The federal government may be taking what some are describing as “sweeping” steps to reverse the former Harper government’s changes to citizenship laws, but the BC Civil Liberties Association says it needs to go further.
The reforms include reversing decisions that revoked citizenship from convicted terrorists.
The BCCLA’s Laura Track says the government has also moved to revoke the citizenship of a number of individuals on the basis that they misrepresented the amount of time they spent in Canada before they were granted citizenship.
That’s a decision, she says, that should be made in court and not by a government minister.
“Under the process that Bill C-24 created, that entire revokation process can happen without the person ever having the opportunity to appear before a judge.”
Track says revoking someone’s citizenship is one of the most serious things a government can do, as such, it should be done in a more transparent manner.
“We think that’s very problematic; revoking someone’s citizenship is a really serious step and one that requires due process.”
“It requires that person knows the case against them and [be able to] defend themselves in front of a judge.”
The government’s bill also reduces the ages for minimum language and knowledge requirements from 14 to 64 to 18 to 54.