Toronto: Canada is stripping 1,800 people of their citizenship, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced here on Wednesday, in a first step of this scale by any western nation.
Canadian citizenship will be revoked from these 1,800 people for obtaining it fraudulently, he stated. The minister said the government will be `revoking their citizenship because Canadian citizenship is not for sale.``
Calling it `the first tranche`` of revocation, the minister said more people could be deprived of their Canadian citizenship as the authorities widen their net to catch those who acquired it fraudulently.
But the minister said the revocation process could be long-drawn out as most of those who acquired it with the help of local crook consultants don`t live in Canada.
“Most of these people, we believe, have never really lived in Canada and are still overseas. We frankly have got them dead to rights with the proof that we have, and I don`t think a lot of these people want to go through a long, protracted public court battle where it`s clear they fraudulently obtained our citizenship,`` Kenney said.
As the debate over the immigration issue hots up, the government is holding nationwide consultations to ascertain whether current levels of admitting newcomers should be maintained.
Canada admits more than 250,000 new people each - per capita more than any other nation in the world. But because of its lax laws, thousands others enter the country illegally each year.
Further, a large of number of people acquire Canadian citizenship only to return to their country of origin. Called `citizens of convenience’, they don`t pay taxes here but come only to claim free medical and social benefits.
“For those who simply touch down and try to get a Canadian passport as a ... passport of convenience, who don`t pay our taxes but who do consume our social benefits, I think that`s dishonourable,`` according to the immigration minister.