Rex Murphy: The case for revoking the citizenship of Canadian terrorists

Rex Murphy makes the case for revoking citizenship.

Like Wente (How can we stop the jihadi tourists? – Margaret Wente), he forgets, either by design or by ignorance,  to mention that this means different treatment for the same crime based upon whether one has Canadian or dual nationality:

Priests are defrocked; medals from honour societies have been imperiously stripped from their holders; soldiers are court-marshalled and drummed out in disgrace; lawyers disbarred, judges swept from the bench, Senators tossed from caucuses, and even Presidents impeached.

The soldier who flees in combat and exposes his fellows to danger is seen as not worthy of being a solider. The judge who has oiled his palm with a bribe is seen as not worthy of being a judge. Treason and excommunication are long-standing responses to ultimate disfealties — and they are surely a kind of cancellation of status, one by the death penalty, the other by exclusion from the community of believers and the possibilities of salvation.

To my mind, these are all of an inferior enormity to the case of a citizen who abandons the country in which he was born, or to which he gave the oath of citizenship, who then pledges his fealty to a murderous band professing a murderous creed.

It’s a strange world in which we have even to contemplate such exigencies, but it is a strange world we find ourselves in today, in which nationals of the democracies willingly travel abroad to invest themselves in the orders of international terrorism, spit on their achieved citizenship, and threaten the safety of their onetime fellows in nationality.

The denial of passports is a stage toward the denial of citizenship. But the denial or witholding of passports is not a sufficient signal of the detestation a country and its people hold for those who so contemptuously forsake the gifts of loyalty and respect that a country rightfully commands from real citizens.

So to use his examples, decisions to defrock a priest do not depend on whether he was born into that religion or converted.

Neither are medals stripped, soldiers court martialed, lawyers disbarred, judges swept from the bench, or Senators tossed on the basis on the distinction whether they are single or dual nationality.

It is the crime or infraction that determines the punishment, with the same punishment for the same crime.

Passport cancellation applies to all, Canadian-born or naturalized, single or dual nationality, and thus consistent with the fundamental principle of equal treatment.

So pursue relentlessly, punish through the Canadian justice system but don’t make a distinction between nationality. After all, we have any number of Canadian-only nationals involved in extremist activity (e.g. Damian Clairmont, the Gordon brothers, John Maguire).

Rex Murphy: The case for revoking the citizenship of Canadian terrorists

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

2 Responses to Rex Murphy: The case for revoking the citizenship of Canadian terrorists

  1. Marion Vermeersch says:

    Thanks, Andrew, for bringing this article to our attention. Another example of how Canadians do not acknowledge how many people this would affect: there have to be thousands, perhaps millions, entitled to dual citizenship from somewhere. I mayl be one again if, by some miracle, I get my Canadian citizenship, lost in 2003, restored whenever the new legislation is enacted. And that was done by the Ministry: there was no notice, way to appeal, or court process at all involved. The 12 reasons Lost Canadians had theirs stripped were, at that time, deemed important enough to justify stripping: my reason was basically being a child of a Canadian soldier and his British War Bride, born prior to marriage(how awful, very un-Canadian!) due to military refusal of permission in WWII.
    Bill C-24 just codifies that practice. Why should dual citizens be subject to a whole new second rate citizenship because a few criminals engage in terrorism? Surely we have a justice system with the capability of dealing with such persons: it should apply equally to citizens, dual or not.

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