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View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, everyone, for having me here today. Before I begin my remarks, I would like to introduce Isabelle Mondou and Natasha Kim, both of whom work in the Privy Council Office. They are exceptional public servants and they know more about all of these subjects than I do. I'm very pleased to have them at the table with me. I feel assured to have them at my side.
Without any further ado, Mr. Chair, it's a pleasure to address the committee on the citizen voting act. The bill will strengthen Canada's democracy by reinforcing the integrity of the special ballot voting system and ensuring fairness for resident and non-resident votes. The citizen voting act proposes to reform the vote by mail procedures set out in divisions 3 and 4 of the special voting rules of the Canada Elections Act.
The last major update to these procedures was back in 1993. The citizen voting act is in keeping with the government's objective to strengthen the integrity of our electoral process. It builds on the rules enacted by the Fair Elections Act in June of 2014, a bill with which I know all of you are deeply familiar.
The citizen voting act proposes six key measures to reform the special voting rules in the Canada Elections Act and proposes objectives of integrity and fairness.
First, the proposed legislation creates a single process for residents and non-residents who vote by special ballot. Special ballot voting procedures applicable to resident and non-resident electors will be harmonized. Non-resident voters will no longer automatically receive a ballot at election time, mitigating the risk that ballots will end up with unintended recipients. The citizen voting act requires that non-resident electors wishing to vote by special ballot must apply for one at each election, just as resident electors do now.
Second, the bill stipulates non-resident electors will only receive a ballot for the address at which they last resided in Canada. Non-resident electors will no longer be allowed to choose the riding in which they wish to vote.
Third, the bill builds on the Fair Elections Act by requiring all electors voting by special ballot, both residents and non-residents, include in the application proof of identity and residence according to the rules that are similar to those set up in the Fair Elections Act. At the moment, proof of residence in Canada is not required for non-residents. This shortcoming will be remedied, and as with other Canadians, proof of prior residence will be required for expatriate voters.
Under the citizen voting act, resident and non-resident electors voting under the special voting rules will have the same three voter identification options available in order to cast their ballots: a government-issued photo identification with name and address; two pieces of identification authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer, one with an address and both with a name; or two pieces of authorized identification with an oath or declaration of residence that is attested to by another properly identified elector from the same riding.
Fourth, the proposed legislation requires that electors voting from outside of Canada provide proof of citizenship. Currently, providing proof of citizenship is required administratively by Elections Canada for non-resident electors. The citizen voting act makes this a legislative requirement, including for resident voters temporarily outside of the country.
Fifth, the citizen voting act extends the special ballot voting procedures to the mandatory post-election audit that was introduced in the Fair Elections Act. As you will recall, we required that the Chief Electoral Officer appoint an auditor to ensure identification rules were administered in the course of a general election. That mandatory audit was to apply to domestic voting. The citizen voting act will see to it that it also applies to those voting from outside of the country. To this end, the Chief Electoral Officer will be required to engage an external auditor to carry it out, and he will also be required to report the results of this audit. The audit will look into election workers' compliance with resident and non-resident special voting procedures after every election.
Finally, the citizen voting act adds a new provision authorizing the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to provide the Chief Electoral Officer with information such as the name, gender, date of birth, and address of persons who are not Canadian citizens, for the purpose of cross-referencing registrants in the national register of electors. This is to assist in deleting the names of non-residents from the register who are not qualified to vote. This suggestion came to me from the Chief Electoral Officer. He was concerned that there are people on the voter list who are not citizens, and one of the ways that Elections Canada can identify these non-citizens and remove them from the list is by having data on the identity of non-citizens who reside within Canada. So we have agreed to his suggestion and with the passage of this bill, we will permit the immigration minister to provide the Chief Electoral Officer with that data.
Before concluding my remarks to the committee, I would like to report that, following consultations with Elections Canada, and after looking at some of the issues that were raised during the debate in the House of Commons, the government will be proposing seven minor amendments to the citizen voting act.
First, the current bill provides that the Chief Electoral Officer may authorize types of identification issued by, among others, an entity that is “formed in Canada”. This ensures that identification documents must always be Canadian documents and thus reinforces the integrity of the identification procedure. Moreover, foreign-issued identification is likely to be harder to verify, and in some cases, it could be in another language. This requirement raises concerns that it would be difficult to determine whether an entity is Canadian. In particular, it has been argued that it would be difficult for poll officials to make such a determination.
We have noted the concerns and will be proposing to limit the application of this requirement to only electors voting by special ballot under divisions 3 and 4. This means that front-line officials at the polls will not have to evaluate whether a piece of identification was issued by an entity formed in Canada. Rather, this determination will mainly be required when Elections Canada reviews the identification documents provided by electors with their applications for special ballot prior to election day. In other words, it will apply to those voting by mail and those voting outside of the country, but not at the voting booth.
Elections Canada has access to more resources and will have more time than poll officials to assess whether pieces of identification have been issued by a Canadian entity. I believe this amendment will ensure not only that electors voting by special ballot provide Canadian identification to prove their identity and residence, but also that it will be easier for election officials to verify the acceptability of such identification.
Second, another concern that has been raised relates to the requirement in Bill C-50, the citizen voting act, that residents wishing to vote by special ballot using the attestation procedure to prove residency must obtain an attestation from another elector from the same polling division. For those listening who are not familiar with the complexity of local voting, there are electoral districts that each elect one member of Parliament, but within those districts are polling divisions that break down the voting locations where people go to cast their ballots. The reason that the distinction is important is that it is much more difficult to find an attestor who lives in the same polling division or even to know if that voter lives in the same polling division if you are voting from outside of the country and you are resident abroad. This is not a problem when you're actually voting at the polling division location because you're physically there and the person attesting is physically with you, and they would know very well if they are at their appropriate location.
That brings me to the proposed amendment.
Because the requirement would be problematic, we would seek to change the requirement for the fact that the boundaries of the polling divisions are not published by the Elections Canada website until 24 days before the polling day. To facilitate the process, we will propose an amendment to allow non-resident electors voting by special ballot to obtain an attestation from an elector from the same electoral district instead. In other words, anyone living in the same district would be able to act as the attestor for the non-resident voter lacking proof of prior address. They will not have to be from the same polling division. These electors will therefore be able to kick-start the registration process from the day the election is called.
The third amendment that we propose, Mr. Chair, relates also to the attestation process. Bill C-50 currently provides that as part of the attestation, resident and non-resident electors voting by special ballot may sign a declaration to prove their residence instead of taking the oath. Those who attest to the residence of an elector who are abroad may also sign a declaration instead of taking an oath. An amendment will be proposed to clarify that the declarations signed by attestors from abroad will not need to be administered by another person. Signing a declaration will be sufficient to prove or to attest to the residence of an elector. This will simplify the process for electors and attestors abroad.
The fourth proposed amendment relates to the proof of citizenship that electors voting by special ballot would have to provide, if making their application from outside Canada. We will clarify the language to specify that proof of citizenship is required when the ballot is being sent outside of the country rather than to special ballot voters within the country.
The fifth amendment relates to post-election audit. Bill C-50 proposes to extend the audit to include voting by special ballot and to give the auditor access to all documents necessary to perform the audit. A technical amendment will be proposed to ensure that the auditor has access to all documents necessary to perform the audit for voting at the polls as well.
Sixth, an amendment will be tabled to mitigate the risk of a voter identification card being sent to Canadians at an address at which they no longer live, which would increase the risk of such cards falling into the hands of people who are not eligible to vote in our elections. This technical amendment will provide that all non-residents will not receive a voter information card. Under clause 3 of the bill as currently drafted, that exception would apply only to some non-residents.
As amendment number 7, finally, we will propose an amendment for resident electors who vote in person through special ballot initiatives. For example, such initiatives could be held at hospitals, universities, or at remote work locations, as has been done in the past. An amendment will enable those electors, like electors who vote at the polls, to present an original piece of identification, and not only copies, as is currently provided by Bill C-50.
I hope that committee members will support these amendments. I believe they are sensible and that they are consistent with the goal of the bill.
I can just wrap up by highlighting the principle at stake here.
Mr. Chair, we believe that people should provide ID when they vote. This ID should show who they are, where they reside, and in the case of people living abroad, where they used to reside. Those people voting outside of the country should be required to prove that they're Canadian citizens. The Constitution does give every Canadian the right to vote, but that right is predicated on citizenship—explicitly predicated on citizenship—and so too should be the identification requirement for those who are casting a ballot from outside Canada's borders.
Thank you very much.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blake Richards Profile
2015-05-28 11:43
Okay, that's good to know. I'll be quick, then.
Minister, according to Elections Canada estimates there are approximately 40,000 non-citizens who are currently on the national register of electors. That means, obviously, that receiving voter information cards that would tell them how to vote would certainly mean, upon arriving at a polling station, that they could be permitted to vote legally because they had received this information.
I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about how Bill C-50 solves that particular problem. Then I have one other question.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
This is a very important question. As you know, citizenship is the basic key that unlocks voting rights in this country. That's what the Constitution says in black and white. The Chief Electoral Officer informed me that there are tens of thousands of non-citizens who are on the voters list. He asked for access to Immigration Canada's data on non-citizens who are in Canada. The bill authorizes that transfer of information and will hopefully allow us to remove those thousands of non-citizens from the list.
View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2015-05-11 16:06
A case that may not have been initiated by the Government of Canada but one that's being prolonged by virtue of the Government of Canada's appeal is the Ishaq case involving the niqab at the citizenship ceremony. Can you give us some sense, Mr. Minister, of how much that case has cost the taxpayer to date and whether you have an envelope set aside for the future proceedings in that case?
View Peter MacKay Profile
CPC (NS)
Well, obviously not.
This is a case that's before the courts and so for that reason, as Attorney General and Minister of Justice, I'm not going to comment on cases that are still before the court.
These are cases like others that make their way through the courts. They are a direct response to an issue that is, in our view, of importance to Canadians. It deals with fundamental values and rights that do sometimes come into conflict and like previous governments we've taken the position that we will advance and will do so through the courts in a transparent way.
Caitlin Imrie
View Caitlin Imrie Profile
Caitlin Imrie
2014-11-17 16:39
The change that occurred was that in July of 2013 accountability for the passport program moved from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, however, is supported by the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada who is now responsible for the delivery in Canada of the passport program through the Service Canada network, and overseas by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development. So Foreign Affairs will continue to play a role in assisting Canadians overseas.
The change was prompted by quite a bit of analysis of the alignment of the previous passport agency to see whether it was properly set up to meet the challenges of the future. Obviously we have an increasingly complex global world with IT challenges that are coming at us and it's very important that we're able to meet all of those challenges. There was analysis that looked at the program and where it best fit. That analysis demonstrated that there was a high degree of alignment between the passport program and Citizenship and Immigration's core business, as in, for instance, citizenship. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is responsible for determining who is a Canadian citizen. The passport is the best proof of citizenship that we have out there, so there's obviously a high degree of alignment between those programs. But in addition, the IT system that the passport program was running on previously was what we call a legacy system and it was not up to the challenge of the future. Citizenship and Immigration has a global case management system that has been in use for 10 years that allows us to move work around and to offer e-applications, and it has allowed us to modernize our programs and services.
This change also allows the passport program to benefit from our IT infrastructure.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, meeting number 31. We are studying, clause by clause, Bill C-24, which is amending the Citizenship Act and other acts.
We have the same officials before us that we had yesterday from the department, in case members have technical questions.
(On clause 8)
The Chair: I think we finished Green-4, which failed, and we now have Green-5.
Ms. May, I assume the legislative clerk has spoken to you and he has pointed out to you that he's recommending to me that the amendment proposed by you is inadmissible. I concur with him. Do you wish me to go further?
Basically the amendment intends to delete the entire clause. When you do that it's out of order because simply voting against the adoption of the clause would have the same effect, and that comes from O'Brien and Bosc at page 768. So the ruling essentially is that parliamentary practice does not permit a member to do something indirectly what cannot be directly. Therefore, Ms. May, I declare that the amendment is inadmissible.
So, we now proceed to....
Well, there doesn't seem to be anyone to move, so we will proceed with Liberal amendment 7. I don't see anyone making the amendment for that either.
You know, I'd like to be reasonable here.
I'm going to suspend for a minute.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Yes, Mr. Chair.
This amendment would require that a Canadian facing citizenship revocation would be entitled to a hearing if they request one, and that the minister must notify them of that right. We are fundamentally opposed to the new powers of citizenship revocation. However, we recognize that the Conservatives have a majority and tend to ram these provisions down Parliament's throat regardless of what the experts say; therefore, we have also made a number of amendments to these provisions that we think can add, at the very least, a few checks on these new powers, and we hope that members of the committee will seriously consider these amendments.
We think it's crazy that a Canadian, born here to Canadian parents, a Canadian who goes back generations, could have their citizenship revoked through an exchange of letters. It's one of the most basic principles of due process that people are entitled to a hearing. This amendment would guarantee a hearing for any Canadian facing revocation.
View Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This is a major problem that witnesses pointed out during the study of Bill C-24. One witness even said that a person whose citizenship might be revoked had fewer legal rights than another who had received a parking ticket. I think that shows how ridiculous this provision of Bill C-24 is. For that reason, the NDP will support the proposed amendment.
View Costas Menegakis Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, the impact of this amendment would require the minister, or the minister's delegate, to hold the hearing upon the request of an individual, an individual who is subject to a revocation process, which may lead to a less efficient process.
The government does not support this amendment because we feel it is unnecessary and is not consistent with the structure of the new revocation model. The factors that the minister must consider in deciding whether to hold a hearing will be prescribed in regulations. As a majority of revocation cases are likely to be straightforward, an oral hearing may not be necessary. The new model will improve the efficiency of the process, while ensuring fairness and a recourse mechanism for affected individuals. Under the new model, revocation decisions will be made by either the Federal Court or the minister.
Revocation cases decided by the minister would include those related to various revocation cases decided by the CIC minister or delegate. Under the new grounds, the minister would make decisions based on objective evidence where there is a conviction on a limited list of offences. The proposed system includes many safeguards, including the person's ability to make submissions and seek a judicial review. We feel those are appropriate.
As is the case for any other administrative decisions, the minister's revocation decision could be judicially reviewed with leave to the Federal Court. Decisions of the Federal Court would be subject to appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal if the Federal Court certifies a serious question of general importance.
Now it will also make it easier to revoke citizenship from those who hid crimes committed abroad, which would make it easier to get war criminals out of Canada.
For those reasons—and we could elaborate a lot further on them, but I won't in the interest of time—the government will not be supporting this amendment.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
All those in favour of Liberal amendment 6?
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: Mr. Regan, just so you're clear, because you're filling in for another one of our colleagues, I'm not asking that the amendment be actually read. I'm assuming that when you speak in support of the amendment that it's been done. You don't have to read it, you can just say why you're making the amendment. We all have copies of that amendment.
You can proceed, if you're going to proceed, with Liberal amendment 7.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Okay.
Liberal amendment 7 would reverse the onus in Bill C-24 so that the minister would have to prove that the affected Canadian has a second citizenship. In our view, reverse onuses are rarely used in Canadian law. When they are, it's only in the most extreme of circumstances. If the minister has gone through all the work to prove that a Canadian should have their citizenship revoked, then they should also be able to prove that their target also has a second citizenship. It shouldn't fall on the shoulders of the Canadian to prove a negative.
View Costas Menegakis Profile
CPC (ON)
It's hardly proving a negative. But anyhow, the impact of this amendment of proposed subsection 10.4(2), with regard to revocation, would put the onus on the minister to prove that the individual in question is a dual citizen. Obviously, the government does not support this amendment and we don't feel this amendment is necessary. Before requiring an individual to establish that they are not a citizen of another country, the minister would first have to identify, based on reasonable grounds, the other country of citizenship.
Also, as this provision only applies to dual citizens, the intent is not to render individuals stateless.
So we're not supporting this amendment.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
To quote Mr. Menegakis, to prove you are “not a citizen of another country”, that surely is proving a negative. He used the word “not”, for starters, but it's clearly proving a negative.
View Costas Menegakis Profile
CPC (ON)
We can argue on words, but that's not our purpose here today. We're ready to vote.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
All those in favour of Liberal amendment 7?
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: Mr. Regan, you're proceeding with Liberal amendment 8.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Yes, Mr. Chairman. This would provide that a Canadian will have a full appeal to the Federal Court in the case of citizenship revocation proceedings.
Canadian citizenship, of course, is our most fundamental right. The government shouldn't have the power to remove it without a full and complete right of appeal to the courts. It's absolutely mind-boggling, in fact, that the government would not support such an amendment. To not support such an appeal right would fly in the face of our charter and in the face of the rules of natural justice.
As we have heard from some of our witnesses before this committee, this committee must not think in terms of the here and now. The Conservatives may trust this particular minister with these wide-ranging powers, but do they trust the next minister? Would they willingly hand these powers to a Liberal minister, for example, or even a New Democrat minister? I won't go farther than that, but what about a minister belonging to some new party we haven't heard of yet?
We must always ensure that Canadians have the protection of the courts from the actions of an overly political government, because we cannot predict the electoral future, sadly.
View Costas Menegakis Profile
CPC (ON)
Well, Mr. Chair, the impact of this particular amendment provides for the appeal of a decision made by the minister under proposed section 10. It appears to duplicate proposed section 10.7, which introduces an appeal with a certified question for the revocation of citizenship under proposed section 10.1, or the finding of inadmissibility under proposed section 10.5. The government will not be supporting this amendment, because again we feel it is not necessary.
Under the new model, the minister's revocation decision could be judicially reviewed with leave of the Federal Court. The Federal Court's decision, in turn, could be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal, if the Federal Court certifies a question of general importance. The decision of the Federal Court of Appeal, Mr. Chair, could also be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada with leave.
Furthermore, a revocation decision made by the Federal Court could be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal if the Federal Court certifies a question of general importance, and with leave, the Federal Court of Appeal, as I said, could be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
So there is enough protection there to protect against a little bit of the fear that the member, I believe, was trying to put forth here about perhaps future ministers of other parties. I appreciate his confidence in the current minister. He certainly has our confidence.
So we're going to be opposing this amendment.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
Shall Liberal amendment 8 carry?
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: We move to debate on clause 8.
Madame Blanchette-Lamothe.
View Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We are at clause 8 of Bill C-24. No amendment could be made to this clause. I think it is important to discuss it.
As I said earlier, clause 8 concerns the revocation of citizenship under the minister's discretionary power. This is one of the main points that has been debated in Canadian civil society and among the experts who appeared before this committee. I will mention only some of the witnesses who opposed this provision of Bill C-24, including the Canadian Council for Refugees and, of course, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. The Canadian Arab Institute stated in a brief that it had sent to the committee that it was opposed to the possible revocation of citizenship.
Several experts appeared before the committee. Some expressed their disagreement with the revocation of citizenship, and others pointed out that the act of stripping a Canadian citizen of citizenship and not allowing that person to appeal the decision was probably unconstitutional.
Now I am going to recall the remarks made by Ms. Macklin, who is an executive member, professor and chair in human rights law on the faculty of law at the University of Toronto and a member of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. When she appeared before the committee, she told us these citizenship revocation provisions were probably unconstitutional. She said the following on that subject:
Can you revoke somebody's citizenship in order to punish them for what we'll call crimes against citizenship?... Here's what the Supreme Court of Canada said about that kind of approach:
Then she cited the Supreme Court, which had rendered a judgment on the subject, and she made the following comments on its decision:
In other words, the Supreme Court of Canada stated quite clearly that punishing somebody by depriving them of their constitutional rights, indeed, by denying them all constitutional rights and casting them out in the name of the social contract, is not constitutional.
This lawyer, who is a member of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, raised some major concerns about the constitutionality of this clause. And she was not the only one who did so. The Canadian Bar Association, which also appeared before the committee, has published its opinion several times in newspapers, in briefs and on the Internet.
Here is an excerpt from what the association says about the revocation of citizenship:
Taking away citizenship from someone born in Canada because they may have dual citizenship and have committed an offence proscribed by the act is new. That's a fundamental change. For people who are born here and who have grown up here, it can result in banishment or exile. It's a step backwards, a huge step backwards—and it's a huge step being taken without any real national debate or discussion about whether Canadians want their citizenship amended in that way.
Once again, a group of legal experts raised major concerns about the constitutionality of this aspect. I think we have to take this seriously. We have often seen the Conservative Party make decisions that were subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court. I think there is probably a lesson to be learned from that. Bill C-24, which preceded the one we are studying today, also encountered quite serious problems regarding its admissibility.
There is the constitutionality aspect, of course, but there are also all the issues surrounding the debate on justice and the creation of two classes of citizens. That is also a major and fundamental element. I am taking the time to discuss them because we are voting on a clause that has raised enormous concerns among the civil population and the experts in this country and that will make a fundamental change to Canadian citizenship.
We must ask ourselves the following question: why two classes of citizens?
For a single offence, if a person had or might have a second citizenship, he or she would not be entitled to the same judicial process as another person who had only one citizenship. I am not saying here that the sentence might be minor or undeserved, on the contrary. The experts agree that our judicial system provides for harsh penalties for crimes such as high treason and terrorism.
However, consider someone who was born in Canada of Canadian parents, who knows only one country—Canada—and perhaps only one language and who has no attachment to another country. Why should he be denied the same judicial treatment as a person who was born in Canada, and has only Canadian citizenship, simply because a parent has given him or her citizenship in another country? That is the problem. The question here is not whether committing terrorist acts is a serious matter. I believe everyone agrees on that. The NDP agrees that terrorism is an act that merits penalties consistent with the seriousness of the crime.
The bill goes a little too far because it could have the effect of revoking the citizenship of Canadians who were born in Canada to Canadian parents. I am not the only person who has said this. I am echoing the public and the experts who appeared before our committee. This is what disturbs me, just as it disturbs the official opposition and a lot of other people. I am startled to see that the government has accepted no amendments to clause 8 and that we are preparing to vote on a measure with such serious consequences.
View Rathika Sitsabaiesan Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I think it is pretty clear that I will not be supporting clause 8 as well, as per what my colleague mentioned.
It's quite unfortunate that members of the government on the committee are not willing to actually listen to any of the recommendations we heard in the pre-study we did of this bill. We heard.... I'm not going to give you an exhaustive list of the witnesses and what they said, but I do want to talk about some of the issues that were outlined by some of our witnesses and about why I can't support clause 8 of the bill.
For example, you have heard me speak at length about UNICEF, because I think the best interests of the child are important. In the written submission they sent to us, UNICEF mentioned that the “best interest” determination process should be applied in cases in which there is the potential for families to be separated following the revocation of citizenship of a parent, when there are children involved.
If a parent is going to lose his citizenship, what is going to happen to the child? It's not clear now, if the parent is going to be deported because they lose their Canadian citizenship, what will happen to the child. If the family is being separated and a child is left to fend for themselves, is that acting in the best interest of the child? We are a state party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and we are not acting in the best interests of the child.
I won't belabour that point any further; however, with respect to the new section 10 of the Citizenship Act that would be created through clause 8 of Bill C-24, we heard from the Canadian Council for Refugees, who suggested deletion of the new proposed powers to strip citizenship as a whole and amendment of the bill to include a provision explicitly stating that citizenship cannot be removed.
Citizenship shouldn't be treated like a driver's licence; it's not a privilege. I feel that it's a huge privilege to be a Canadian citizen, yes, but it's not something that can be taken away for punitive reasons. If you are a citizen, then you are a citizen—period, end of sentence. It's not something that a partisan minister should have the ability to take away from you for whatever reason.
What we've seen as a pattern in the bills that have affected this citizenship and immigration committee, whereby the minister has more and more discretionary powers to do x, y, or z—and this time it's about the revocation of citizenship—is that every bill that has come before this committee has seen an increase in discretionary powers for the minister, and that just isn't right.
We even had the minister appear before the committee and say many things about the clause 8 revocation section when crimes committed in another jurisdiction are involved. He said that's not really what they were trying to do, and that he's a nice guy, so he wouldn't revoke somebody's citizenship for something that wouldn't be treated as an equivalent crime here in this country. That's great that he's a nice guy and won't do that.
But that's not what the law says; that is not what is written down. What happens if tomorrow he's not the minister and somebody who is not a nice guy becomes minister? Does that mean that this new person will revoke someone's citizenship, and is that the plan?
I don't know. I can only go by what is in ink. The ink on the paper and the experts who have come before this committee have told us that it's very much not clear. Who was it, was it the Canadian Bar Association...? I remember Professor Macklin, who was representing the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers.
I'm going to quote very briefly from her. She said: “I would remove citizenship revocation. It's unconstitutional.” She then said, “I think our criminal justice system is perfectly adequate to handle crimes, criminal offences, and it does so just fine.”
She's right. If we're dealing with the criminal justice system, when a crime is committed in our jurisdiction or in another jurisdiction outside of this country, it shouldn't be the Minister of Immigration who acts as judge and jury. It really should be a judge—or maybe a jury—and not the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration who has the powers to just take away somebody's Canadian citizenship.
We heard from the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, OCASI, and also the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, who both said that all of the new grounds for revocation of citizenship for dual citizens should be removed, because clause 8 in this bill is actually discriminatory.
The Conservatives on this committees are happy to write a law that is discriminatory towards people who have dual citizenship just because, through their birthright or because they were born in another country or because they choose to keep citizenship in another country.... They are going to be treated as another class of Canadian citizen. That's just not fair. It is discriminatory practice, a prejudiced practice. As lawmakers, we can't condone that type of behaviour.
That is another reason I will not be supporting and just can't support clause 8.
Once again, OCASI and the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic—I wish they had come up with a brilliant little name like OCASI for them as well—said to remove all of the new discretionary powers that are given to the minister. I agree with them. These are two groups that are representing a large number of people who live in the greater Toronto area. I, representing that community, agree with these organizations, who are speaking on behalf of so many of our constituents in the GTA.
We also know—I think it was from the lawyer Robin Seligman, when she appeared before the committee.... She is the one who mentioned that people who have a parking ticket have more rights than people who are having their citizenship revoked.
I'm pretty sure it was her who also outlined to us the way in which Canada can revoke the citizenship of people who may have a second citizenship—for example, Jewish Canadians who have a right to citizenship to Israel, who have never been there before, but just because they are practising, they have that right to that citizenship—for a crime that may have happened.
That is “may have happened”. It's not something we have clear, distinctive proof for, because we can't necessarily trust the judicial system in another country. Do we know that it's of the same quality or calibre as the Canadian judicial system? We don't. In many of these countries in which there are civil wars happening, do I necessarily trust the independence of the judiciary? No. I come from Sri Lanka, and many of the members of the committee have heard me speak about that country and the crimes that take place in that country. Do I trust the judiciary in that country? No. I know that the judiciary is not independent in that country, because the chief justice was impeached by the government because she issued a decision that wasn't supportive of the government.
So I know that in the case of that one country, for example, I can speak with confidence. We can't trust what comes out of the judiciary in that country, because they might say that somebody was convicted of a crime and had a fair trial, but does that mean we're now going to accept it?
It's not clear in the law. That's why I'm belabouring this point; it's not clear. I want to look at witness testimony from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. It was by Ms. Saperia. She said:
I understand from last week’s hearing that Minister Alexander envisions a two-step process in his ministerial discretion. The first step would be to examine the substance of the foreign offence and whether it is equivalent to a Canadian Criminal Code terrorist act. This is set out in the legislation
View Rathika Sitsabaiesan Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I was reading a quotation when I was interrupted. I was wondering whether I could read that quotation. It was by Ms. Sheryl Saperia from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Here is the quote again:
I understand from last week’s hearing that Minister Alexander envisions a two-step process in his ministerial discretion. The first step would be to examine the substance of the foreign offence and whether it is equivalent to a Canadian Criminal Code terrorist act. This is set out in the legislation. But the second step of the review, which was described as an examination of the fairness of the process by which the conviction was achieved, is not mentioned anywhere in the bill. I would recommend an amendment in this regard.
That's the same point I was making earlier. That second piece, whereby the examination of whether a person had a fair trial before the conviction that they may have reached in another jurisdiction in another country, is not clearly articulated in this bill, and there has been no change made to that effect. That is another reason I cannot support clause 8.
Time after time, the Canadian Bar Association, CARL or the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, CASID, the local Toronto legal clinic.... There are many other organizations that presented as witnesses or that just sent in a written submission to our committee speaking to the unconstitutionality of this clause in Bill C-24. Considering that it has not been amended at all....
I can go on for many more hours, but I choose not to, Mr. Chair. All these reasons and more are reasons that I cannot support clause 8.
Thank you.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Ms. Sitsabaiesan.
Mr. Sandhu has the floor.
I apologize. Mr. Menegakis has the floor.
I'm sorry, sir.
View Costas Menegakis Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Chair.
Where to begin? There are so many things that we've heard from the members opposite that I would characterize as inaccurate at best, and as probably fearmongering at the other end. Making reference to the members of the committee from the governing party in the way that they have done does not, I think, lend itself to a spirit of openness in debate.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Menegakis, I just don't want to get into the issue in which members of one side are personally attacking people of the other side. I recall Ms. Sitsabaiesan's saying that the bill is discriminatory, but I don't recall her ever making critical, derogatory remarks about members of this committee or individual members of the government.
View Costas Menegakis Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, the members opposite referred to members of the governing party on the committee. I would ask you to review what they said. I think you'll find that this is true; I did not make this up.
But I will speak to the issues at hand here, because I think it is important for Canadians to know and for all members in this committee to know the accurate facts in the legislation.
First of all is the issue of constitutionality and whether the bill is charter-compliant. I think the minister was abundantly clear, when he was asked that question when he appeared before the committee, that the bill went through a judicial review within the ministry of justice. The Minister of Justice was very clear that it is compliant with the charter. Had it not been, we certainly would not have tabled it, as a government, in the House. So we're convinced about the constitutionality of the elements of the bill.
Let me just say that experts—we heard the members opposite speak to experts and expert witnesses and what experts have to say here and what experts had to say there.... We have many experts here. Experts begin with our officials, who are dealing with these matters on a daily basis, who were here and appeared before us, Mr. Chair.
We heard support for the bill from many witnesses. We heard opposition to the bill from many witnesses. But we were trying to determine, in all of that, the pertinent points, so that we could take them into consideration when reviewing the amendments proposed to this bill.
I think it's worthy to note, and I'm going to say this, that on February 27, before we even met a single witness here—we hadn't even heard from a witness—the opposition stood up in the House and moved that the bill not be heard at second reading, before we even heard any witnesses.
I can go on forever as to how much credibility the opposition actually gives the witnesses, when they want to move not to hear the bill before even having had the opportunity to listen to witnesses who they are now claiming are so important to them, moving forward.
Nevertheless, this clause 8 does deal with the issue of revocation. Revocation is an important issue. If I got the gist of what the members opposite were saying, basically they were asking how it is fair to revoke citizenship for a foreign offence. They are asking such things, perhaps, as what the assessment of equivalence between a foreign and domestic offence would include. Will it include equivalence of a judicial process, and so forth?
I'd like to answer that question, because perhaps that will give them some additional information so that they can reflect on clause 8 of this bill.
The bill does introduce a new power to revoke citizenship on the basis of a person's having been convicted of terrorism and sentenced to at least five years of imprisonment. In the case of a foreign terrorism conviction, it would have to be shown that if the offence were committed in Canada, it would constitute a terrorism offence in Canada. Revocations based on other convictions listed, such as treason or spying, would require a Canadian conviction.
Essentially, officers would assess whether the foreign offence could be equalled with an offence under a Canadian federal statute, in this case the Criminal Code offence of terrorism. They would follow the test established by the Federal Court of Appeal in the context of criminal inadmissibility assessments under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The CIC minister has the authority not to proceed with the revocation or to bar someone from acquiring citizenship in exceptional circumstances. This authority would be available for use in cases in which there are concerns about the judicial system in a particular country that could lead to an unfair trial or to politically motivated convictions for terrorism.
Individuals would also be provided with a safeguard in the form of judicial review recourse, which is available to individuals in all revocation cases.
Now, here is the point at which we have a fundamental difference with members of the opposition. We believe that if you commit a crime against the country—of treason, terrorism, against the Canadian Armed Forces—you have committed a crime. This is not an attack on those who have a dual citizenship. I might add that I know many people who have dual citizenship and are not criminals.
I can tell you that dual citizens themselves don't want terrorists that happen to have dual citizenship around them; Canadians have told us. They've told us in our ridings. They've told us in our deliberations. We've heard it from witnesses. We ask that question: who would want a terrorist to be their neighbour?
Also, why would you not want to take away citizenship from someone who obtained it fraudulently? There are benefits when it comes to citizenship, Mr. Chair. Those who have dual citizenship have an additional benefit in another country, which a Canadian citizen doesn't.
Now, we are subject to the international protocol that prevents us from rendering somebody stateless, but let me be clear about one thing. Someone who perpetrates a crime against Canada, such as treason or terrorism, is not absolved of the judicial system here. If they're concerned about their children.... I believe it was Ms. Sitsabaiesan who asked, “What about the babies, the children?” Well, those children aren't going to see their parents for a very long time. Because whether you're a dual citizen or not, if you perpetrate one of those crimes, you're going to be charged, convicted, and put in prison. It's not like you do the crime and it's goodbye; you will still be held accountable. That's the law in Canada. You can't come to Canada, walk around, perpetrate that kind of crime, and then say, “Oh, you lose your citizenship, goodbye.” That's not what we're saying here. I want to make that very clear. That's not what Canadians want. That's not what anybody wants.
There will be due process for those who are accused. Once convicted—convicted by a court of law or a jury—these people are going to lose the Canadian citizenship if they have dual citizenship. We think it is fair to protect the value of Canadian citizenship. Those who obtain it should respect all the pluses, all the benefits, and the rules of the land.
It's abundantly clear in comments we heard from several witnesses, including the minister and the officials, and it's something we hear from Canadians. We're not talking about...you know, this is like an attack on dual citizens.... It's not. I've heard members opposite refer to it as two tiers of citizenship. Well, there are two types of people. You either have dual citizens and citizenship or you don't have dual citizenship.
If somebody chooses to retain their citizenship or ask for the citizenship of another country, or to retain it if they got it at birth, they can always renounce it. You can always renounce your citizenship from another country if you're concerned about this particular piece of legislation.
But here's the thing. Law-abiding citizens will never do that, because they don't think.... Why would they renounce their citizenship? Because 99.99% of the people are law-abiding citizens, and they're not going to think, “I'm going to renounce my citizenship.” We're talking about those who would perpetrate a crime. We're talking about criminals. That's who we're talking about here.
I want to make that very clear to anybody who's listening to us here and to all members in particular. We are talking about criminals or those who obtain citizenship fraudulently. We're not talking about law-abiding citizens. I can't for the life of me understand why members of the opposition would want to provide protection for those people who would perpetrate those crimes by removing clause 8, by not supporting clause 8 in this legislation. That's the issue of revocation. It's not an attack on law-abiding citizens. It is the will of the government to ensure that our population is protected, and protected at all times.
The issue of equivalency of a crime performed in another country will have to be proven. It will have to be a crime that is recognized in Canada as equivalent, and obviously it would have to be recognized by a country whose judicial system is of the calibre—of the quality they use, I think—that it is in Canada. Certainly, there are provisions in the bill to prevent this kind of thing happening in despotically governed countries. The revocation factor in the bill is I think a critical component of this bill, because it sends a very strong message to those who perhaps would want to use Canada as a haven by retaining their Canadian citizenship, but who perform a crime either within Canada or outside of Canada.
I would submit to the honourable members here that nobody wants to have a person like that as a neighbour in this country—nobody. I haven't met a single person who says, “You know what? I know this crime was committed but it didn't happen in Canada, so I really don't care.” I don't know of a single person who would say, “You know what? Don't take away their citizenship even though they have dual citizenship because they're Canadian citizens, and what about their children?” Outside of things I've heard in this committee, I certainly have not heard that.
It is something that we will vigorously defend, because it is incumbent upon our Parliament, and we believe, incumbent upon us as a government, to ensure that there is protection in our immigration system for all Canadian citizens. We're a very welcoming country, Mr. Chair. We want people to come here. We want the best and the brightest and those who are in need. We want people to come to our country, but we want them to be law-abiding citizens. We want them to respect the laws of the land.
We're talking about revocation. There is no provision in this bill to revoke the citizenship of a law-abiding Canadian citizen, whether they have dual citizenship or not. There is no provision in this bill that provides that.
Having said that, I will note that we just went through clause 8 and there was not a single amendment proposed by members of the New Democratic Party for clause 8. They're opposing the entire clause with no amendment to it whatsoever. We will be supporting clause 8.
I'll reserve the right to come back to the point before we vote on it, of course. I would ask, Madam Clerk—through you, Mr. Chair—that my name be added to the list again.
Thank you very much.
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm going to be brief and to the point. My colleagues have already made points in regard to this particular clause on the revocation of citizenship.
Mr. Chair, I've seen this movie before where reasonable amendments are offered by the opposition. When the member opposite talks about how nobody in Canada wants these kinds of people living next door to them, I'm hoping he's including members of the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party, and the other parties in this House.... I don't think anybody wants that; however, Mr. Chair, surely you'd think that the members of the opposition would have some input into this bill to offer amendments, which have been offered by many witnesses. If you talk about the Canadian Bar Association.... I'm not going to list everyone here. We've had lawyer after lawyer and expert after expert talk about the unconstitutionality of this particular clause.
Mr. Chair, the Conservatives may be right and the opposition members may be right in thinking that by the time this works through the court system, it'll be six or seven years, and they may not be in government. I can assure them of that. Canadians are paying attention to this and they will not be in government at that time.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
We'll call the vote on clause 8.
An hon. member: A recorded vote, please....
(Clause 8 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4)
(On clause 9)
The Chair: We're now going to proceed to clause 9. There is one proposed amendment by the Liberals. It is Liberal amendment 9.
Mr. Regan, you have the floor if you wish to make that amendment.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
This amendment would delete the “intent to reside” provision related to the resumption of citizenship. Again, the Liberals are opposed to the intent to reside provisions of this bill, and this amendment would delete them from the resumption of citizenship provisions of Bill C-24.
View Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Profile
NDP (QC)
We have already expressed our opinion on this declaration of intent to reside in Canada.
We cited several witnesses who appeared as part of this study and who oppose the provisions respecting the declaration of intent to reside in Canada. Of course, it is not that we are opposed to the idea that people who have been granted citizenship should intend to reside here. Everybody would like that.
However, this may set a precedent and open some very dangerous doors. People could have their citizenship revoked if they did not comply with that declaration of intent to reside, and that limits any foreseeable or unforeseeable movement by people, which may occur for very good reasons.
The minister says he does not intend to use the measure that way, but experts tell us that, regardless of the minister's intent, the current wording of the bill might result in this precedent, which would be very dangerous. That is why the NDP will vote for this amendment.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm going to call the vote on Liberal amendment 9.
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
We resume debate on clause 9.
All those in favour of clause 9...?
Ms. Rathika Sitsabaiesan: I call for a recorded vote.
(Clause 9 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4)
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
Is there debate on clause 10?
Shall clause 10 carry? All those in favour...? All those opposed...?
An hon. member: [Inaudible--Editor]
The Chair: I'll say it again; perhaps I was too fast.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Can I ask a question to the witnesses on this clause? I should have asked it before now.
It's up to you, Mr. Chair.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you.
Could the witnesses tell the committee what other evidence of citizenship could be provided to a Canadian?
Mary-Ann Hubers
View Mary-Ann Hubers Profile
Mary-Ann Hubers
2014-06-03 16:59
The intent of this clause is to provide some flexibility so that electronic means, for example, may be used instead of a paper certificate one day down the road.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
We were in the middle of a vote. We're going to start again.
Ask no more questions, Mr. Regan.
(Clause 10 agreed to)
(On clause 11)
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
On clause 11, is there any debate?
All those in favour of clause 11—
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
I looked over and didn't see any hands.
So you want to debate clause 11?
View Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Profile
NDP (QC)
The NDP will vote against clause 11 because it has serious concerns about the power to treat an application as abandoned if the applicant exceeds response times.
We know that a person who responds often encounters obstacles and that some documents are lost in the mail or at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. As a result of these concerns with regard to response times, we will vote against this clause.
View Rathika Sitsabaiesan Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I don't really want to belabour this point either. My colleague mentioned the discretionary powers for the minister. I've spoken about it already extensively, and I don't want to speak about it much more. This clause increases further discretionary powers for the minister and allows the minister to suspend processing or treat an application as abandoned if a person doesn't respond within the prescribed timeline. But there are many reasons why someone may not be able to respond.
I can't really know the motivation on this for certain, but it looks like it's another example of how this government is trying to deal with the backlog, because we know there is a huge backlog. If someone's not responding within whatever prescribed timeline is set out, then their application is deemed as withdrawn or abandoned and gotten rid of, deleted from the list and deleted from the backlog. There are many other ways to actually get rid of the backlog. You actually process the applications, not create side doors and back doors to say that applications have been abandoned as a way to get rid of the backlog.
That's all I'll say.
View Costas Menegakis Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The inference of that comment is that there's some kind of back door that's going to be created to try to reduce the backlog. For the member's benefit, this new section provides the minister with the authority to deem an application abandoned if the applicant does not—I'd like the members of the opposition to hear this clearly—provide additional information or evidence, both in the situation where an appearance is required and when an appearance is not required; appear for an appointment with the minister's delegate or with a citizenship judge, either in person or by other means such as telecommunication or via email; or appear at a ceremony to take the oath of citizenship.
The provision also clarifies the effect of abandonment. This provision is supported by proposed section 23.1, which gives the minister authority to require applicants to appear at certain appointments or provide additional information. The new authorities under proposed sections 13.1 and 13.2 will apply to applications that are under processing at the time of the coming into force of these provisions.
Now, it's worthy to note, Mr. Chair, that there are over 154,000 cases of abandoned applications clogging up the system for those people who did show up, who did complete their applications, who did go through the process, and who want to get their citizenship process completed.
So of course we'll be supporting this particular clause, clause 11.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
I'll call the vote.
Ms. Rathika Sitsabaiesan: I'd like a recorded vote.
(Clause 11 agreed to: yeas 6; nays 3)
(On clause 12)
The Chair: We'll go now to Green Party amendment PV-6.
You have the floor, Ms. May, if you're going to propose that amendment.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My amendment is deemed to have been made through the mysterious process that moves without my volition. I am presenting this amendment in a further effort to repair what has already been discussed around this table as being a concern, the intent to reside provision.
My amendment would amend clause 12 by adding, after line 32, a new subsection, which would say the following:
(1.01) The onus is on the Minister to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the citizenship judge that, on a balance of probabilities, the person lacks the intention referred to
in previous subparagraphs.
So this is a further safeguard. One might say that this is only for purposes of greater certainty that the minister has the onus of proof and it is not placed on a citizenship applicant or citizen to show that he or she does not intend to reside in Canada. This would ensure that the power is not used in an arbitrary fashion; or rather, it would help to ensure that the provision is not used in an arbitrary fashion.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Costas Menegakis Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
Once again, the impact of this amendment would require the citizenship judges to decide on an applicant's intent to reside in Canada based on the evidence provided by the minister. The reason we're not supporting this particular amendment is that it would be inconsistent with the new decision-making model and the government's intent to deliver quicker decisions for grant of citizenship. We cannot be supporting this amendment.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm going to call the vote on Green Party amendment number 6.
(Amendment negatived)
The Chair: Ms. May, the next one is under clause 12, Green Party amendment number 7. You have the floor.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This amendment is a change to revert to some of the language that exists in the current act. Currently what we have before us removes subsections 14(1.1) to 14(6), and replaces them with a new section. What my amendment does is ensure that those new clauses only replace subsections 14(1.1), 14(2), and 14(3), thus preserving subsections 14(4), 14(5), and 14(6) of the current act in order to provide access to judicial review.
If I still have time within my minute, I will refer to the testimony of Audrey Macklin from the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, who reminds us that the short answer is that judicial review is a basic requirement of the rule of law. It is designed to ensure that public power is exercised within the boundaries set by the state.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
We're going to vote on Green Party amendment 7.
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: Ms. Blanchette-Lamothe, we have New Democratic Party amendment number 4 under clause 12. You have the floor.
View Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you.
The NDP amendment is somewhat similar to my colleague's previous amendments. Its aim is to address our concerns respecting the right of appeal and the right of judicial review.
The purpose of this amendment, which is quite simple, is to ensure that applicants can make their submissions before a judge. That is why we are introducing this amendment.
Thank you.
View Costas Menegakis Profile
CPC (ON)
The impact of this amendment would not allow the citizenship judge to make a decision without an oral hearing. The government does not support this because it is not consistent with the new decision-making model and the efficiencies it is intended to achieve. We're committed to significant improvements in efficiency in the citizenship and immigration system. When necessary, the citizenship judges will be able to request oral or written submissions from individuals in relation to their applications. We will not be supporting this amendment.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm going to call the vote.
An hon. member: A recorded vote, please.
The Chair: Yes, of course.
(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 4 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: I'm going to call the vote on clause 12.
An hon. member: A recorded vote, please.
(Clause 12 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4)
The Chair: I'll try this again. All those in favour of clauses 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17?
An hon. member: One at a time, please....
The Chair: One at a time. Thank you.
All those in favour of clause 13...?
(Clause 13 agreed to)
(On clause 14)
View Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Profile
NDP (QC)
Once again, clause 14 concerns the revocation of citizenship and a very brief period of time in which to respond to this notice of revocation.
As the NDP thinks that revocation of citizenship is a major act, a person should have the time to be made aware of it and to put together a file in order to present it if that person wants to go ahead and contradict or try to reverse the revocation decision.
This clause grants a period of 30 days in which to respond, which is very short. The NDP will therefore oppose it.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm going to call for a recorded vote, Madam Clerk, on clause 14.
(Clause 14 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4)
(On clause 15)
The Chair: Is there debate on clause 15?
Madame Blanchette-Lamothe.
View Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The NDP will oppose clause 15, which once again concerns the minister's power to ask that citizenship be denied on the basis of suspicions that the applicant poses a security threat. It is very vague and once again opens a disturbing door. It does not necessarily guarantee that people who might be innocent or wrongly accused will be protected.
We feel this clause is very disturbing and we will oppose it.
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
I will call for a recorded vote on clause 15.
(Clause 15 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4)
(Clauses 16 and 17 agreed to sequentially)
(On clause 18)
View David Tilson Profile
CPC (ON)
On clause 18 we have New Democratic Party amendment number 5.
Madame Blanchette-Lamothe has the floor.
View Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This amendment reflects a suggestion by the Canadian Bar Association that the practice of students-at-law be regulated. We consider this proposal reasonable and interesting, and that is why we propose to add it.
This is a relatively minor amendment that would not prevent the NDP from voting for clause 18. We nevertheless believe it would be an improvement. That is why we are submitting it.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I wonder if the officials could tell us what effect this would have and how it compares with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
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