Lankan expats risk deportation-Canadian citizenship laws toughened to confront ‘ever evolving threat of terrorism
Posted on June 12th, 2015

By Rukshana Rizwie Courtesy The Nation

Over 140 000 Sri Lankan citizens in Canada could face the risk of losing their Canadian citizenship or return to Sri Lanka after a new immigration law enacted by the Canadian Government dictates that these ‘second class’ citizens may have their citizenship status stripped at any point.

The new immigration bill which was enacted last week states that new Canadian citizens have lesser rights than those born Canadian.

Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran told The Nation that the law ‘undoubtedly puts a lot of Sri Lankans irrespective of their ethnicity at risk of losing their citizenship.”

While we acknowledge and respect their government’s laws, if they are allowed to nullify citizenship status at their whims and fancy, it could cause a conundrum and possibly a category of second-class citizens,” he said. This new law will also deter a lot of Sri Lankans, specially Tamils from seeking to obtain a Canadian citizenship status, a move which could work in their government’s favor.”

Under this law, the only Canadians who can never lose their citizenship are thos born in Canada who do not have another nationality (and are not eligible to apply for another nationality). No matter what crimes they may be accused of, these ‘first-class’ citizens can never have their citizenship taken away. On the other hand, Canadians with another nationality (and those who are eligible to obtain another nationality) now have second-class status, even if they were born in Canada: under Bill C-24, their citizenship can be stripped.

There was stiff opposition to the rule in Canada because many claimed that since this cannot happen to those born in Canada, the new law would be discriminatory. The government of Canada has justified the new law saying that was meant to protect Canadians.

Our Government knows that there is no higher purpose for any government than to ensure the safety and security of its citizens…that is why we are taking steps to confront the ever evolving threat of jihadi terrorism by revoking citizenship of dual nationals who have been convicted of heinous crimes such as terrorism, espionage for foreign governments or taking up arms against Canada and our brave men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces.” Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister was quoted as saying.

Legal experts warn that the list of offences that could lead to the removal of citizenship might be expanded in the future. Additionally, Bill C-24 punishes criminal activity with exile – a practice abandoned hundreds of years ago that has no place in today’s democracy
The Ministry of External Affairs is not at liberty to comment on the matter since it is their right to legislate,” Mahishini Colonne, the spokesperson for the Ministry of external Affairs said. Sri Lankans who are also citizens of other countries are welcome to come back, but that decision is solely at their discretion, we cannot force them and neither can they be forced to return.” Colonne also briefly spoke of the Dual citizenship program saying that Sri Lankan expatriates should have the opportunity to return to the country and take part in the country’s developments.”

According to the Organization for Economic Corporation and Development, in 2006, one in three members of the Sri Lankan Diaspora living in the OECD is an educated professional. According to the statics available Sri Lankan citizens of Tamil origin number 143,000 in 2011 alone. Figures for the total Sri Lankan expatriate community are unavailable online.
The Nation also tried to contact the Canadian High Commission in Colombo for further details. However all attempts to reach them via phone proved futile.

11 Responses to “Lankan expats risk deportation-Canadian citizenship laws toughened to confront ‘ever evolving threat of terrorism”

  1. Nimal Fernando Says:

    “Our Government knows that there is no higher purpose for any government than to ensure the
    safety and security of its citizens… — Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister

    Well said, Chris ol’ chap.

    That’s also the sole reason why every government of Sri Lanka is determined to safeguard the
    territorial integrity of the nation …. To ensure the safety and security of its citizens …. ALL its citizens —
    no matter to which community they belong, where in the island they live, where they go to worship et al.

    Good luck, Chris, and long may you serve your People.

  2. Ratanapala Says:

    Send all LTTE terrorists and their progeny to Australia by boat. Australia will send them to Papua New Guinea where they can become first class citizens for they are not far different from the head hunters that once lived there.

  3. Sarath W Says:

    Sri Lanka should never welcome these terrorist scum to our country. The Canadians accepted them to punish Sri Lanka and for their votes and it is their problem now.

  4. L Perera Says:

    All Sri Lankan citizen (regardless of ethnicity) who sought REFUGE in Canada claiming torture, rape, killing etc. must never be allowed to return to Sri Lanka.

  5. ranjit Says:

    These Tamil Liars and traitors should not be allowed to come back at any cost. They portrayed our Motherland as a killing field and tried to show the world that it was a horrible place to live so why should we allow these kind of leeches to come back? NO WAY!!!!

    Canada is not a friend but an enemy of ours. They were part of evil community of nations who were against the Sri Lankan Govt after the fall of Prabakaran the Barbarian. They can go to Tamil Nadu and stay with their kith and kin and their Mother Jayalalitha will take care of them well.

  6. Ratanapala Says:

    To understand Canada’s position vis a vis Sri Lanka one must look at the Catholic Connection. This will show how much Sri Lanka’s external relationships are fashioned by the involvements of the Catholic Church and Catholics who run our country. Today Sri Lanka is similar to Vietnam under Dinh Diem’s.

    It is so sad that Sinhalese Buddhists do not realise this danger to our Motherland.

  7. douglas Says:

    There are various shades of opinions expressed on this subject of “Citizenship” granted to expats living in a country other than his/her “mother country”; meaning the land of one’s birth. I have always held the opinion that such a citizenship “granted” to an “alien” is a “PRIVILEGE”; but NOT a “RIGHT”. In this context, I also hold the opinion that if a person is born in a country he/she holds an “INALIENABLE RIGHT” to hold that BIRTH RIGHT of being a citizen of the country the person was born.

    As expressed above, the citizenship granted to an alien, is in fact a “privilege”, then that country must have a right to withdraw it on various conditions governing such a “privilege”. As a matter of fact, any country must have that right to withdraw any “privilege” sans a “right”. The laying down of conditions governing such a grant of ‘privilege” and its “withdrawal” is entirely in the hands of the host country and I do not think that “right” must be questionable. That country can be any in the world including Sri Lanka.

    Now the question is: If a citizenship granted to an “alien” (remains a “privilege” and not a “right”) is withdrawn for whatever the reasons stipulated; can the country of that person’s “mother country” ( place of birth) refuse to admit him/her back? In such an instance of “withdrawal”, where will that person be sent and can the country of his birth refuse to accept such a “deportee” ? Isn’t it a “Human Right” to get back to his/her country of birth? How would the UN view this scenario?

    Please note, I am NOT advocating here “FOR” or “AGAINST” any ethnic or religious groups. My opinion expressed above is purely an academic exercise and hope to get further enlightened on the subject matter. Thank you.

  8. L Perera Says:

    Douglas. By the same token do you not think that those who sought ‘alien citizenship’ claiming they were raped, tortured
    and possible victims of genocide etc , burnt their boats when they left. SL?

  9. douglas Says:

    Dear L Perera: I agree that there were so many who sought “refugee” status and finally got their “alien citizenship” in various countries on the reasons given by you. But, that matter is a different subject from the opinion I have expressed as regards the legality of this “alien citizenship” and how that affect the people all over the world.

    Anyway thank you for your input.

  10. NAK Says:

    Those Tamils in Canada has done enough harm to our motherland. they should never be allowed back and if Canada does’nt want them there is US,UK,Australia,Europe and may more countries including papua new gunea they can move to. If none of them want to take them they can jump in the sea together!

  11. Fran Diaz Says:

    Sri Lanka has been used during the last 50 yrs or so as a sort of a ‘trampoline’ to jump to the west. Tamil folk especially
    have used various ruses to get to Canada mainly as the Canadian laws were very lax to accommodate migrants escaping the two world wars that started in Europe. I suspect that in Sri Lanka, the 1983 riots were engineered for that very purpose of creating ‘refugees’.

    Now that the laws are changing in Canada re such migrants, Tamil folk might be allowed into India (Tamil Nadu) as Mr Modi stated that People of Indian Origin can come back to India.

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