Re: “Democracy and civil liberties at risk,” Japreet Lehal, Feb. 20.
While Japreet Lehal is beside himself in moral indignation about the government’s proposed Citizenship Act legislation to strip dual citizens convicted of terrorism offences of their Canadian citizenship, let’s not be overwhelmed by the predictable “civil liberties” backlash.
The term “dual citizen” in the context of the proposed Citizenship Act legislation (Bill C-24) means “naturalized Canadian citizen.” While citizenship is an undeniable right for natural-born Canadians, citizenship for naturalized Canadian citizens is a privilege. To me, as a naturalized Canadian citizen, it has always been a privilege conferred with the expectation of undivided loyalty.
Bill C-24 represents welcome words and actions to go after all those who by their very acts of terrorism have betrayed their chosen country and in so doing should forfeit the privilege of Canadian citizenship.
By the same token, Canada’s Citizenship Act protects home-grown terrorists, such as Omar Khadr and others, who as natural-born Canadians cannot lose their citizenship.
In fact, Canada’s Citizenship Act would be strengthened further by ending the practice of permitting dual (multiple) citizenships of convenience, requiring new citizenship applicants to renounce their former national allegiance.
That’s what I did, some 52 years ago, when becoming a Canadian citizen.
E.W. Bopp, Tsawwassen