Who Belongs?

02.09.13

Should Canada Strip Terrorists of Dual Citizenship?

Canada is considering removing citizenship to dual nationals who commit acts of terrorism. In the National Post, Andrew Coyne (@acoyne) defends the idea:

Recent weeks have furnished at least one and possibly two examples of terrorist attacks — one in Bulgaria, the other in Algeria — by Canadian citizens, or perhaps more accurately by foreign citizens who also held Canadian passports. ...

If this is discrimination, it is of the most highly circumscribed kind. The only way in which dual citizens would ever run afoul of this law would be by committing crimes of such severity, and so expressly directed against the Canadian state, as to convey a profound contempt for the very thing of which they might thereby be dispossessed: their Canadian citizenship. ...

If citizenship does not entail loyalty, on the other hand — if it does not mean putting aside all other allegiances and casting your lot with this country and its citizens, but is more or less like taking out a magazine subscription, with “no obligation, no commitment of any kind” — then I suppose there is no problem. But if we are persuaded citizenship ought to mean something rather more than that, then perhaps this is an opportunity to have a much broader discussion.