Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I find this bill very disturbing and for many of the reasons that the member has already outlined in terms of the notion that citizenship can be held as a discretionary privilege in the hands of any particular political administration.

As I look at this bill, one of the areas that I think is most troubling is if the minister is of a reasonable belief that individuals have a second citizenship, they can lose their Canadian citizenship. There is a very real risk that other commentators have noted that we could create, basically, statelessness for people we have decided to exile.

It is a very unusual bill in that it is unprecedented. If there are people we believe deserve punishment, we can put them in Canadian jails. If they are Canadian citizens, they should experience Canadian punishments. The notion that they would be deprived of Canadian citizenship, even people who were born in Canada, is a rather slippery slope of depriving the most fundamental aspects of what citizenship means.

Does the member think that I am right, that we might actually have a circumstance where someone ends up stateless?

Jinny Jogindera Sims: Mr. Speaker, the original private member’s bill would have led to statelessness because it did not specify where there was dual citizenship.

In this bill, it could happen. In many cases people who are thought to have dual citizenship may not.

I have heard my Conservative colleagues yell across the way that it is all about holding people to account for treachery or treasonous activities. Nobody in the NDP has said that wayward or treasonous citizens must not be held to account. Absolutely, they must be held to account.

We still believe in the judicial system. Even the most egregious crime, no matter what it is, demands fair and equal treatment under the law. This legislation would confer different levels of citizenship on different citizens. Individuals born in Canada could find themselves being removed from Canada after they have lost their citizenship. To me, that just seems bizarre. Somebody else who is born in Canada would not be facing the same kind of double jeopardy.

This just seems wrong. It does not even pass the common sense test.