Canadian citizenship should not be two-tiered for anyone

The problem that I see with these two complex and dangerous bills is that they devastatingly erode our rights

Editor, The Times:

As Canadian citizens, if you or your children are eligible to obtain another nationality, you are less Canadian than those whose families immigrated to Canada before you.

The Harper Conservatives recently passed Bill C24 (June 2015) – controversial legislation that discriminates against dual citizens and Canadians who are eligible to obtain another nationality.

It splits my family in two and separates my husband and three-year-old son apart from me as “other”. It effectively says these Canadians are not entitled to the same rights as some Canadian born citizens.

In voting “yes” to this bill in June, 2015, MP Cathy McLeod agreed that some Canadians have greater inherent value than other Canadians. Given the opportunity to respond to this concern at the all candidates forum on Sept. 24, Ms. McLeod’s partial explanation, that this law would revoke Canadian citizenship from terrorists, was misleading.

What she failed to mention is that Bill C51 (May 2015) radically changes the definitions of ‘security’ and ‘terrorist’. Protested by hundreds of thousands of Canadians, Amnesty International, former prime ministers, Supreme Court justices, and other former security experts, Bill C51 makes Swiss cheese of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The problem that I see with these two complex and dangerous bills is that they devastatingly erode our rights as Canadian citizens. Canadians sacrificed their lives for the very rights and freedoms that Stephen Harper and his caucus are attacking. Once lost, will they be easily regained?

We now officially have two-tiered citizenship in Canada. We officially have Canadian citizens who are worth more, and those who are worth less.

What has history shown people to be capable of when some of its citizens are “othered” by their own government? Can we trust that all elected officials and governments will always work for the greater good of all?

Sadly, I wasn’t surprised by Ms. McLeod’s response to my question. Mr. Greenwood (Green) and Mr. Powrie (Liberal) made excellent points. Mr. Sundhu’s (NDP) response was passionate and clear. “If you are a Canadian citizen, you are a Canadian. This is unheard of international law and is likely a violation of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

That’s the Canada I grew up in and the Canada I want to leave for my son.

Charlene Lau


Clearwater, B.C.