By Rowena Papasin, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
Posted at 07/08/2015 5:41 PM | Updated as of 07/08/2015 8:29 PM
VANCOUVER, Canada – Parliament signed into law changes to the Citizenship Act that gave the government the power to strip the citizenship of anyone convicted of terrorism, treason, or spying.
Former University professor and now Filipino community leader Aprodicio Laquian denounced the law as very “un-Canadian” and vowed that Filipino groups will fight this harsh policy.
“Those are all very negative policies and we have been writing and sending letters to the parliamentarians in Ottawa objecting to all of these because these are really discriminatory,” Laquian said.
The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association is taking a two-pronged approach to reverse the law.
“If this law can’t be repealed and won’t be repealed in the near future, then we’ll turn to litigation,” said Carmen Chiu, senior counsel of the association.
The law also makes it harder to become a Canadian citizen by increasing the length of time to four years and increasing the citizenship fees.
This will not take into account time already spent working in Canada and will affect applications from former live-in caregivers, and temporary foreign workers.
“It’s going to be a setback as far as the fees are concerned, medyo mahal nga, you have to wait longer as well,” said Effie Garcia of the Tri-Cities Filipino Canadian Network.
Former caregiver Nina Tolentino added, “When you came here as a live-in caregiver, you wait for two to three years and then to become a permanent resident pa and another four years. I think medyo matagal yung four years sa akin especially kung may family ka sa Philippines na nag-aantay sa iyo.”
The Canadian Bar Association has warned that the changes to the citizenship law will open the floodgates to more offenses being added to the list to justify citizenship-stripping.
To date, more than 100,000 people have already signed the petition to repeal the law.