July 19, 2011
Feds bust 1,800 phony Canadians
By DAVID AKIN, Parliamentary Bureau Chief
OTTAWA - The federal government is moving to strip 1,800 people of their Canadian citizenship after concluding they became citizens using fraudulent means, QMI Agency has learned.
The massive investigation, unprecedented in its scale, involved the RCMP and the federal department of citizenship and immigration.
Since Confederation in 1867, the federal government has only ever revoked the citizenship of 67 people. Now it's ready to strip the citizenship of 1,800, although it will not be a quick process.
The 1,800 who are being targeted by the federal government will have the right to challenge the accusation in federal court, a process the department of justice itself says is complex and could take years to resolve.
And, throughout those legal proceedings, the affected individual will continue to enjoy all the right and privileges of Canadian citizenship.
Those caught in the investigation have now or will very shortly be informed the government intends to revoke their Canadian citizenship.
"These people are costing taxpayers a lot of money," said a senior government official who had knowledge of the investigation. "And they are undermining public support for immigration. We don't want to allow fraud like this."
Over the next day or so, the government is expected to provide details on the investigation and some information on where those accused of obtaining a fraudulent citizenship live.
Among other things, those who become Canadian citizens enjoy access to Canada's health care system and publicly funded benefits such as employment insurance and old age security.
Naturalized Canadians - those born in another country but who immigrate here and become citizens - can have their citizenship revoked if convicted of fraud in relation to their citizenship application or if their original admission to Canada as an immigrant was completed using fraudulent documents. Immigrants who knowingly conceal material circumstances in connection with their entry into Canada also risk revocation of citizenship.