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Prime Minister Stephen Harper shakes hands with soldiers as he visits a forward operating base in Afghanistan's Panjwai district on May 30, 2011. (Sean Kilpatrick/Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper shakes hands with soldiers as he visits a forward operating base in Afghanistan's Panjwai district on May 30, 2011. (Sean Kilpatrick/Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Tory convention to consider 'high treason' punishment proposal Add to ...

Stephen Harper's governing Conservative Party will debate whether Canadians should be stripped of their citizenship should they take up arms against this country or its allies.

It's one of a multitude of proposed changes to the Conservative Party's official policies up for debate when Tories from across Canada converge in Ottawa for a June 9-11 convention.

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Topics range from a flat-rate income tax to euthanasia to reforming the immigration system, including a focus on attracting younger immigrants.

The "High Treason" proposal, if adopted, would make it party policy to support automatically voiding the citizenship of Canadians caught fighting soldiers of this country or allied nations.

It would also back trying such a Canadian for "high treason" under the Criminal Code, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

In theory, such a policy - had it been enacted in law years ago - might have resulted in Canadian Omar Khadr losing his citizenship after he was caught fighting U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

Mr. Harper is not bound to support any policy decisions at conventions but the debates offer a glimpse into the mindset and priorities of his party's most committed supporters.

As is to be expected from a party that's been in power for more than five years, a slew of resolutions call for measures the Tories have already committed to enacting. These include scrapping the $2 per-vote political subsidies that currently cost taxpayers $27-million or a tax credit for volunteer firefighters.

Others are motherhood political imperatives that any party would be happy to tackle, such as a resolution calling for "an aggressive regulatory reform process designed to eliminate red tape."

Two resolutions suggest a refinement of Canada's foreign takeover policy, a subject where the Conservative government has been remarkably vague after blocking two high-profile bids for Canadian operations by outsiders.

Existing party policy calls for relaxing of foreign ownership rules - in concert with Canada's major trading partners - in the telecommunications, broadcasting and airline industry.

The pair of resolutions call for a party policy that would make explicit Ottawa's prerogative to be especially careful about takeovers of companies that mine or extract natural resources.

"In the case of companies involved with natural resources, foreign ownership should only be permitted provided it is in the best interest of the majority of Canadians and allows for ongoing Canadian control and development in compliance with our international trade agreements," one resolution proposes.

Some Tories are proposing socially conservative measures on euthanasia and prostitution.

One resolution calls for party policy to make explicit that the Tories "will not support any legislation to legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide in Canada."

And some party members are calling for a severe crackdown on prostitution, proposing policy that would "reject the normalization of prostitution and declare that human beings are not objects to be enslaved, bought and sold" and develop measures that "address and prevent the legalization of keeping a common bawdy house, living off the avails of prostitution, and communication for the purpose of prostitution."

Another resolution calls for a bigger military role in Canada's North.

It would change party policy to support the establishment and maintenance of "a strong physical, regulatory and military presence in the Arctic."

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