws in place to deal with them with full legal process.
For those who acquired citizenship by misrepresentation (if it
was a truly material misrepresentation) criminal proceeding as in a fraud case are called for.
Other alternatives include:
 The Canadian "Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act", R.S.C. 2000, which establishes procedures for dealing in Canada with citizens accused of crimes of this nature. Much of the focus of previous "stripping & shipping" charges were based on alleged war crimes. These can now be processed in Canada under this new retroactive legislation.
 Canada is now a signatory to the International Court in the Hague, to which court it can transmit cases of Canadian citizens who are accused of crimes in other countries.
 Canada has extradition treaties with most of the developed countries in the world. Citizens legitimately charged with crimes abroad can be brought to justice in the jurisdiction in which the crime occurred. (Care is required to ensure that the charges are not merely cases of political reprisal.)
 Canada's criminal trial system is perfectly capable of managing criminal matters that arise within Canada. Fraud of any kind is a patently criminal act. If an immigrant obtained citizenship by fraud, then a criminal trial in Canada is the proper process, and standard criminal penalties are available to be applied in Canada if punishment is ordained. Canada should be seen internationally as being able to manage its own problems internally.
 Tightened up immigration procedures will uncover unacceptable
Problems can be stopped before they start by better and stricter immigration processes, applied at the time an immigration application is made.
A properly structured and effectively functioning system of managing immigration is the key. Superior screening of immigrants at the outset will eliminate most of the problem of undesirable elements entering the country.
As well, Canada is not compelled to grant citizenship to anyone. It can withhold granting citizenship until the strictest tests and investigations are completed to the satisfaction of the authority.
Citizenship is inviolable from the moment it is granted. The laws of revocation, annulment and deportation are abhorrent by nature and destructive of the pillars of democracy. They are an abuse of fundamental freedoms which are the bulwark of Canada's society. They resurrect dangers of the ancient inquisitorial faults of false accusations, rigged process and secret trials of another age.
Revocation and deportation laws apply to the present Governor General of Canada, who immigrated to Canada with her parents, as well as to six million other citizens who chose Canada as their home. Must they all live in a climate of fear that they may be deported some day?
No one wishes Canada to be a haven for terrorists or criminals, but once Canada has accepted persons as its citizens it has the obligation to give them the benefit of the same law which applies to a Canadian-born citizen. The right of equality is enshrined in Canada's Constitution Act.
Every Canadian citizen is entitled to a full and fair trial for all offences occurring in Canada, including any infractions relating to citizenship or immigration. Trials and punishments should be administered in Canada, according to Canadian norms of justice.It's as simple as that !
As the guardians of the laws, justice and democracy in Canada, pursuant
to the Constitution and our traditions, we hope that you Parliamentarians who represent us will rescind these laws which:
- are philosophically and constitutionally untenable;
- threaten the meaning, status and significance of citizenship, and;
- erode our democratic freedoms and rights.
For more information contact:
Bill Pidruchney, 2337 - 85 St., Edmonton, AB T6K 3H1
Fax:450-8862, Email: [email protected]et.net
Will Zuzak, Tel:428-6678, Email: [email protected]
* "Submission on Bill C-18, Citizenship of Canada Act"
National Citizenship and Immigration Law Section, Canadian Bar Association, November, 2002.
What Our Legislation Says About Our Rights, and Freedoms.
The CITIZENSHIP ACT, c. 29, R.S.C. 1985
Section 6 - Rights and obligations.
"A citizen, whether or not born in Canada, is entitled to all rights, powers and privileges and is subject to all obligations, duties and liabilities to which a person who is a citizen under paragraph 3(1)(a) is entitled or subject and has a like status to that of such person."
Bill C-18 - Proposed CITIZENSHIP OF CANADA ACT
Section 3. "The purpose of this Act is: ......
[d] to reaffirm that all citizens, no matter how they became citizens, have the same status; ...
[g] to promote respect for the principles and values underlying a free and democratic society."
"All citizens have the same rights, powers, privileges, obligations, duties, responsibilities and status without regard to the manner in which their citizenship was acquired".
CONSTITUTION ACT OF CANADA-1982. Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Section 7. - Legal Rights
"Everyone has the right to life. liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."
Section 15. - Equality Rights.
"Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination.....".
Section 11. - Rights to Due Process.
"Any person charged with an offence has the right
[a] to be informed without reasonable delay of the special offence;...
[c] not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person (i.e. self) in respect of the offence;
[d] to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;".
Section 12. - Punishment.
"Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment."
Section 26.- Unlisted freedoms.
"The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed as denying the existence of any other rights or freedoms that exist in Canada".
Section 52.(1) - Paramountcy of the Constitution.
"The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of Canada, and any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution is, to the extent of that inconsistency, of no force or effect".