Recently Russia and Canada were amending some aspects of their citizenship ownership. How and why changes seemed necessary are a telling reflection of the socio-political setting of the country – one with a totalitarian leaning or deeply rooted liberal-democratic traditions.
Estonia also has been debating the necessity of legalizing dual citizenship.
In Canada, Bill C-24, Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act has been proposed by the Government of Canada in order to better “protect the values of citizenship”. More specifically, s0ome changes: Citizenship can be revoked from dual nationals convicted of terrorism, high treason and spying, or those who take up arms against Canada. Convictions in dictatorships would not be recognized in revoking citizenship. The new provisions also require applicants to be present in Canada for a total of four out of their past six years, and 183 days per year for at least four years.
The Canadian Government says that the Citizenship Act has not been touched over 36 years. These new provisions will help reduce the 320,000 files long waiting list of citizenship applications substantially.
The bill has managed to arouse the ire of many groups opposed to the changes. The two most important areas of concern are the new powers given to the government in revoking citizenship, that is without a chance at appeal based on convictions in other countries, also in new powers in withdrawing citizenship from anyone who might have to leave Canada
In addition, opponents of the bill insist that Bill C-24 will make it more difficult and more expensive to obtain citizenship, and will replace judges as decision makers with Immigration officers. The bill will extend the costly language test from those aged 18-55 to those aged 14-64. It will authorize Immigration officers to deny citizenship to those suspected of not living in Canada once citizenship is obtained. The bill will increase permanent residency from 3 to 4 years. It will deny the right to appeal negative citizenship decisions. It will allow citizenship to be revoked even if the person of dual citizenship was born in Canada if conviction occurred abroad. (Pikemalt Eesti Elu 13. juuni paberlehes)
Citizenship, a notion undergoing adjustment in many different countries