The Current

Bill C-24 up for debate as first Canadian stripped of citizenship

Today we debate the power to strip a Canadian of citizenship and hear why the opposition say they would scrap Bill C-24... just as it's being exercised for the first time.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader and Prime Minister Stephen Harper and New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Thomas Mulcair (L-R) talk before the Munk leaders' debate on Canada's foreign policy in Toronto. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Bill C-24, also known as the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, became law in June. The law allows the federal government to revoke Canadian citizenship from people convicted of terrorism, espionage or treason — provided they are also citizens of a second country.

Ottawa has now sent revocation letters to at least five people linked to extremist activity, including the alleged mastermind of the so-called Toronto 18 plot to bomb downtown Toronto.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau promises to repeal the law if he's elected prime minister. So does NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, who has called into question the timing of the revocations in the middle of an election campaign. The Conservative Party stands by the bill. 

  • Wesley Wark is a national security affairs and terrorism expert with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. He walked us through what Bill C-24 does and who it could affect.

What Canadians think about the law remains to be seen. But it's been roundly criticized by constitutional experts and defence lawyers. Today we also heard from both sides of the debate.

  • Barbara Jackman is a Toronto lawyer who specializes in immigration and refugee law — particularly cases involving national security and human rights. 
  • Julie Taub is an Ottawa-based immigration lawyer and former member of the Immigration and Refugee Board. 

What do you think of Bill C-24? Are there situations in which Canada should strip citizenship?

Let us know what you think. Tweet us. Email us. Or post on our Facebook page.

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Naheed Mustafa.