A Tale of Two Citizenships: Citizenship Revocation for 'Traitors and Terrorists'

19 Pages Posted: 10 May 2014

See all articles by Craig Forcese

Craig Forcese

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: August 30, 2013


Amending Canada’s citizenship laws to provide for denaturalization of “traitors and terrorists”, as proposed by the current federal government, is an idea consumed with legal flaws. To comply with international law on the prohibition of citizenship deprivation that would result in statelessness, any such amendments would have to apply only to individuals with dual citizenship. However, targeting those individuals would be very hard to defend against equality-based challenges under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In addition, denaturalization of “traitors and terrorists” might well be perceived as a punitive measure, whose impact and stigma would call for constitutional procedural protections far stronger than those set out in the current Citizenship Act and the proposed revisions to it. Such denaturalization also seems unlikely to advance any clear Canadian national security interest, and would accomplish less than can be done through other laws, including the Criminal Code.

Keywords: citizenship, Canada, revocation, terrorism, terrorist, treason, denaturalization

JEL Classification: K33, K19

Suggested Citation

Forcese, Craig, A Tale of Two Citizenships: Citizenship Revocation for 'Traitors and Terrorists' (August 30, 2013). Queen's Law Journal, Vol. 39, No. 2, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2434594 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2434594

Craig Forcese (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5

HOME PAGE: http://www.cforcese.ca

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