Candice Malcolm: Activist judge puts stop to citizenship revocation


(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

An unelected judge has made a ruling that will significantly weaken the value of Canadian citizenship.

The landmark decision delivered by the Federal Court this week drastically restricts the government’s ability to revoke citizenship from people who gained it through fraud or misrepresentation.

The previous Conservative government introduced a streamlined process for stripping citizenship from fraudsters, liars and terrorists. Canada has long revoked citizenship from those who become Canadians on false pretenses – a policy that even Justin Trudeau defended in 2015.

Despite Trudeau’s big talk that “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian,” his government stripped more citizenships in its first year in office than the previous Conservative government had in seven years.

But now, thanks to judicial activism pushing a big government agenda, the streamlined process will be dismantled.

Individuals found to have lied or cheated to become a citizen will be afforded more tax-payer funded resources to plead their case and appeal decisions they don’t like.

Justice Jocelyne Gagné determined that while the rules do not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, they do infringe upon Canada’s Bill of Rights. Gagné ruled that those facing citizenship revocation “should be afforded an oral hearing before a court.”

This will all but end the practice of stripping citizenship. It will become too costly, too resource-intensive and too time-consuming.

The previous Conservative government spent years carefully crafting legislation to protect the integrity of Canadian citizenship. They held consultations, worked with non-partisan civil servants and cautiously introduced new rules to crack down on fraud and abuse in Canada’s immigration system.

Now, in a single day and without a coherent alternative, an activist judge has undone it with the slap of a gavel.

One unelected judge has overruled years of legislative accomplishments from Canada’s elected officials.

In our system of government, the judicial branch is designed to be a check on executive power. There is no practical check, however, on the unelected judges who lord over the Federal Court.

Canada’s judges have become super-legislators. They’ve given themselves the power to strike down laws they disagree with, and mask their dogmatic ideology with legalese.

Absurd decisions have become commonplace by activists on the bench.

In 2014, one judge struck down a policy to cut off additional welfare benefits to failed asylum seekers who were awaiting deportation from Canada.

The judge said it was “cruel and unusual” to deny bogus refugees – people already rejected by a Canadian immigration judge – from receiving healthcare benefits above and beyond what Canadian citizens receive.

You can’t make this stuff up.

In another case, legal obstacles thrown in front of immigration officials led to a lengthy delay in deporting career criminal Clinton Gayle. In the meantime, this thug was able to stay in Canada, commit crime after crime, and eventually murder a Toronto police officer.

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