I was shocked when we learned that the federal government is undermining Canadian citizenship as we know it - taking away the rights of millions of Canadians. Right now, the government is working to turn many Canadians into second-class citizens with fewer rights – just because they were born outside Canada or are dual citizens.
Why should my citizenship be worth less than other Canadians, just because my mom was born in a different country and I'm a dual citizen? Nobody should be a second-class Canadian, no matter where their family comes from.
Canada is all about diversity. Many Canadians were born in other countries or are citizens of other countries because of their family history – and all of us are 100% Canadian.
But the changes made to Canadian law by Bill C-24 will shatter a core principle of Canadian citizenship – that all Canadians have equal rights. This new law makes second-class citizens out of every Canadian who’s born elsewhere or who is a dual citizen.
In Canada, lawfully-obtained citizenship has always been permanent. Once a Canadian, always a Canadian. Now the government is making Canadian citizenship less secure. This turns the whole idea of being Canadian upside-down, so that the Canadian citizenship of some people will be worth less than the Canadian citizenship of others.
Citizenship is supposed to mean something. Taking rights away from Canadians because of where they were born, or where their families come from? That’s un-Canadian. We need to repeal this second-class Canadian law.
For example, new Canadians who were born in another country could be at risk of losing their Canadian citizenship if they move overseas to be with a loved one, to take a job, or to go to school. Meanwhile, other Canadians have the right to do all of those things, without any risk. No matter where our families come from, a Canadian is a Canadian, and we all deserve the same rights that come with being a Canadian citizen. That’s why this law needs to be stopped.
The government wants the power to eliminate a person’s Canadian citizenship without even having to go to court to get a judge’s order. This means that Canadians will be vulnerable to faceless government bureaucrats abusing their power. That’s not how democracy is supposed to work.
In this country, no Canadian deserves fewer rights than any other. Every Canadian citizen should have the same rights and freedoms – no matter where they or their parents or grandparents were born.
That’s why I’m asking you to sign this petition right now, and stand up for equal citizenship for all Canadians.
What else will this new law do?
--The new law will put new Canadians who moved here from undemocratic countries at extra risk. Government officials will have the power to take away Canadian citizenship from someone who has been convicted of certain criminal offences outside Canada, even if the person is unfairly convicted by an undemocratic dictatorship without a fair court system.
--The new law will throw Canada back to the dark ages by reviving exile as punishment for certain criminal offences. That’s how countries punished people hundreds of years ago, before we developed a modern penal system with prisons and programs for punishment and rehabilitation. This is just wrong – if a Canadian is accused of a serious crime like terrorism or treason, they can and should face justice right here in Canada under a fair court process. Canadian criminal courts can effectively punish people who break the law using the tools provided by the criminal justice system. That’s their job. The government must not be given the power to punish Canadians by banishing them.
--The new law will also make it harder, more expensive, and slower for newcomers to obtain Canadian citizenship – increasing the barriers for families who want to start new lives and contribute to Canadian society.
Please sign this petition now, to ask Citizenship Minister Chris Alexander and members of Parliament to repeal the changes made by Bill C-24, and to ensure equal citizenship for all Canadians.
If you like, you can read more detailed information about Bill C-24 by clicking here.
(Image credits: Bottom row, center: Roberto Taddeo; 2nd row, left: John O’Nolan; 2nd row, center: carianoff; Top row, left: Craig Cloutier)
Please repeal Bill C-24, which weakens Canadian citizenship by creating second-class Canadians with fewer rights than others. All Canadians deserve equal citizenship rights.
Josh Paterson; BC Civil Liberties Association; Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers started this petition with a single signature, and now has 118,151 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.