1,800 Canadians To Lose Their Citizenship In Fraud Crackdown

Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, made it an election promise: to get tough on illegal immigration. And today, he seems to have delivered. But at what cost?

Kenney’s office today announced that over 1,800 people will have their Canadian citizenship revoked after a three-year Citizenship and Immigration Canada/RCMP investigation found that many people obtained citizenship “fraudulently.” The majority of those who will lose citizenship, Kenney claims, obtained it under false pretenses, including paying “immigration consultants” who submitted false applications for people who did not meet the criteria to gain citizenship.  Those who were found to be fraudulent in the investigation will be notified via letter, then will have 30 days to appeal the decision to Citizenship and Immigration, a move Kenney feels those identified will be unlikely to make.

This move has some very disturbing undertones. By Kenney’s own admission, only 63 people have been stripped of their Canadian citizenship since 1977. By taking this largely unprecedented move of stripping citizenship from hundreds of people, Kenny is drawing a firm ideological line in the immigration sand that no government has taken before.

When something as important as citizenship is at stake — and when his own government may have granted citizenship to many of these individuals — Kenney’s public PR machine against specific individuals seems highly theatrical. Certainly, citizenship on false pretenses should be condemned.  Yet Kenney’s apparent belief that his investigation is infallible and that most of those who stand to lose their highly valuable Canadian passport simply won’t bother to appeal because the government’s case is so strong is disturbing.  Citizenship rules around the world can be complicated, and revoking citizenship could possibly even leave some individuals nationless.  Even more disturbing is the fact that in the face of what Kenney calls “strong, convincing” evidence of fraud, these people were granted citizenship in the first place. Is Citizenship and Immigration not answerable to the same laws of accountability that the individuals are?

Many Canadians are greeting this move as a welcome one — especially those who view immigrants, particularly illegal ones, in a negative light. The Toronto Sun in particular is branding everyone who is alleged to have received a Canadian passport under fraudulent circumstances as a laughing charlatan, sieving off public services for nothing while the rest of hardworking Canada pays for it. The truth may be something very different – but as Kenney has turned on his negative PR machine to label these people as fraudsters who will be too cowardly to face the music, we may never know what the truth is.


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Photo credit: Kalleboo on Flickr


Lorraine B.

Thank you Tom Y for your reasonable comments and stance regarding this situation complicated issue. I am uncertain what makes certain elements of our society feel so strongly that Canada should accept any and all who wish to come here, regardless of their accomplishments or past history. Nor am I quite sure just what article some people were reading, which seemed to give them the impression that Mr Kenney was going after legitimate refugees now present IN the country, as opposed to (my understanding) going after those "Canadians of convenience" living in their "native" countries, yet entitled to any and all the perks of being Canadian regardless of their contributions.

I am so very sorry to hear of all your difficulties Marion V - it seems rather incredible to think that anyone could be in your situation considering the appalling laxity of both present and past immigration laws - surely your claim to citizenship is at least as strong as an HIV infected Tamil tiger??!!? I really hope that someone in government does something to fix your citizenship woes -

Marion Vermeersch

Tom, there are many of us working through the Lost Canadian movement in an effort to try to get our citizenships back. Many of us have been to Ottawa to testify at the Standing Committee on Citizenship & Immigration which has been studying this problem for years. I was subpoenaed to appear there in March, 2007. It was due to the lobbying and hard work of the leaders of the Lost Canadians that the government did put through amendments to the Citizenship Act in 2009 and got citizenship back for thousands. However, some groups were still excluded and we are still working on pushing for inclusion (i.e. the 2009 amendments were limited to those born after January 1, 1947, the date of the first Canadian Citizenship Act). Therefore, children of War Brides like myself are out as we were already in Canada by 1947.

Tom Y.
Tom Y6 years ago

Marion V., have you sought to get your citizenship back? From the sounds of it, I'd say you have a fighting chance.

The fact is, Kenney's addressing an issue that's rankled Canadians for many years: extra-nationals using Canadian passports as a convenience, not a conviction of national loyalty (an issue which gained prominence during the 'Canadian' exodus from the 2006 Lebanon clash -- said 'Canadians' being primarily Lebanese after all)... Canada's long-suffering reputation for being soft on human smuggling, thus attracting snakeheads... the pathetic Vancouver arrival of the Ocean Lady, offloading 76 illegally-arriving Tamils into Canada's refugee intake. Then there are the undocumented war criminals...

Kenney wants to remove the war criminals and revoke the citizenships of "Canadians by convenience" who don't reside here. At the same time he wants to make it easier for Americans convicted on minor charges to cross into Canada. He appears to be seeking some balance, and this is not unreasonable. The tone of Shannon M.'s article missed that part.

Marion Vermeersch

Something is really wrong here. So there are only 63 people who have lost citizenship since confederation? What about the thousands of Lost Canadians who, for 10 ridiculous reasons (i.e. being born on a Canadian Forces Bases overseas to name one), had theirs stripped in the last 10 years. This government was only too happy to announce and take the credit for Amendments to the Citizenship Act in April 2009, under which thousands had theirs restored, retroactively. However, there are still many of us out here still without citizenship. I had mine stripped in 2003, as a child of a WWII Canadian soldier (Sgt in the Artillery and a DDAY Vet) and a British War Bride mother. Although the first Canadian Citizenship Act came into effect in January, 1947 and we had already arrived on a War Bride ship in Halifax in May, 1946, CIC decided we should never have been given citizenship. The Amendments of 2009 only applied to those born after 1947. As WWII ended in 1945, that left lots of us out in the cold. My brother, a Canadian Navy Vet, had his taken also. There are many more like us, still working away on this as part of the Lost Canadians. For Jason Kenney to claim there have only ever been 63 is, I feel, just indicative of his coldly dismissive attitude towards us. By the way, I have lived in Canada all my life although born in England, have never travelled out of the country except for brief trips across the border & now can't even shop in Buffalo! Mo

Roberta K.
Roberta K.6 years ago

In my opinion, these people should be given amnesty, unless it can be proven that they are currently engaged in illegal endeavours. I say that because in many countries, paying off people is the norm, rather than the exception and they probably were unaware that they were doing anything illegal.
The corrupt government officials should be punished, not the illegal aliens.
The fascist government in Canada is trying to play both sides. They received their majority through the immigrant vote and now they want to punish those who voted for them.
Soon, they will do away with voting to remain in power and keep all citizens under their thrall.

Shirley M.
Shirley Mcgleish6 years ago

I don't even know what to think about the illegals in Canada but I know that if someone believes that the USA is going to banish all illegals I think they are dreaming. The numbers are huge and illegals are in every state. The problem isn't so much they are illegal as some of the illegals are criminals. They add to the problem with the drugs and crime. Some also make no effort to learn the laws, the language or the customs. They seem to expect the people that are citizens of the US to change. And we are. We adjust to the fact that there are places that we go the in the US that we cannot find English speaking people. Even with legals we have this. Our Christian religion is now an affront to certain people so we have to change things because of it. People demand they are allowed scarfs over their heads in pictures used for identification or when they vote and if they don't get what they want they sue. This is not the USA I started out in. The one that had prayer in school and we pledged the flag daily. We are losing much of what made us strong and united. It scares me.

Parvez Z.
Parvez Zuberi6 years ago

Why not get hold of the real culprit the immigration consultant who cheated these people to completely element the root cause

Joan Hanlon
Joan H6 years ago

Good for Canada!!! Now if we can do this in US, that would be a miracle.

Ted H.
Edwin Hopkins6 years ago

This is scary. If these 1800 people did gain citizenship fraudulently then, right, that citizenship should get stripped away. But all we have is Jason Kenney's word, out of the blue. Surely such fraud must constitute committed criminal acts and it is up to the Crown to show its case. Where is due process? Where is innocent until proved guilty? These people face guilty until proved innocent through their own self initiated appeal. We simply cannot treat fellow Canadians this way.

Patrick F.
Patrick f6 years ago

I think they need to triple check the applications and determine the severity of the false info. Can't argue with the law.