Last Updated on June 9, 2011 by Steven Meurrens

The governing Conservative Party of Canada is having their convention from June 9-11.  One of the measures that the party will be debating is whether to adopt as official party a policy that would strip people of their citizenship if they take up arms against the Canadian Armed Forces or its allies.

The proposal reads:

98. Canadian Citizenship and High Treason
The Conservative Party of Canada believes that any Canadian citizen, whether by birth or by naturalized grant of Canadian citizenship or by claim of landed immigrant or refugee status in Canada who commits treason by taking up arms against the Canadian Forces or the Forces of Canada’s Allies automatically invalidates his or her Canadian citizenship or claim to Canadian citizenship and, if and when returned to the jurisdiction of the Canadian Legal System, should be tried for high treason under the Canadian Criminal Code.

This is an interesting proposal, and before vigorously supporting or opposing it one should consider the following questions and issues that inevitably emerge from adopting such a policy:

  1. Do you think that a person who fights against the Canadian military should lose their citizenship?
  2. If yes, then do you think that that should extend to anyone who fights against the military of an ally?
  3. What do you consider to be an ally?  Is any NATO country an ally?  Turkey?  India?
  4. What are arms?  Is a knife or rock an arm?
  5. If you generally support the notion, then what about a Palestinian-Canadian who throws a rock at an Israeli soldier?  Should that person lose his/her citizenship?
  6. What if the incident doesn’t occur on foreign soil, but on Canadian?  What if there is an Oka like situation whereby an aboriginal youth throws a rock at a Canadian soldier?  Should that person be stripped of his/her citizenship?
  7. If you don’t support the notion, then do you think that there should be any penalty for a Canadian citizen taking up arms against a Canadian soldier?
  8. If you do support the notion, then should that person retain permanent residence status?  Or should they be inadmissible to enter Canada?
  9. What should the process be?

I haven’t considered any of these questions in too much detail, and I’m sure that your e-mails and comments will provide insights that I haven’t yet thought of, so what do you think?  Should Canada strip the citizenship of people who take up arms against either Canadian soldiers or our allies?