Lethbridge Herald: 'Lost Canadians' left in limbo .
Where's the fairness for 'non-Canadians' born before 1947?
When is a Canadian not a Canadian?
When they're caught in a limbo created by Canadian citizenship laws that don't go far enough.
Click here to read original article in the Lethbridge Herald.
Consequently, a number of "Canadians" born before 1947 who later discovered they weren't officially Canadian citizens have found themselves unable to rectify the problem. That's because, despite amendments made last year to laws intended to give children born abroad out of wedlock equal rights to citizenship, the changes only applied to people born in 1947 or later.
So these so-called "lost Canadians" those born prior to 1947 remain lost in their efforts to obtain a citizenship certificate.
This group includes people like 65-year-old Jackie Scott, whose story was detailed in a Canadian Press story in Monday's Lethbridge Herald. Scott was born in England in 1945 before Canada's first citizenship law went into effect, to a Canadian serviceman and a British mother who weren't yet married. Though her parents later married in Canada, Scott wasn't eligible to take on her father's citizenship.
Scott grew up in Ontario, dutifully paid her taxes and voted in federal elections, believing all the while she was a Canadian citizen. She didn't discover otherwise until 2005 when the federal government rejected her request for a citizenship certificate. She applied for a special grant of citizenship in 2008, but that, too, was turned down.
So Scott is understandably frustrated, especially considering that she learned her parents had their marriage legitimized under Ontario's Legitimization Act, and she also uncovered a letter from Citizenship and Immigration Canada from 1955 that legitimizes her birth.
But the government refuses to acknowledge such prior rulings, and so Scott remains left out in the cold, worried about her long-term security in a home country that doesn't officially recognize her as one of its own.
Don Chapman, who founded an online group for lost Canadians, calls it "one of the most shameful stories on Canada. The laws are different depending on who you are."
A spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada says the government will continue to address cases on an individual basis. But University of Victoria law professor Donald Galloway says such an approach isn't effective.
"When the recent legislation came in, the government felt they had to draw the line somewhere and decided, I think quite arbitrarily, they would draw the line at 1947. Having a clear line drawn was more important than making sure that fairness and equities were actually satisfied."
Therein lies the crux of the problem: Fairness is lacking. The federal government is leaving a number of Canadians hanging because the law doesn't account for their situation. And dealing with them on a case-by-case basis isn't working for people such as Jackie Scott.
"At a certain point we're going to be too old for them to have to worry about us," says Scott. "Are they waiting for all of us to die?"
If the government is indeed waiting for the passage of time to take care of the problem, it's a despicable way to handle the situation or, more to the point, not handle it
Posted by Lost Canadian at Tuesday, November 23, 2010