Matt Gurney: If deportation is appropriate for war criminals, why not for terrorists?

Matt Gurney is unsatisfied with the principle, “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian” as an explanation why we revoke citizenship for fraud and misrepresentation but not for terrorism:

After the Second World War, thousands of citizens of defeated enemy nations — Germany, Italy, Japan — moved to Canada. These immigrants included many who had served in the armed forces of those nations, and perhaps had even fought against Canadians. Mere military service in a once-hostile nation was not, and should not have been, found to be sufficient cause to deny them citizenship once the war was over. In some rare cases, however, Canada later discovered (or was told) that people living here as naturalized Canadians had been involved, for instance, in the Holocaust. These individuals, once convicted of their war crimes, had their citizenship taken away and were returned to their original countries of origin to face justice.

If that’s appropriate for war criminals, why not for terrorists?

The legal answer would be, of course, that these individuals weren’t stripped of their passports because they were terrible people who had done awful things, but because they’d lied about having done those terrible things. But while perhaps legally valid, the argument is morally and pragmatically absurd. We don’t exile liars, nor should fraud be somehow treated as a crime worse than, say, genocide. The legal circumstances provided an excuse to what’s really, and rightly, an exercise in morality — denying the honour of Canadian citizenship to those who do not deserve it.

If the Liberals wish to reverse parts of C-24, they of course have that right. They are the government. But concerned Canadians are owed more than slogans. The government should be clear why war criminals can be deported, but terrorists with dual nationalities can keep their passport forever. They may have an answer for it. If so, let’s hear it.

If I were writing the talking points:

  • There is a difference between one’s behaviour before one becomes a citizen and after one becomes Canadian
  • Before, all applicants must meet requirements (residency, language, knowledge etc) in order to take the oath and become citizens
  • Integrity is central to this process
  • Any misrepresentation or fraud, like any government program, means one loses the benefits of the particular program
  • After, all citizens must be treated equally before the law, whether Canadian-born or foreign-born, whether Canadian citizen only or dual-national
  • Current and past cases involve all of these variations, and should be subject to the same punishment. One should not have different punishments for the same crime

Responsive (if asked what about those lying when they take the oath)

  • There is no reliable way to test the sincerity of those taking the oath unlike the other, more easily verifiable, requirements

Comments or suggestions welcome …

Source: Matt Gurney: If deportation is appropriate for war criminals, why not for terrorists? | National Post

More Ottawa Shooting Commentary

Further to yesterday’s round-up of the recent shootings, more of the better commentary or more interesting commentary that has crossed my eye.

Wesley Wark: Reducing the risk of terrorism provides a sober assessment of the ongoing risks and the need neither to over or under act, but learn the lessons from any failures and gaps in security.

In the theme of let’s not get carried away, André Pratte in La réponse and Stephen Maher Time to reflect on the courage of our ancestors remind us to have balance and perspective. Doug Saunders notes how the public space around parliaments the world over has been whittled down by successive security threats in Don’t let the seat of government become a fortress.

On the other side, Journal de Montréal’s Richard Martineau is characteristically alarmist in Terrorisme: appelons les choses par leur nom.

More on the common elements to the two most recent cases of radicalization, Martin Couture-Rouleau  and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau:

Martin Couture-Rouleau et Michael Zehaf-Bibeau partagent plusieurs points en commun : ils étaient jeunes (25 ans et 32 ans), ils s’étaient récemment convertis à l’islam radical, la GRC avait confisqué leur passeport par crainte qu’ils rejoignent le groupe État islamique, et ils auraient agi tels des « loups solitaires ».

Pour les autorités policières, c’est le cauchemar. Les deux jeunes ont agi de leur propre chef, sans même avoir été initiés au combat par des groupes extrémistes à l’étranger. Ils sont difficiles à repérer et à neutraliser.

Un loup solitaire aux motivations inconnues

And further details about the troubled life of the shooter, Zehaf-Bibeau in the Globe in Drugs and religion key themes in Ottawa shooter’s troubled life and in the Post in Details of Zehaf-Bibeau’s life paint picture of a man derailed by homelessness, crime and addiction, detailing his drug addiction, quarrelsome personality and his failed efforts to use his faith to control both.

Canadian Muslims are quick to respond and express outrage in Canadian Muslims denounce recent attacks, fear backlash.

Matt Gurney challenges the military’s decision in Canadian soldiers don’t hide in their own damn country — rescind the order to not wear uniforms in public.

Barbara Kay covers a different angle in The unique anguish of a terrorist’s mother:

If it is inevitable, why feel guilty about these “bad seeds”? And yet, inevitably, parents do. Our sympathetic embrace for the real victims should therefore be wide enough to include their murderers’ collateral damage.

A great deal of favourable commentary on Parliament yesterday, how each leader struck the right tone, the hugs of support, and the deserved standing ovation for Sergeant-at-Arms Vickers starting with Jeffrey Simpson in Tribute, solidarity and back to politics (with some barbs at the difference between Government rhetoric and funding).

Jonathan Kay noted the contrast between this time and 30 years ago, when the then Sergeant-at-Arms was able to talk armed Denis Lortie into surrendering in Two Sergeants-at-Arms, two kinds of heroism.

Rick Salutin, similarly praises Kevin Vickers, but provocatively, and accurately, rubbishes the idea of Canadian innocence in We didn’t lose our innocence. We never had it.

Andrew Coyne, perceptively noted the nuances in the various positions and how that hopefully portended more serious political dialogue and debate in Politics weren’t put aside during the Ottawa hug-out, they were just made over for the occasion:

For Mr. Harper, it was “to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe here at home,” as well as “to work with our allies” in the fight against “the terrorist organizations” abroad who hope “to bring their savagery to our shores.” For Mr. Mulcair, it was “our commitment to each other and to a peaceful world.” For Mr. Trudeau, it was “staying true to our values” of “fairness, justice and the rule of law.”

“We will not be intimidated,” Mr. Harper vowed. “That is not going to happen,” Mr. Mulcair seconded. “We will not be intimidated into changing that,” Mr. Trudeau agreed. But they meant very different things.

And the still and video images of the citizens of Ottawa paying their tribute to fallen soldier Nathan Cirillo (as well as the accounts of those who tried to save him in ‘You’re breathing — keep breathing’), as well as to democratic values, were moving.

 

Kenney defends job bank despite outdated postings

Yet another headache for the government in the context of Temporary Foreign Workers and the introduction of the “Express Entry” new immigration approach which will also use the Job Bank. To be fair, keeping such sites up-to-date is always a challenge:

The federal government will soon make enhancements to its online job bank amid revelations that hundreds of positions posted on the site have long since been filled, Employment Minister Jason Kenney said Monday.

“We are making improvements to the Canada Job Bank … we will be using new technological developments in the near future to ensure an even better matching of unemployed Canadians with available jobs,” Kenney said in the House of Commons.

The government will work with “private-sector web platforms” when provinces fail to send their own postings to the job bank, he added. Currently, most provinces and territories do so automatically.

The job bank is a critical component of Ottawa’s controversial temporary foreign worker program. Employers are required to post ads on the site seeking Canadian workers for four weeks before they’re able to apply to hire temporary foreign workers.

The government also relies in part on job bank data to determine what regions of the country are clamouring for labour.

But from customer service representatives in New Brunswick to food service supervisors in B.C. and RCMP clerks in Saskatchewan, many of the 110,000 jobs listed on the job bank are no longer available. A litany of postings are several months old; some have been on the site for more than a year.

Kenney defends job bank despite outdated postings.

In related Temporary Foreign Workers news, Minister Kenney’s refuses Quebec’s request for an exemption for the moratorium, and Minister Alexander makes one of his few public comments:

Kenney told the Commons the moratorium was imposed to protect Canadians who are looking for work.

The federal minister pointed out that 14 per cent of Quebec youth are unemployed as are 20 per cent of new arrivals to the province.

Ottawa announced the moratorium in late April after reports suggested the program was being abused by the food-service industry.

A spokesman for Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil said on the weekend the province has no problem with the program and that restaurants need temporary foreign workers to keep operating, especially in summer.

The moratorium has been widely criticized by industry groups, with Quebec’s restaurant association calling it “exaggerated and unreasonable.”

Earlier on Monday, federal Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said the moratorium was imposed for “very good reasons.”

“There was abuse and we are absolutely committed to completing the review and the reform we have underway,” he said at an unrelated event in Montreal.

“And I can assure you and her (Weil) and Canadians across the country that when this program is relaunched, it will not be subject to abuse.”

He said the hiring of foreign temporary workers should be a “last resort.”

“There are young people across Canada…who are looking for permanent jobs and summer jobs and our first obligation as employers is to look to the domestic market.”

Temporary foreign worker ban: Kenney tells Quebec to hire unemployed youth

Lastly, commentary by Matt Gurney on the irony of the Quebec request:

But restaurant workers? It’s harder to make that case. If Canadians aren’t taking those jobs, the jobs probably aren’t paying enough. I’m sympathetic to the restaurant owners — the restaurant business is highly competitive, with razor-thin margins — but this is how capitalism works. Long-term jobs won’t adjust their prices to appropriate market-driven levels if there’s a gigantic foreign-worker-fed short circuit built into the process. Foreign workers when necessary to sustain and grow the economy, sure, but not foreign workers handing out the dessert menus as the default option.

Quebec is in an odd position here, and an ironic one. Despite the recent election of the Liberal party, and the attendant crushing defeat of the oft-xenophobic Parti Quebecois, the province still has a warranted reputation of being one of the less welcoming places in Canada with which to move. Even Canadian citizens, of the generically white ethnic background, can run into trouble for what language they speak. There are recent signs that this sad trend may slowly be moderating, but there’s still a very long way to go.

And while Quebec sorts out its discomfort with outsiders, it’s also insisting that it wants to retain access to a vast pool of foreigners to work in an industry in which they probably ought not to be working in the first place. “Send us some foreigners so we can hire them for service-sector jobs!” isn’t really something anyone would have expected to hear coming out of the province that was recently in an uproar about what civil servants could wear on their head or around their necks without getting binned, but here we are.

Quebec government really wants more foreigners. OK, then