Convicted terrorist Zakaria Amara, a key figure in the Islamic extremist “Toronto 18” group, will be getting his Canadian citizenship back thanks to legislation from the Trudeau government.
Amara planned a number of terrorist attacks that included a raid on the Canadian House of Commons and beheading then-Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The group was thwarted by the coordinated counter-terrorism efforts of various intelligence and police departments.
Amara, a dual Jordanian-Canadian citizen, was convicted in 2009 and given a life sentence in prison. He lost his Canadian citizenship in 2015 after the previous Conservative government passed legislation to strip convicted terrorists of their citizenship.
Liberal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen introduced counter legislation this week in the Canadian Parliament that would reinstate Amara’s citizenship and make additional changes to immigration laws.
Hussen attempted to justify Bill C-6 as a means of rectifying “unequal treatment” from the justice system because “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian” — even if he or she is also a convicted terrorist. Hussen was testifying to the Canadian Senate, which is studying the bill prior to its final vote in Parliament.
The bill is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s response to a promise he made in the last federal election campaign to repeal “unfair elements” of the Conservative government’s Bill C-24, which stripped terrorists with dual citizenship of their Canadian status. The Liberals contend that law created two-tiered citizenship.
A recent Angus Reid Institute poll demonstrated that the Conservative law retained popularity with Canadians, with 53 percent indicating the legislation should stay as is.
Notwithstanding any opposition, Hussen testified that anyone losing Canadian citizenship under the current law would have it reinstated under the Liberal plan. Hussen did not mention Amara by name.
“When you are a Canadian you shouldn’t feel less valued just because you have dual citizenship with another country,” said Hussen. “Let’s be clear. Terrorists should go to jail for a long time,” he said, but including citizenship revocation in the punishment would be a “dangerous precedent.”
Bill C-6 was approved without any amendments by the House of Commons, where the Liberal government has a majority of the Members of Parliament.
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