Revocation of Citizenship for Convicted Terrorist

Today, “Toronto 18” terror cell ringleader Zakaria Amara was stripped of his Canadian citizenship, thanks to a law passed by the Conservative government.

The new legislation, which came into effect in May, allows the government to revoke the citizenship of Canadians convicted of terrorism, espionage, high treason and treason, as well as taking up arms against the Canadian Forces. Citizenship may only be revoked if the person holds dual citizenship and would not be rendered stateless which ensures Canada continues to meet its obligations under the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

Anyone who commits a terrorist act in Canada or abroad, especially if they seek to murder hundreds of their fellow citizens like Mr. Amara did, should face the revocation of their citizenship when convicted. Citizenship requires loyalty to one's country.

Amara plotted brutal terror attacks in downtown Toronto in 2006. According to a story published in the National Post today, Amara received a letter “sent to the Quebec penitentiary where is he serving a life sentence” saying that his citizenship has been revoked.  Amara still has citizenship in Jordan, where he was born and could be deported following his release from prison.

Conservative Candidate for Calgary Midnapore Jason Kenney said “If you (take) up arms against your country or plan to do so, and you’re convicted in a Canadian court, or an equivalent foreign court, through your violent disloyalty you are forfeiting your own citizenship.” The law can also be applied to “dual citizens convicted of treason and spying for foreign governments, as well as members of armed groups at war against Canada.” So far, approximately half-a-dozen Canadians have been notified that the government was considering revoking their citizenship. Kenney noted that the law was “likely only applicable to fewer than 30 people in the last decade…30 people out of a population of 36 million. This is for the worst of the worst.”