Liberals stripped citizenship at a record pace, new docs reveal

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(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

By: Candice Malcolm

The Trudeau government continued to strip citizenship from dual citizens at a record pace until the day a federal court ruled that it was unconstitutional, the Sun has learned.

A new federal document reveals that the government stripped citizenship from 78 people between November 2016 and May 2017, pushing the total number of revoked citizenships under Trudeau’s watch to over 250.

This represents a drastic increase in the number of revocations compared to former prime minister Stephen Harper, whose government stripped citizenship from 65 people during its nine-year tenure.

The document breaks down the numbers by age, gender and the specific reason for revocation.

During this seven-month period, the Liberals stripped citizenship from three refugees and several people in their 70s and 80s, the eldest being a woman aged 82.

They also revoked citizenship from five teenagers, the youngest a 14-year-old girl, each on the grounds of residency fraud while applying for citizenship.

Citizenship residency fraud was the most common reason for revocation, accounting for 49 of the 78 cases. This refers to cases where individuals and families pretended to live in Canada to meet the residency requirements for citizenship, while found to actually be living elsewhere.

Other reasons for revocation include identity fraud, criminality, marriages of convenience and refugee claim fraud.

The document was released in response to an order paper question from Conservative MP Dan Albas, and given exclusively to the Sun by the True North Initiative – a research organization focused on immigration and national security.

The document also reports that the federal government only stopped the process of citizenship revocation after a federal court decision ruled that the revocation procedure violated the right to a fair hearing, as protected by the Canadian Bill of Rights.

In other words, the decision to stop stripping citizenship was not one made by the Liberal government or through a specific Trudeau government policy – it was a precedent-setting court edict.

The Trudeau government’s Bill C-6, which was passed one month later, changed the process and created an extra review by the federal court before the government can strip away citizenship.

Trudeau received plenty of criticism last year when it was revealed that his government was stripping citizenship at a record pace, despite Trudeau’s often-repeated campaign slogan that a “Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”

A central plank in Trudeau’s platform was a controversial proposal to allow dual-citizens convicted of terrorism to keep their Canadian citizenship.

Trudeau kept true to that promise, introducing legislation to prevent revocation for those convicted of terrorism, war crimes and high treason.

Meanwhile, however, the Trudeau government also continued to strip citizenship on more trivial grounds. In some cases, citizenship was stripped away from individuals who came to Canada as children because of misrepresentations made by their parents.

Trudeau seemed to want to have it both ways; protecting the citizenship of terrorists while allowing ongoing investigations into citizenship revocation for fraud. Trudeau had the power to immediately stop all revocations, and yet, he allowed them to quietly continue.

The hypocrisy was even more evident when news broke that one of his cabinet ministers, Maryam Monsef, who came to Canada at age 12, was born in Iran and not Afghanistan as she had previously stated. Monsef revealed that her passport contained false information about her birthplace.

Other individuals, who were...(READ MORE)