POLITICS

Jason Kenney: Liberals Running 'Dishonest Fear Campaign' On C-24

10/14/2015 05:00 EDT

A top Conservative is accusing Liberals of running a "dishonest fear campaign" around a new law that allows the federal government revoke the citizenship of some dual citizens.

Jason Kenney made the charge Wednesday after a reporter tweeted a photo of a Liberal flyer that apparently courts new Canadians by bashing controversial Bill C-24, the so-called Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.

"Changes made by the Harper Conservatives will create two classes of citizenship and give a politician the right to revoke your citizenship without a trial," the flyer reads.

That's the same language used in a petition on a Liberal website.

C-24 only allows the government to strip the citizenship of dual citizens convicted of terrorism, treason, or espionage. The rules also apply to dual citizens who take up arms against Canada by joining an international terror group or foreign army.

Kenney took to Twitter to allege that Liberals have misled on the issue since the start of the campaign and to clear up the kinds of acts that would lead to the revocation of citizenship.

Kenney's tweets drew mockery from some who found it rich for the Tory to complain about dishonesty in light of Conservative ads targeting Chinese and Punjabi-speaking voters that allege Liberals want pot sold to kids and brothels established in neighbourhoods.

While a Liberal candidate told CBC News the ads were "disturbing," Kenney said much the same at a press conference in Richmond, B.C. in September.

"Unlike Justin Trudeau, we don't think marijuana should be sold in convenience stores. He also wants to force communities to establish illegal drug injection sites," Kenney said at the time. "And the Liberals also support the legalization of prostitution. He also wants to force communities to accept brothels.

"We don't think the values of most Canadians are to have 18 year olds buy marijuana at convenience stores and then reselling it to 16 year olds in a back parking lot."

At an event in Brantford, Ont. Wednesday, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper defended the ads.

"The other guys will claim it's fear when all we're trying to do is draw attention to facts," Harper said. "Facts that they're not actually willing to talk about. You know, they run a campaign on three or four slogans. I think it's time that Canadians actually, as we approach election day, look at the platforms."

Kenney: Campaign of "fears and lies" around C-24

In an interview with CBC Radio earlier this month, Kenney brushed aside the argument that C-24 creates a system of two-tier citizenship as little more than a "campaign of fears and lies" from the opposition that some media outlets were uncritically repeating.

But the BC Civil Liberties Association — one of several groups arguing in court that the law is unconstitutional — has also made precisely that argument.

"If you are willing through political violence to kill hundreds, in this case, of your fellow citizens, you are in our judgment, forfeiting your Canadian citizenship," Kenney said at the time. "You are demonstrating your violent hatred for this country, which is incompatible with retaining your citizenship."

Tory incumbent Brad Butt, running again in the hotly contested riding of Mississauga- Streetsville, also accused Liberals and New Democrats of telling dual citizens in his riding that the government is taking away their citizenship.

"We are not," Butt said in an interview with Tag TV uploaded to YouTube in August. "You're still going to be a citizen of the other country that you're a citizen of."

Butt said that "law-abiding" citizens have no reason to fear that their citizenship could be put in jeopardy. Since the law applies to dual citizens, he said, there is no concern anyone could be left stateless.

But Butt's interview made waves after he invoked NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair — who holds both French and Canadian citizenship — as someone who could, theoretically be deported under the law.

Conservative also used Trudeau's C-24 position as the basis for an attack ad.

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In Photos: Canada Election 2015