Omar Alghabra is a Liberal Member of Parliament for Mississauga Centre (Ontario) and a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade Diversification.
Omar Alghabra: We’ve reformed issues like the dual, you know, the two tier citizenship that the Conservative have created. We have reformed some of the anti terror laws.
Ovais Iqbal: May I pause you on the previous point the dual citizenship thing. When you took the office, Liberal government, I think if I recall the news correctly, although this law that Harper government created that they can revoke citizenship, the application of that law was to lesser context, but you guys, you took office, it was even more, was applying to the people. Is it matter? Is it true?
Omar Alghabra: It’s mixing apples and oranges. What Harper government has done, he created administratirial [sic], a political power to revoke citizenship only of people who have dual citizenship.
Ovais Iqbal: Yes, like us Pakistani Canadians.
Omar Alghabra: Anybody who have a dual citizenship, were born somewhere else or even they were not born somewhere else, even if they were born in Canada. But because they have possessed the second citizenship which meant that they their Canadian citizenship is less equal than someone else who does not have a dual citizenship. So we said this is unfair. Other types of revocations happened under Harper, happened under us, is when people mislead government, when they lie under citizenship application. So when they pretend that they have been living here for three four years, but the government discovers that they lied in the application, or they haven’t been living here, or the reason why they immigrated here was not true, those people, [we] say your citizenship was obtained under invalid reasons, therefore you [sic] take it away from you. That’s is not a political process. That is a official process which by the way we now created an appeal mechanism for it, where people can appeal.
Ovais Iqbal: Which was not the case before.
Omar Alghabra: Which was not the case before. So there are, you know, apples and oranges here.
Ovais Iqbal: Okay. If I understand this correctly this challenge for the dual citizens is no more. So nobody can take my citizenship away if I did not lie in my application I’m protected?
Omar Alghabra: Exactly. So if you are a Canadian citizen that has another citizenship you have the same rights and responsibilities that another Canadian who only has one Canadian citizenship. You said the operative word is that you did not lie in obtaining your citizenship, you have the same rights. So no minister can take away your citizenship whether you are accused of terrorism, pedophilia, violence. If you are found criminal or guilty of terrorism you are thrown in jail, but the issue of citizenship is a sacred one that should, whether you are a dual citizen or a single citizen, the same rights and responsibilities.
Ovais Iqbal: So Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.
Omar Alghabra: Exactly, and I’m proud to say that we have run under this in the last campaign. Many people from the Pakistani community were very reasonably and rightly so worried about the signal it sends to them that your citizenship is worth less than someone else’s citizenship. We fixed that.
Ovais Iqbal: Okay, pretty good.