Nothing in recent history had redefined what it means to be Canadian more than Bill C-24. This bill, made into law, allows the government to take away the citizenship of undesirables. Although currently limited to acts of terrorism, the government has expressed an interest in using this law against other acts.
The Liberals, NDP, and Green Party all oppose C-24. However, in doing so, they've been portrayed by the Conservatives as being soft on terrorism and sympathetic to terrorists. However, the most glaring criticism of C-24 is that it, in fact, makes Canada less safe. Here are five reasons why:
1) It will create jihadist celebrities
Convicted terrorists forced to stay in Canada will be hard-pressed to even be able to sign up for a Facebook profile. However, if sent abroad, there is nothing stopping them from becoming the equivalent of a rock star for the jihadist cause.
How safe will we be when a convicted terrorist, stripped of his citizenship and sent abroad, starts making videos from a cave somewhere calling for others to join him in some Jihadist quest against the country that convicted him?
2) It will weaken our counter-terrorism operations
Convicted terrorists have first-hand knowledge of our counter-terrorism procedures. They know who are informants are, they know how we gathered evidence against them, and they know how law enforcement disrupts unfolding terrorist plots.
How safe will we be when a convicted terrorist, stripped of his citizenship and sent abroad, uses his intimate knowledge of our counter-terrorism procedures to provide hands-on training so that future Jihadists don't repeat his mistakes?
3) We'll need to kill them
C-24 means that Canada becomes a nation that exports our worst and makes it another country's problem. The only way this doesn't come back to bite us in the ass is, after sending a convicted terrorist overseas, we kill them. Seriously.
In the war on terror, Jihadists are killed all the time. What C-24 does is enable us to avoid the legal mess that America faces when it strikes against overseas terrorists who happen to also be U.S. citizens. But is this a line Canada should cross?
4) C-24 will be perceived as racist
Until this law strips Paul Bernardo of his citizenship, C-24 will always be perceived as racist. This is because, as a law, C-24 isn't designed to get rid of all of our nation's murderous monsters. It will, at best, only get rid of the non-white ones.
This is because many white Canadians are able to trace their immigrant heritage back to the pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock. However, for most non-white immigrants, their story begins by landing at Pearson Airport. With C-24, this distinction suddenly matters.
For (the mostly non-white) first generation immigrants even being born here and having no other citizenship is not enough to preserve your citizenship. C-24 means that who your parents are and where they came from -- before you were born -- matters. With C-24, not all Canadians born in Canada are created equal.
5) We lose our moral voice in the world
When it comes to the war on terror, we're the good guys. We're good not because of racial or religious differences but because of respect for human life, human rights and human laws. Ironically, no one knows this better than the terrorists we convict.
Many of these convicted terrorists, having experienced our justice system firsthand and our respect for human life, now speak out against Islamic extremism. If left to stay within our borders, they could be a voice against Jihadism. If sent abroad, the best we can hope for is that they don't re-radicalize.
To be clear -- there is much to be afraid of. There are religious zealots out there who hate us and plot to hurt us. These threats are real. What defines us, however, is how we respond to them. How much will we let our fear change us?
That is the question every Canadian must ask on Oct. 19.
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