Dual citizenship and the concerns over terrorism


As the Harper government considers a policy and legislative change that would strip a terrorist with dual citizenship of their Canadian citizenship, we're asking how this would work. Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration, Rick Dykstra takes us through the proposed change and a Canadian once accused of al-Qaeda connections gives us his perspective on what is at stake.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Rick Dykstra

Canadian citizenship is predicated on loyalty to this country and I cannot think of a more obvious act of renouncing ones sense of loyalty than committing acts of terror. Right now we have no power the current Canadian law; we have no power to revoke or to denounce on the part of a duel citizen terrorist of this nature. Although every other democracy I've studied does have a similar power to revoke citizen ship effectively from dual citizens who are terrorists. So I think we should study the international precedent.

That was Immigration Minister Jason Kenney explaining that once a Canadian -- perhaps not always a Canadian. Dual citizenship became an issue after Bulgaria accused a Lebanese-born Canadian of involvement in the bombing of a bus filled with Israeli tourists last summer. The unnamed Canadian allegedly belongs to Hezbollah, the Lebanese organization that's high on Canada's list of terrorist organizations.

To help explain the government's proposed policy on stripping dual citizens of their Canadian citizenship, we were joined by Rick Dykstra. He is the Parliamentary Secretary to the minister of Immigration and he was in Ottawa.

Panel: Barbara Jackman & Abdullah Almalki

Still, some believe citizenship isn't exactly like an Order of Canada medal that can be stripped away for allegedly bad behaviour.

Barbara Jackman is a lawyer whose clients have included people accused of taking part in terrorist activities. She was in our Toronto studio.

And Abdullah Almalki is a Canadian citizen born in Syria. In 2002 he was arrested in Syria on suspicions of terrorist connections based on information provided by Canadian authorities. Abdullah Almalki spent the next 22 months in detention where he was tortured in Syria. Abdullah Almalki was in Ottawa this morning.

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.

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