Maryam Monsef case highlights ‘absurdity’ of Canadian law, refugee lawyers say

The Minister did commit during parliamentary committee hearings last spring to address the lack of due process for citizenship revocation in cases of fraud or misrepresentation. This court challenge likely reflects frustration that no action has been taken to date:

Maryam Monsef could be stripped of her citizenship without a hearing under a law the Liberals denounced while in opposition but which they’ve been enforcing aggressively since taking power, civil liberties and refugee lawyers say.

The democratic institutions minister revealed last week that she was born in Iran, not Afghanistan as she’d long believed. She said her mother, who fled Afghanistan with her daughters when Monsef was 11, didn’t think it mattered where the minister was born since she was still legally considered an Afghan citizen.

Monsef has said she will have to correct her birthplace information on her passport.

If Monsef’s birthplace was misrepresented on her citizenship application as well, that would be grounds for revocation of citizenship, regardless of whether it was an innocent mistake or the fault of her mother, said immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman.

Misrepresentation could lead to deportation

And if the misrepresentation was on her permanent residence and refugee applications, she could even be deported, said Waldman, part of a group that launched a constitutional challenge of the law Monday.

The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association argue that the law, known as Bill C-24, is procedurally unfair and a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Josh Paterson, the BCCLA’s executive director, said Monsef’s case demonstrates the absurdity of the law, which was passed by the previous Conservative government.

“The minister’s situation … is exactly the kind of situation that many other Canadians are facing right now because of this unjust process,” Paterson told a news conference.

“When we get a parking ticket, we have a right to a court hearing … You leave your garbage in the wrong place and you get a ticket, you have the right to a hearing and yet for citizens to lose their entitlement to membership in Canada based on allegations of something they may or may not have said 20 years ago, they have no hearing? It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Law to be enforced

When he was in opposition, John McCallum denounced the law as “dictatorial” and since becoming immigration minister, he’s promised to amend it to create an appeal process, Paterson said.

Nevertheless, repeated requests that the government stop enforcing the law until it can be changed have been ignored. As recently as two weeks ago, Paterson said Justice Department lawyers informed his group that the law would continue to be enforced.

Source: Maryam Monsef case highlights ‘absurdity’ of Canadian law, refugee lawyers say – Politics – CBC News

Court challenge slams new Citizenship Act as ‘anti-Canadian’

The expected court challenge by BCCLA and CARL. We will see whether or not the assertions of the Government regarding these changes to the Citizenship Act being constitutional hold water:

This citizenship-stripping law is unjust, legally unsound and violates the core values of equality enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” says Toronto lawyer Lorne Waldman, one of the litigators handling the case and a member of the executive of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers.

“With this law the federal government shows a flagrant disregard for these values, and for the basic rights of all Canadians. We are asking the court to strike the law down.”

The Minister of Immigration Chris Alexander vigorously defended Bill C-24 both when it was first introduced and as it was debated in Parliament.

…“The value of citizenship has never been more widely recognized as it is today, but it only has value because there are rules governing it,” Alexander told the Star last year, rejecting the growing criticism and opposition to the act.

“Citizenship of course involves rights and enormous privileges in Canada, but it also, for those of us born here and for naturalized Canadians, involves responsibilities.

“This act reminds us where we come from and why citizenship has value. When we take on the obligations of citizens we’re following in the footsteps of millions of people who came here and made outstanding contributions over centuries. And we’re celebrating that diversity, solidifying the order and rule of law we have here.”

But according to Waldman, the law doesn’t do that at all, but rather creates two classes of citizens, a profoundly unfair process and exposes many Canadians to not only losing their citizenship without due process but also their rights to move and travel out of the country.

…“All Canadian citizens used to have the same citizenship rights, no matter what their origins,” says Josh Paterson, executive director of the BCCLA. “Now this new law has divided us into classes of citizens — those who can lose their citizenship and those who can’t. Bill C-24 is anti-immigrant, anti-Canadian, and anti-democratic. It undermines — quite literally — what it means to be Canadian.”

This is fundamentally an issue of equality, Paterson says in an interview with the Star.

Court challenge slams new Citizenship Act as ‘anti-Canadian’ | Toronto Star.