The government used its new power to revoke the citizenship of convicted terrorists for the first time on Friday against the imprisoned ringleader of the 2006 al-Qaida-inspired plot to detonate truck bombs in downtown Toronto.
Zakaria Amara was notified in a letter sent to the Quebec penitentiary where is he serving a life sentence that he is no longer a Canadian. He still holds citizenship in Jordan and could be deported there following his release from prison.
“He’s Toronto 18,” a source said, using the name by which Amara’s terrorist group was known. “They plotted terrorist attacks against downtown Toronto, they were convicted. They should not be citizens.” The decision was made by a senior official at Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Legislation that came into force in May, over the opposition of the NDP and Liberals, allows the government to revoke the citizenship of Canadians who have been convicted of terrorism offences — provided they hold citizenship in a second country.
The law also applies to dual citizens convicted of treason and spying for foreign governments, as well as members of armed groups at war against Canada. A little more than half-a-dozen Canadians have been notified so far that the government was considering revoking their citizenship.
The denial of passports is a stage toward the denial of citizenship. But the denial or witholding of passports is not a sufficient signal of the detestation a country and its people hold for those who so contemptuously forsake the gifts of loyalty and respect that a country rightfully commands from real citizens.