Bill C-24

I'm about to write a political blog post, but please, please, read on. I’ll try to make this as basic as possible, as I realize political discussion can quickly become confusing.

A few days ago Canada tightened the laws for Bill C-24, a horribly discriminative Bill against millions of Canadians who are no longer considered “pure” Canadians.

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What is Bill C-24?

Bill C-24 has devalued and weakened the citizenship of the following groups of people: Canadians who hold citizenship with another country; Canadians who are eligible to receive dual citizenship with another group (despite not legally being dual); immigrants; and those who wish to receive Canadian citizenship in the future.

Bill C-24 allows the Canadian government to take away citizenship from any of the above people who are accused of a crime or some other type of offense.

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Okay, so, maybe you aren’t planning on committing a crime, so you don’t technically need to worry about the government taking away your citizenship. I wouldn’t be so sure, because let’s say you are a journalist reporting about a human rights story and you are arrested during the process. You now risk having Canada strip your citizenship away from you, allowing you to be charged under the laws of a different country. 

Internationally, it is illegal for a country to remove someone’s citizenship because it would leave them "stateless" and without a country of residence. With Bill C-24, it is no longer illegal to remove the citizenship of anyone who has ties (or is eligible to have ties) to another country. 

Again, I understand that for the majority of us who can now have our citizenship taken away from us, this won’t directly effect us. It does, however, devalue what it means to be Canadian and to hold citizenship in this country. Even the name, “second class citizen,” is horribly offensive, and once again promotes a White elitist nation, discriminating against anyone else who is no longer a “pure” Canadian. What even is a “pure” Canadian? Canada isn’t even 150 years old, and yet the Conservative government likes to think of itself as pure, as the founding fathers of this land, when in fact, Canada is founded on colonization and the genocide of thousands of Indigenous people (yes, genocide, it was not just a cultural genocide).

Yesterday when I realized the full extent of Bill C-24 all I wanted to do was cry. Not cry because I personally am afraid of losing my Canadian citizenship as I hold citizenship with the States as well, not cry because this will also affect my fiance if we ever decide to live in Canada and most certainly will affect my future children… It made me want to cry because this is a huge step backwards for Canada. I still hear people I know talk about how they are tired of hearing the slogan “Black Lives Matters” and that First Nations people are just a bunch of alcoholics. They talk from a privileged perspective, as if no one else’s opinion matters, and as if racism is a thing of the past. Racism, structural racism, call it what you want, it still exists, and this Bill does nothing but create a racist nation. My skin is white and so physically, I can get away with still being considered a “first class citizen” because what being Canadian really means to the Conservative government is being white. I look white enough that it doesn’t matter if my mom’s side of the family is First Nations or that anyone else with colored skin is now seen as a threat to the Canadian government, because I still look white. But it does matter. It does matter that millions of people, simply on the fact that they do not have white skin, beyond just the government’s eyes, have immediate second class citizenship as a Canadian. And second class citizens voices don’t get heard, first class citizens’ do. 

Bill C-24 has hardly even been talked about which also makes me sad. I feel so helpless. I feel helpless because I’ve already heard it, yeah but this Bill doesn’t directly impact you because you’re not a criminal. You’re missing the point if you really think that, and that’s why I feel helpless. I don’t know what I can do or how I can educate people further on this issueit’s rooted in a history of over a hundred years of racism, colonization and white supremacy. 

If you want more information on what Bill C-24 means, check out this website:
https://bccla.org/2015/06/nine-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-changes-to-canadian-citizenship/

There is also a petition you can sign to repeal this Bill:
https://www.change.org/p/hon-chris-alexander-pc-mp-canadian-government-stop-bill-c-24-don-t-turn-millions-of-us-into-second-class-canadian-citizens

I know this isn’t a typical topic of mine to write about. I like to write about love and life and travel and personal freedom and creating, but I am able to do these things because I, too, am privileged. I have the time and resources to reflect on things like love and travel and creating, as well as experience love and travel and creating, but millions of people aren’t given a leisurely lifestyle like mine. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t care, though. Just because I am not directly influenced by this Bill doesn’t mean others aren’t, and so I choose to care. I have the freedom and the ability to care. I live in a safe and free country and it’s my opportunity to help create positive change and give voices to those who aren’t as privileged as myself. I write about politics or tweet about politics and hardly anyone engages. No, I have not been directly impacted by war or famine or abuse, but I shouldn’t be lazy and ignorant about the fact that billions of people are. So please, talk about this Bill with your friends. I know politics can quickly turn into a huge debate which often becomes frustrating, but human rights, hope, freedom, safety, wanting to change the world… there is no debate there. 

Regardless of citizenship, skin color, age, gender, religious standpoint, net worth, dis/ability, social status, etc., etc., etc.,

there are no second class citizens.