THE TALKING POINT
A round-up of the best letters and comments from digital readers on a key topic. This week: Immigration Minister Jason Kenney thinks Canadians with dual nationality who commit acts of terror should be stripped of Canadian citizenship. The concept of two-tier justice has Globe readers sharply divided.
Your editorial uses the slippery-slope argument to oppose stripping convicted dual-citizenship terrorists of their Canadian citizenship. Slippery slopes are to be approached with great caution, but sometimes it is necessary to go down them. One just has to be very vigilant that, with each step, things are not allowed to get out of control.
Peter S. Badenoch, Windsor, Ont., letter
Instead of stripping citizenship, how about the Immigration Department being effective and efficient in screening who gets in and who is rejected?
Lela Gary, digital reader
Say a Canadian possessing dual citizenship commits an act against civilians. Removing their Canadian connection is a cowardly way of absolving ourselves of any blame or criticism. Regardless of the situation, we awarded that person citizenship. It doesn’t matter if they planned some evil act before or after that event, they are one of us now, they are our problem. To erase their Canadian-hood is hypocritical of a country created and sustained by immigration.
We celebrate all the great people who cross our borders and contribute positively to our society, but we must be able to shoulder the responsibility of those few whom our society fails and learn how to improve ourselves as a result.
That is what it means to be a Canadian.
Andrew Barkman, Toronto, letter
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has repeatedly used the term Canadian “dual-national” in reference to the suspect in the bombing of a bus in Bulgaria and the more recent terrorist attack in Algeria. He appears to wish the term to be taken in a pejorative sense.
Putting aside the issue of terrorism, was it not his own government that recognized that the Québécois form a distinct “nation” within a Canada?
So, are there not about six million Canadian “dual-nationals” in Canada, right now? What problem does Mr. Baird have with that?
K.G. Aldridge, Vancouver, letter
It’s more offensive to me to think that the lives of honest/genuine Canadians are threatened than to take away something from one who partakes in blatant criminal activities.
Joseph D. Ahmad, digital reader
First one must define “terrorist.” And that varies depending on who and where.
Don Colby, digital reader
Jason Kenney says Canadians involved in terrorism should have their citizenship revoked. Does that apply to CSIS, RCMP, and federal government officials who have been complicit in state terrorism, including Canada’s support for the CIA’s rendition-to-torture program?
John Gilmore, Victoria, letter
True, changes to the Citizenship Act should not create distinctions between Canadian-born and naturalized citizens. However, naturalization should be linked to residency in Canada. It is obvious that some individuals or families come to Canada and stay just long enough to acquire citizenship, while having no intention of living here permanently. Naturalization should be contingent on making one’s permanent home here and should be revoked if the new Canadian national chooses to reside abroad beyond a certain length of time.
Rabbi Erwin Schild, Toronto, letter
If we’re happy as a society to enact knee-jerk, draconian measures, then what exactly are the values we claim to be defending? Seems to me the real – as yet unexplored – question is: Why are there Canadians becoming terrorists, and how can we change that? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Darryl Pieber, digital reader
If someone commits a crime, they should be punished accordingly, according to our laws. Citizenship is not something that can be turned off when you don’t like what someone has done.
Paul Toronto, digital reader
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s pronouncement sounds great in theory. But I wonder if he would want his logic applied to Canadian citizens who travel to Syria in order to join Islamist militant groups currently fighting the secular Baathist regime.
Would such a person be a deemed a “terrorist” and have his citizenship revoked? Or is it different when the car-bombings and suicide attacks are being directed at a regime deemed hostile to Western interests?
Jan Burton, Toronto, letter
Canada’s development, growth and prestige have been based on loyal newcomers who were invited to work and build a better nation. Those who use such goodwill to specifically perpetrate acts of violence against anyone, inside or outside Canadian borders, should be considered criminals and citizenship-deniers.
Stripping citizenship will send a clear message: Don’t take advantage of our generosity.
Damarkra, digital reader
Wouldn’t it be easier just to hand them over to the country they committed the offence in, and let that country deal with them as they see fit?
R j Green, digital reader
Citizenship of convenience. We need to take a very tough stance on this but unfortunately the horse has already left the barn.
We should not be so quick to give every Tom, Dick and Harry from abroad Canadian citizenship. We see this abuse much too often so it’s time to really toughen up immigration policies.
AK1820, digital reader
Obtaining citizenship based on false information is one thing, but this proposal means creating two classes of citizenship, one for native-born Canadians and another for immigrants, and I disagree with that entirely.
FDionne, digital reader
Imagine my shock to find that, unlike my younger sister, who had the good sense to be born here, I am a lesser Canadian than she is. That such odious comments should emanate from this minister is no surprise.
Secure in its majority, this Conservative government has shown its true colours as demagogues, pitting Canadian against Canadian.
Chander Chaddah, Toronto, letter
WHAT READERS THINK
In her life and death
It was with great respect and admiration that I read the amazing letter from Ruth Goodman (Her Last Choice, Feb. 8). I had the great privilege of meeting her; she was an inspiration in life and continues to be in choosing death with dignity. She lived her life with gusto and conviction until her very last day. I hope that I, too, will have the chance to do this for myself, and others when the time is right.
As Ruth wrote, we can choose a time for our animals to die and surround them with love, so “surely, the least we can do is allow people the same right to choose how and when to end their lives.” I only wish that Ruth could have been surrounded by the people she loved and those who loved her, to assist her in her next journey.<QL>
Melissa Levin, Toronto
Globe’s logic challenged
Let’s see (A Bar To Admission – editorial, Feb. 8): Trinity Western University is entitled to its religious freedom, which includes its opposition to homosexuality. It’s privately funded, no one is forced to go there. But TWR cannot open a law school because “equality before the law is at the heart of Canadian law, and a law school that won’t accept that idea has no legitimacy.” So even though the Constitution endorses freedom of expression and opinion, “subject to reasonable limits” (whatever that is), and in its preamble acknowledges the “supremacy of God” you say that if TWU opened a law school the school would be “fundamentally at odds with Canadian law [and] cannot stand.” Dickens was right. “The law is an ass.”
John Clubine, Toronto
A new chattering class
In reviewing the map of Calgary in your article on the winter blahs (Capturing The Mood Of A Nation – Feb. 8), I noticed that one of the largest areas shown as “positively perky” is the Nose Hill Natural Environment Park. I can accept that the animals which live there have good debt-to-income ratios, but I am not sure how the interviewer was able to get them to answer survey questions.
Philip E. Carr, Calgary
A look at the hot reads at globeandmail.com this week
1. The penny: Saying goodbye is tough, so Canadians plan creative ways to keep humble coin alive
2. Price gap: Consumers feel gouged by higher prices here than in U.S.; Ottawa urged to take action
3. Strange laws: Parisian women can now legally wear pants. No, that’s not a typo
4. TED talks: Vancouver named new host city, becoming a hub for the international elite of thought leaders
5. Food: The double down wasn’t enough. KFC’s latest creation, the Kentucky Chicken Rice, takes gluttony to another level
Digital commentary on the news
On the Ontario Bar Association's attempt to change perception of lawyers:
"My lawyer has advised me not to comment."
On U.S.-Canada price disparities:
"The fact that I buy hockey gear made in Canada from a company in Florida and it is cheaper (even with shipping and duty) than going to the local sports store bothers me."
On the Alabama teacher who criticized the First Lady's rear-end to his students:
"Michelle Obama has more class in her little finger than all of these wing-nuts put together. And she looks good, too."