Less Canadian

Less Canadian - Ryan Ross

Being a Canadian who works and lives abroad for more than six years, in the eyes of the law, I am less Canadian. How is that possible? Well, last year, I lost my right to vote, which made me feel fewer citizens. Overnight, I became a second class citizen, and realized that my citizenship was not a right that I was entitled to, but a privilege which could have been easily revoked.

Within a day, because of a piece of legislation, it became so easy to strip citizens of their citizenship.

I could not believe it when I first read the content of the Bill C-51, which was supposedly passed to help increase the safety and security measures within Canada, and prevent future terrorist acts from taking place on Canadian soil.

I honestly doubt that such a law would have passed in U.S. Given that Canada was one of the greatest countries in the world, in terms of freedom of speech, I was surprised to discover that not a lot of people contested this bill. Those who did were mostly law professors, and they all said that it was unconstitutional. This bill empowered the authorities to spy on its citizens, destroying any concept of privacy. CSIS operates freely outside the Charter of Rights. Who cares that it violates citizens’ constitutional rights, by detaining or throwing people in jail without a charge?

A lot of Canadians are not even aware of its existence. Whenever I spoke with some of my friends or family members about it, over ninety percent of them did not know that it prevented the freedom of speech or that it violated sections 2 and 7 from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As a matter of fact, all of them insisted that it was meant to prevent terrorism acts and had nothing to do with the regular citizens. Pointless to say that most of them probably did not bother to read it, not even after our conversation.

One year passed, and nothing changed regarding the amendment or suspension of the bill. Why I am not surprised? Well, it is nothing new under the sun. Since my contract is ending in a few months, and I will have to return to Canada, I might have to pay extra attention to the things I say or post online. Therefore don’t be surprised if I start writing about park paving Edmonton, what’s on sales at Walmart or any other meaningless topic.