1867 - Canada became a country under the British North America Act.
1868 - Canada adopts its first form of unique Canadian identity, called the Canadian Nationals Act. People are British Subjects, but Canadian Nationals. Here is the exact wording, "married women, minors, lunatics, and idiots" will be classified "under the same disability" for their national status. In essence, women were chattel of their husbands, children chattel of their fathers if born in-wedlock and chattel of their mothers if born out-of-wedlock. The language is common among the British colonies.
1868 through 1947 - Canadian women who married non-Canadian men (non-British subjects), lost their Canadian status on marriage. In the 1990's, for those women affected who were still alive, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) decided to recognize these women as citizens. Not so for their children, even if they were born and raised in Canada.
1929- The Famous Five person's case- decided by the Privy Council of England, Canadian women were finally considered to be "people," giving women certain rights such as being a judge or Senator. It wasn't for another 89 years that most Canadian women had equal rights with regards to their own children in citizenship law.
1947 - Canada becomes the first country in the British Empire to officially create its own identity, separate from mother England. It's a result of senior cabinet minister Paul Martin, who realized just after WWII when walking through the Canadian Cimetière in Dieppe, France, that the 707 Canadian soldiers buried there were British subjects- not Canadian citizens. Citizenship did not exist in Canada. On his return to Parliament he authoured our first Citizenship Act, going into force on January 1, 1947. A product of its time, it was quite discriminatory. While married women were now able to have their own identity as citizens, they had far less rights than men- specific to do with passing citizenship onto their children. "Minors, lunatics, and idiots" remained classified under a "disability" for citizenship. If born in-wedlock, the father was deemed to be the "responsible parent," if born out-of-wedlock it was the mother. Often out-of-wedlock children had the word, "BASTARD" stamped on their birth certificate.
1977 - Canada adopts it's second Citizenship Act, but makes the same mistake in correcting the law as was made by the country in 1793 when slavery was abolished. At that time it was written that there could be no new slaves, but for those already indentured, they would remain as slaves till they died. Thus a slave could give birth and the baby was free, but not the parent. The abolition of slavery was not made retroactive. Same thing with the citizenship act of 1977, so for those people already disenfranchised, they remained outcasts, but for anyone born or already Canadian on or after February 15, 1977, they had a different set of rights than those people who fell under the 1947 Act.
1982 - The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was adopted, along with section 15, specifically 15(1), which stated, "Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability." While women cherished their new found equal rights, most were completely unaware that "equal rights" were not extended nor applicable in citizenship law to Canadian women and their children born pre-1977 outside of Canada.
1997 - In the Supreme Court case Benner vs. Canada, the justices ruled unanimously that the Citizenship Act was unconstitutional in that it blatantly discriminated against women. Under the 1947 Act Canadian women who married non-Canadian men and had a child outside of Canada did not have the right to pass citizenship onto their children. Men, however, who married non-Canadian women and fathered a child outside of Canada did have that right. In Benner, Canadian women who had children outside of Canada were given the same right to pass citizenship onto their children.
2004 - Because of my testimony before the Senate committee of Social Affairs, Science, and Technology, a top CIC bureaucrat appeared before this same committee a week later and announced the government would no longer abide by the Benner decision. Canada went back to discriminating against women, violating their own Supreme Court, their Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as their obligation to honour the UN Convention on The Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.
2007 - On December 10th, International Human Rights Day, Canada's Minister of Citizenship announced that by fall 2008, she would introduce a Bill to correct past citizenship injustices.
2008 - Bill C-37 is introduced into the House of Commons. It passes unanimously in both the House and Senate, receiving Royal Assent on April 17, 2008, ironically the 26th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It was not to be effective for one year.
2009 - Bill C-37 is implemented on April 17, 2009, 27 years to the day after the Charter became law. For the first time in Canadian history, women were equal in law, but only for women going forward. Once again the same mistake was made against women as was made 216 years earlier when the anti-slavery laws became effective- Bill C-37 was not made completely retroactive with regards to the ongoing discrimination against Canadian women. While C-37 recognized somewhere between 750-thousand to one-million people as citizens, it still left out second-generation, born out of Canada decedents of Canadian women. The second-generation born out of Canada decedents of men still had a right to citizenship. The Supreme Court decision regarding equality of rights for women continued to be ignored. Also, children born pre-1947 inside or out of Canada to Canadian mothers and non-British subject fathers, those children were still being denied citizenship.
Also in 2009 (March and October) - questions are asked in the Senate as to why this government continues discriminating against women.
2010 - March 8th, International Women's Rights Day, questions are asked in the House of Commons as to why this government continues it's ongoing discrimination against women. Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney avoids any direct answer.
The very next day, on March 9th, Cabinet Minister Chuck Strahl announces in the House that in response to a BC court decision, the government would bring forward a Bill to give Indian women the same rights as men in passing status onto their children. Within a very short time, Bill C-3 is introduced to rectify the gender discrimination for native Canadian women. Despite the government's support for Indian women, they continue to discriminate against all other pre-1977 women. If passed, then the only women to have retroactive equality of rights with men would be Canadian Indian women. In essence, the country would be granting extra rights to one group only because of race. Put another way, people could be denied equality of rights because of their ethnicity.
Pre-1947 Gender Discrimination: Guy Valliere is an example of the pre-1947 babies. In 1926 Guy was born to a Canadian mother and U.S. father in Montreal. Because he was born "in-wedlock" he was considered be chattel of his father. Because his mother married a non-British subject, she lost her Canadian status. Of course no one ever told the family. Guy grew up in Canada, worked here, paid taxes, voted, he even defended the country as a soldier in WWII. Despite his mother, if she were alive, being retroactively granted citizenship in the 1990's, Canada refused to recognize the children. Thus a few years back when Guy had a stroke, Canada refused to pay for his medical treatment, rationalizing their decision saying that Guy wasn't Canadian. On February 1, 2009, Guy died disenfranchised from his own country- the very country he was asked to defend, with his life if need be. Regrettably Guy's story is not unique. People are starting to have their Old-Age pensions questioned, or worse, denied. It's a bubble that will soon burst.
Remember, Guy was denied citizenship because he was born in-wedlock, thus Canada considered him to be property of his American father.
The next group consists of three people, all born out-of-wedlock to English War Brides and Canadian-soldier fathers. After the war all three babies were brought to Canada, raised here, paid taxes, voted, one even retired from the Canadian Navy, but because in law they were considered to be property of their English mothers, today they are being denied citizenship. Keep in mind that Privy Council Orders after WWII gave these women and children the exact same status as their Canadian husbands / fathers, that in 1927 Canada passed the Legitimization Act (upheld in the Supreme Court in 1954 - Leung Ba Chai) which stated that if your parents subsequently marry, your birth is "legitimized" and thus you were born in-wedlock, never mind all that- the government is now saying you aren't a citizen. Consider one more tidbit, which is Taylor vs. Canada in 2007. The Harper government took a case with the exact same circumstances as above to judicial review for the express purpose to deny Taylor his citizenship. While Taylor lost on appeal, the first decision had major ramifications that went far beyond Mr. Taylor. In the House of Commons, for the record, here are the words of the then Citizenship Minister, "When there is a court decision that has implications for hundreds of statutes, dozens of departments, and could cost tens of billions of dollars, in situations like that, we have a duty to appeal." Fast forward to today. Mr. Taylor was given citizenship by a ministerial grant- which was all he ever asked for from the beginning. The government gambled Canadian taxpayer dollars - to the tune of "tens of billions" - just to deny one man his citizenship. Today the case is settled and Taylor is a citizen. But for Jackie Scott and two others, they have been denied by Mr. Kenney. Once again, the government is playing Russian Roulette with Canadian taxpayer money by gambling "tens of billions" to deny three people their citizenship - that's over $600 to every Canadian man, woman, and child on the planet - just because they were born out-of wedlock.
Do I really have this straight? Guy Valliere would be Canadian if he had been born out-of wedlock and Jackie Scott would be Canadian if she had been born in-wedlock? Yes, this is exactly the way it is. Common sense has left the building.
1947 to 1977 gender discrimination: Kasey Neal and Lillian Miller are three-year old cousins, both born outside of Canada. Lillian can be Canadian because her connection to the country comes through her grandfather- a man. Kasey has been denied because her connection comes through her grandmother- a woman. In so doing, Canada is violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Supreme Court of Canada, and three UN Conventions (The Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women; The Reduction of Statelessness; The Rights of the Child).