Toronto 18 terrorist will regain Canadian citizenship under new legislation introduced by Liberals
TORONTO—The leader of an al-Qaida-inspired plot to explode truck bombs in downtown Toronto during the morning rush hour will have his Canadian citizenship reinstated under legislation introduced by the Liberals on Thursday.
The proposed law tabled in the House of Commons, Bill C-6, contains a provision that would restore the citizenship of any convicted terrorists who lost it as a result of changes brought in by the previous Conservative government.
Effectively, the bill means the Liberals will be returning citizenship to Zakaria Amara, ringleader of the Toronto 18 terror group, which planned al-Qaida-style violence in southern Ontario to push Canada to abandon Afghanistan.
Michel Cimpaye, an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada spokesperson, said the citizenship of those who had lost it for “acts against the national interest” would be automatically restored once the bill received Royal Assent.
The proposed changes
Grounds for revocation
Current law: Those convicted of crimes against the national interest such as terrorism, treason or spying and who have dual citizenship could have their citizenship revoked if they are dual nationals.
Proposed change: Repeals those provisions and restores citizenship of anyone who has been affected.
Current law: Requires people to have been physically present in Canada for four out of six years before qualifying.
Proposed change: People will have to be physically present for three out of five years before qualifying.
Language and knowledge requirements
Current law: Everyone between the ages of 14 to 64 must pass language and knowledge tests.
Proposed change: Applicants between the ages of 18 to 54 must pass language and knowledge tests.
In addition, the department will take no further action against nine terrorists who had received notices informing them their citizenship was being revoked. They include an Iranian-Canadian and a Pakistani-Canadian imprisoned for a 2010 plan to bomb military bases in Canada.
Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Pakistani-Canadian imprisoned in California over his role in a plot to decapitate employees of a Danish newspaper and throw their heads onto the street, will also be allowed to keep his Canadian citizenship.
During the federal election, the Liberals said they would do away with the Conservative
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