The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) Chris Alexander has made it public knowledge that those who travel to places such as Iraq and Syria to fight with the Islamic state and other militant groups will have their Canadian passport revoked.
Further, dual nationals who commit acts of terrorism could have not only their passport but also their entire citizenship rescinded. Alexander represented the Canadian federal government when he explained that the Islamic State is a global threat against which Canada is taking serious and strong legal safeguards.
This warning issued by the CIC arises out of concern over the growth of the Islamic State by the addition of those with permanent residency elsewhere. Extremist groups abroad are believed to have more than 130 fighting Canadians, with several dozen located in Iraq and Syria. Recently, startling video footage of an alleged jihadist with an apparent North American accent has been released. If authenticated, “this will be the first time that a North American ISIS fighter has committed a war crime on-camera,” said analyst Paul Cruickshank in a recent interview with CTV news.
Alexander is also concerned with the association of Canada and terrorism. He claims revoking passports on the grounds of joining extremists will “ensure that the good name of Canada, which is associated with this passport, is not associated with the menace of terrorism.”
The power to revoke travel documents was recently endowed to the federal government in Bill C024, which was passed on June 16th, 2014. Bill C-24, among other things, amends the Citizenship Act to strengthen security and fraud provisions. The amendments to the security and fraud provisions include establishing a hybrid model for revoking citizenship on grounds of violating human or international rights or on grounds of organized criminality. Included is also the ability to revoke citizenship of dual citizens who engage in actions contrary to the national interest of Canada.
There is some doubt about the sources of information the government is using, which has been discussed by citizenship and immigration lawyer Joel Sandaluk. Although the government is entirely within it’s rights to revoke travel documents, it is unclear about where and how the government is getting the information that is leading to decisions. As Sandaluk put it, “the government is asking us to place an extraordinary amount of faith in their ability to operate.”
FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration, follow FWCanada on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.