Canadians stripped of citizenship may get new appeal process: immigration minister

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OTTAWA – Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says he’s open to the idea of adding a new appeal process in cases where people are being stripped of their citizenship.

He says he would carefully consider any amendments the Senate proposes to Bill C-6, echoing comments made last fall by his predecessor, John McCallum.

The legislation would revoke some of the measures passed by the previous Conservative government, including a provision that would allow the government to revoke the citizenship of dual nationals convicted of terrorism or treason.

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The bill also eases up some residency and language requirements imposed by the Conservatives.

Hussen has defended the bill before the Senate social affairs committee.

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He says he believes the legislation is sound, even though there is no guarantee of an independent appeal when someone loses their citizenship because of a fraudulent application.

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While the bill ends the possibility of taking citizenship from dual nationals involved in terrorism, it still allows for revoking the citizenship of people who make false applications, or for reasons of criminality or human rights abuses.

The minister told the committee Wednesday that people can seek judicial leave to appeal a revocation, but senators and immigration lawyers alike argued that this isn’t really a fair option.

Independent Sen. Ratna Omidvar said leave is rarely granted for such an appeal. “So leave is not really an option as far as I’m concerned.”

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She asked why there was no provision for a right of appeal to an independent body.

“We believe that the current process is constitutionally sound,” Hussen said. “However, we are very much open to examining any proposals that add to procedural fairness with respect to citizenship revocation.

“We’ve always said that we are open to those proposals. We will examine them closely. We will work closely with the senators on that.”


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