(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
Does the law apply equally to Liberal cabinet ministers? The Trudeau government has won a court challenge and will continue the practice of citizenship revocation in cases of fraud.
Meanwhile, the government continues to evade questions about how this will impact the controversy surrounding Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef.
On Monday, the Federal Court of Canada ruled against a group of lawyers who wanted to place a moratorium on citizenship revocations. This decision could have a significant implication on Monsef and her citizenship controversy.
In late September, two civil rights groups initiated a lawsuit against the Trudeau government over the practice of stripping citizenship without a formal court hearing.
The BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) had asked the court to stop all revocation proceedings while the Senate is considering making changes to Canada’s citizenship revocation rules.
On Monday, they were told that the court had denied their application.
“The Federal Court’s decision means that people will continue to lose their citizenship without a right to a fair hearing before an independent decision-maker,” said Lorne Waldman, the lawyer who represented CARL in this case.
During the last election campaign, Justin Trudeau famously said that “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.” On the same evening, however, Trudeau defended the practice of stripping citizenship in some cases.
“Revocation of citizenship can and should happen in situations of becoming a Canadian citizen on false pretences. Indeed, when people have lied on their applications, those applications get rescinded. Even years later,” said Trudeau on September 28, 2015.
The federal court decision gives support to this practice and to Trudeau’s position.
Last month, after Monsef’s citizenship scandal broke, Immigration Minister John McCallum told a Senate committee that he would consider a complete moratorium on citizenship revocations. He later changed his mind and, under his watch, the government continues the practice of citizenship revocation without a trial.
According to a report from the CBC, the Trudeau government has increased the practice of citizenship revocation compared to the previous Harper administration. Between November 2015 and August 2016, McCallum’s office made 184 decisions on citizenship revocation.
According to the report, about 90% resulted in a person being stripped of their Canadian citizenship without a trial.
The federal court decision, combined with…(READ MORE)