Gov't Discriminates Against Women: Letter to Ruth Wiseman, Citizenship and Immigration Officer for Kasey Neal

Kasey Neal
Kasey Neal is a two and a half year old girl who is being denied her right to Canadian citizenship because the Department of Citizenship and Immigration permits discrimination on the basis of gender.

In a nutshell, if Kasey's Canadian grandparent was a man, Kasey could become Canadian. But because Kasey's Canadian grandparent is a woman, she is not allowed to become a Canadian.

If it walks like a duck and acts like a duck, I'd say it's a duck, wouldn't you? Looks like discrimination based on gender to me and let the Department of Citizenship and Immigration say it isn't so. They won't, because they know it's true. What I want to know is when will the Department stop discriminating against women?

February 7, 2010


The Supreme Court was unanimous in Benner vs. Canada 1997, and the decision still remains in force. It has not been overturned, nor has the notwithstanding clause been implemented by Parliament to change that decision. Once again, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that discriminating in citizenship based on gender was contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and thus unconstitutional. Nothing has changed, Benner remains in force and the acceptance or denial of citizenship based only on gender is illegal and contrary to the Charter. By denying Kasey Neal citizenship you are defying the Supreme Court of Canada.

This case will go to judicial review if you deny Kasey citizenship. Also, expect a class-action lawsuit and lots of hearings before Parliament whereby the bureaucrats will have to explain their actions. I strongly suggest you not go there.

I respectfully ask that Kasey is deemed to be a Canadian citizen from birth. At the very least she should be offered a section 5.4 citizenship grant.

Let me summarize:

My nephew is Kenneth Neal; and previously he was denied Canadian citizenship via lineage on the basis that his Canadian parent, Ruth Pina happens to be female. This is in violation of charter rights as well as the Benner decision. Ken's citizenship has been subsequently restored by the CIC, and it was deemed to have been continuous since his birth in 1971. Now his daughter, Kasey Neal, has been denied citizenship on the grounds that her father was not a citizen at the time of her birth, notwithstanding that the CIC has already acknowledged that her father was in fact a citizen at the time of Kasey's birth. As such, the CIC continues to perpetuate violations of charter rights and the Benner decision in its gender-biased determinations of citizenship, even in the case of Ken's daughter, Kasey.

I cannot be more clear, I expect CIC to recognize the citizenship of Kasey Neal. Let me end by quoting several politicians, including the Prime Minister of Canada, the Minister of State (Status of Women) and finally the Governor General:

"The actions of our government are guided by the principal that hate and discrimination have no place in a civilized society." - Prime Minister Stephen Harper

"We must ensure that women are not discriminated against." - The Honourable Helena Guergis, Minister of State (Status of Women)

"I know that the government and other parties have a commitment to look at all legislation through the lens of its fairness to women. This clearly fails that test--big time." - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State (Seniors)

And one final quote, from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaƫlle Jean, "I have always thought that ignoring the plight of women is not only an inexcusable lack of responsibility, but also an unjustifiable crime against humanity."

Don Chapman for Kasey Neal