Zuzak response to Citizenship Revocation Report

Dear Andrew Telegdi and CIMM members:

You have asked for feedback on your Citizenship Revocation Report dated June 07, 2005 and posted in pdf format on the CIMM home page of the parliamentary website http://www.parl.gc.ca/cimm-e .
My comments will be based on my submission to you at CIMM Mtg. #34 on April 07, 2005 in Edmonton, which is archived on my website at
/tp/cimm05/zuzak20050407CIMMsubmission.html .

(1) In my submission, I make the following recommendation on Revocation of Citizenship:

"Canada, as well as all countries in the world, should adopt the principle that citizenship cannot be revoked by the state. There should be no stateless person; there should be no person with dual or multiple citizenships. On the other hand, a person should be able to give up his/her citizenship to become a citizen of another country, if that is his/her desire and he/she is accepted by the other country."

Consequently, my views are diametrically opposed to your Recommendation 1:

Revocation should be based on false representation or fraud or knowingly concealing material circumstances in the application for citizenship or in the application for permanent residence. A person's conduct after being granted citizenship should not be relevant to revocation.

[By the way, both sentences above are poorly written. Interpreted literally, the first sentence implies that a large fraction, if not the majority, of immigrants -- past, present and future -- would be in danger of having their citizenship revoked. Does the second sentence mean that the fact that an immigrant has lived as an exemplary Canadian citizen for 60 years -- worked, paid taxes, bought a house, married, raised a family, etc. -- should have no relevance in deciding whether his/her citizenship should be revoked or not?]

Furthermore, the fundamental complaint of many of your witnesses was that even the concept of revocation categorizes naturalized Canadians as second-class citizens. I simply do not understand why anyone would want bureaucrats, politicians or even judges to retain the power to revoke someone's citizenship, as if this would protect them from the evil immigrant hordes descending on Canada. A dispassionate examination of the subject indicates that it would be far more logical, easier and effective to treat any "false representation, fraud or concealment of material circumstances" as criminal offences in Canadian criminal courts of law with Canadian-imposed penalties. On the other hand, if the person in question objects to this made-in-Canada solution, he/she could be given the option to give up his/her Canadian citizenship in favour of some other country willing to accept him/her.

(2) Having made my point, I must congratulate CIMM on the rest of the recommendations 2 to 12, which are certainly an improvement on the existing denaturalization and deportation (d&d) process.

However, it must be explicitly stated that these would be criminal trials using a 12-person jury, rigorous rules of evidence and "beyond a reasonable doubt" criteria. The accused would have the option of choosing trial-by-judge alone in lieu of trial-by-jury.

In my April 07, 2005 submission, I questioned the "Myth of Judicial Independence". Jury trials go a long way to protect the integrity of our judicial system.

(3) Although I have no major objections to recommendations 9, 10 and 11 in section "F. The Final Order", I am rather concerned with the sophistry of the argumentation in this section.

For example, the statement, "The Committee realizes that no citizenship screening process can be foolproof and has therefore rejected the suggestion made by some witnesses that citizenship should be completely irrevocable once granted.", is disingenuous. How can any screening process be foolproof? Why should that preclude the irrevocability of citizenship immediately after its attainment or after a limitation period of, say, 5 years?

Justifying statelessness is even worse. As I have stated above, "There should be no stateless person; there should be no person with dual or multiple citizenships." In fact, I would go to the other extreme and require all states to ensure that no inhabitants on their territory are stateless and to grant citizenship to such persons.

(4) Finally, I fervently concur with recommendation 11 concerning torture, which is blossoming in virtually all regions of the planet. All torture is debilitating -- physically, mentally and emotionally; both to the torturer, as well as the tortured; to the torturing society, as well as the tortured society. Unfortunately, the argumentation to justify recommendation 11 seems to limit itself to physical torture. One would hope that CIMM members would recognize the mental and emotional torture of the individuals, families and communities victimized by the present d&d process.

Respectfully submitted

William Zuzak, Ph.D.