The Senate Proposes Changes To the Government’s Citizenship Law

March 22, 2017

The Senate introduced a major amendment this month

236 people were served notices of citizenship revocation, due to fraud or misrepresentation, since the federal Liberals took power in November 2015. That number might not sound high, but it is. We touched on this last year, when one of Justin Trudeau’s own – Liberal minister Maryam Monsef – was affected by the law. In mid September of 2016, she revealed that she was born in Iran, not Afghanistan as she’d long believed. She said her mother, who fled Afghanistan when Monsef was 11, didn’t think it mattered where the minister was born since she was still legally considered an Afghan citizen. By law, she will have to correct her birthplace information on her passport, and under bill C-24 she could have her citizenship revoked. Back then – there was speculation that the Senate might fix the issue. Looks like they are at least trying.

Alberta Senator, Elaine McCoy tabled an amendment during debate over the third reading of Bill C-6.

If someone is served notice their citizenship is being revoked due to fraud or misrepresentation, the amendment requires the immigration minister to inform them of their right to appeal that decision in Federal Court.

Under the new process, you can submit written arguments as to why your citizenship should not be revoked, but there’s no clear option to have these arguments assessed by an independent judge. Senator McCoy said the amendment’s main purposes is to afford “due process” to those affected. It puts decision-making back in the hands of the elected and accountable minister, she said, and allows the independent judiciary to review those decisions.

Debate was adjourned March 9th and the Senate now enters a two-week break. Votes on the amendment can’t happen until at least the week of March 28. If the Senate passes the amendment, the House of Commons will have to decide whether or not to accept the amendment before the bill can become law.

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