Ukrainian News | 05Apr2006 | Marco Levytsky
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Telegdi calls upon Solberg to enact citizenship recommendations

(UkrNews)—A Liberal MP has called upon Citizenship and Immigration Minister Monte Solberg to enact the changes to the Citizenship Act that had been recommended by the Standing Parliamentary Committee prior to the fall of the previous government.

“As a result, the citizenship rights of six million naturalized Canadians continue to be unprotected by the Legal Sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Minister, I call upon you correct this injustice and table legislation that will implement the recommendations of the 10th Report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. I urge you to deal with this important matter in a timely fashion,” wrote Telegdi, the former Chair of the committee, in a letter to Solberg dated March 14, 2006.

Prior to the election, the Conservative Party indicated it would implement these recommendations, which received unanimous concurrence in the House of Commons.

In response to a questionnaire issued by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress the Conservative Party replied: “Conservative members of the CIC committee, including our Citizenship and Immigration critic, Diane Ablonczy, wholeheartedly supported this House of Commons report.”

“Under the current Citizenship Act, citizenship can be revoked when a person obtained citizenship or permanent residence by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances,” said Telegdi.

“Following a review in Federal Court -- where a judge must simply agree that it is more likely than not that the person improperly obtained citizenship -- the Federal Cabinet becomes responsible for making the revocation order. The Committee has recommended a fully judicial process. Members of all four parties on the Committee agreed that Cabinet should have no role whatsoever in revoking citizenship. Leaving the final decision on revocation to Cabinet fosters a perception of unfairness and allows for political interference. Revocation of citizenship must be a completely transparent, judicial process that is in compliance with the Legal Rights Sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” he continued.

Key recommendations in the report include:

Solberg’s office was contacted by Ukrainian News for a response, but did not respond to this newspaper’s request.

Several previous requests to Solberg’s office for an interview were rejected on the grounds that the minister was unavailable.