NCCM welcomes federal government’s repeal of Bill C-24

(Ottawa – February 26, 2016) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties and advocacy organization today welcomes changes to the Citizenship Act that reverses previous amendments that created two-tiered citizenship.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Minister John McCallum introduced Bill C-6, the Citizenship Act Amendments Act yesterday, which included the repealing of provisions that would revoke citizenship of dual citizens convicted of terrorism offences.

“The former government created two classes of citizens with Bill C-24,” says Ihsaan Gardee, NCCM’s Executive Director. “Under the previous law, it was conceivable that an innocent Canadian like journalist Mohamed Fahmy, unjustly convicted of terrorism in a foreign court, would have potentially lost his citizenship.

“The Liberals promised to repeal this bill during the federal election and the fact that they have kept their promise is good news,” adds Gardee. “However, it must be noted that this new bill does not address the elimination of the right to a full hearing on the merits for those who do face revocation for other reasons.”

The new bill will make it easier for eligible applicants to apply for citizenship. The government says it is also reviewing the Discover Canada guidebooks for new Canadians which were revised under the previous government.

“As they now stand they’re a little heavy on the War of 1812 and barbaric cultural practices,” Minister McCallum said. “We will be proposing some changes to these books that will guide those who will be applying to become citizens of our country.”

“The change of tone and rhetoric is refreshing,” says lawyer and NCCM board member Abbas Kassam. “We look forward to working with the federal government on other legislative priorities, including repealing or seriously amending Bill C-51, the deeply flawed national security legislation passed last year.

“We also continue to press the government to bring home Canadians unjustly imprisoned overseas, including Huseyin Celil in China, and Bashir Makhtal in Ethiopia,” says Kassam.

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit grassroots advocacy organization. It is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.