Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all members for their contribution to this bill, as well as the thousands of Canadians who have given their active support since this bill's infancy. Once again, my bill is based upon three beliefs: more pathways to integration, that our troops deserve the highest respect, and that Canadian citizenship is a privilege which deserves the highest esteem.
As I said at the outset of this debate, I am a proud immigrant to this country. I believe that citizenship is enormously important. Citizenship is about our culture, our heritage and our loyalty, and there is no group that stands for these values more than our Canadian armed forces. They defend our nation and our values by putting their lives on the line each and every day. Joining the armed forces demonstrates a profound belief in, and commitment to, defending this country, which presents an excellent opportunity for integration, something this bill seeks to reward.
The second part of this bill is something that I sincerely hope will never be used. The same love for our country that inspired the first part of this bill necessitates the second part of this bill. Those who seek to harm Canada should pay for their actions. In the case of treason, perpetrators have shown they have no loyalty to Canada, and in fact find no value in Canadian citizenship. As such, they do not deserve the privilege of being Canadian citizens.
This bill is not unprecedented. Numerous western democracies, including the United Kingdom and the United States, already have similar laws that allow for the renunciation of citizenship for acts of treason. Furthermore, this law is simply a necessary step in widening Canada's existing legislation. Section 10 of the Canadian Citizenship Act already provides for the deprivation of citizenship and section 46 of the Criminal Code clearly identifies treason as a crime.
Until 1977, people who committed acts of treason would be punished by the removal of their Canadian citizenship. Citizens of Canada want this to be returned to law. My bill would expand existing laws to see that those who commit acts of treason meet proper justice, with all due oversight and rights of appeal outlined in the Criminal Code and the Canadian Citizenship Act. Of course, we would also uphold our international obligations and agreements.
We have an overwhelming mandate from Canadians who want this bill to succeed. I sent a householder survey to residents in my riding and the bill was supported by 87% of respondents. On October 30, the National Post reported on the results of an NRG poll of 1,001 Canadians from coast to coast to coast asking their opinion on the renunciation of citizenship. The poll showed that more than 8 in 10 Canadians are in favour of this bill.
Furthermore, the Calgary Herald editorial board, along with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at Canada, the Somali-Canadian Education and Rural Development Organization, Immigrants for Canada, the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform, the Muslim Canadian Congress, B'nai Brith Canada, and many more organizations, have endorsed my bill, demonstrating the wide array of support of Canadians from all backgrounds and walks of life.
I am optimistic that the opposition will choose to support new immigrants and will not oppose giving our armed forces the support and respect they so definitely deserve. I am sure members of all parties will continue to be as open-minded to having a real discussion on this important issue at the committee stage as members from both the NDP and Liberal Party stated they were in the previous hour of debate. In that spirit, I want to once again reiterate that I am open to any and all amendments that are in line with the aims and intent of this legislation.
I want to do the following: create more pathways to integration, support the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces, and underscore the immense value of Canadian citizenship. The bottom line is that we should reward those who are willing to put their lives on the line for Canadians and ensure that those who would attack the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedom pay for their actions.