Direct punishment

How far does one go to protect their country?

A poll recently commissioned by Conservative MP Devinder Shory, found that eight of 10 people agree that those guilty of treason should lose their Canadian citizenship.

The poll was taken to gauge Canadians’ perspectives on the private member bill Shory put forth in May arguing for an amendment to the Citizenship Act.

Shory has emphasized that this bill is specifically designed to punish those who commit acts of terror or war against their fellow Canadian citizens. It only targets those that have joint citizenship with Canada.

The very premise is at risk of being xenophobic, targeting people whose citizenship is from a country that may be suspected of harbouring terrorist activity.

This raises many questions about the intentions of the Bill. It clearly targets Canadian immigrants — especially ones who could be profiled for committing acts of terrorism. The fact that dual citizenship is a necessity implies that local-born Canadians would be less likely to commit such acts, thus strengthening the xenophobic undertones of the bill.

Revoking the citizenship of someone who has committed a crime makes the point that citizenship is a privilege — a point that isn’t necessarily a bad one to make.

There are other ways to deal with those who commit treason, such as life in jail, exorbitant fines and general societal exile.

The way the concluding statistic was reached is also problematic — the poll was done over the phone and included only 1,000 people.

Little information was given as to what part of Canada these 1,000 citizens were from, how the questions were asked and what demographic they represented.

Currently, the Bill hasn’t even made it to second reading and it’s rare for private members’ bills to make it through.

Canada doesn’t need a xenophobic law like this when there are already punitive measures in place to deal with perpetrators of treason.

Let’s hope the discussion ends here.

— Journal Editorial Board

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