Coast Reporter: Back to court for Lost Canadians

October 28, 2011

Ben Ingram / Staff Writer

The leader of the Lost Canadians, Don Chapman of Gibsons, said he once again intends to take the government of Canada to court over citizenship discrimination.

Having taken up the cause of 10 people he said were undeservingly stripped of their citizenship, Chapman described the group’s position as being indisputable.

“What they're doing is they're actually now going to challenge us. And if they challenge us, we're really ready for the fight,” Chapman said. “We've just got them left, right and centre on this.”

Lost Canadians is known for its previous efforts leading up to the passage of Bill C-37 in April 2008. The legislation retroactively granted citizenship to thousands who had previously struggled to qualify, including Chapman.

But for him, the bill does not go far enough. According to Chapman, holes still remain in the legislation, allowing for true Canadians to fall through the cracks.

Armed with what he describes as an open-and-shut case, Chapman claims he has been ignored by a government failing to come to terms with unquestionable evidence.

“The government has not wanted to meet with me. They refused for three years since our bill passed,” he said, describing the remaining gaps in the legislation. “I'm trying hard to get the government to listen to me so we don't have to go to court.”

One of Chapman’s current concerns is 66-year-old Jacqueline Scott.

The daughter of a Canadian Second World War veteran, Scott’s mother was an English war bride. The year after her birth, Scott’s parents were married.

Scott grew up in Canada, and in 2005 found out that because she was born out of wedlock, she would no longer be considered a Canadian citizen.

“Essentially they were saying ‘you're a bastard’,” she said. “All my family is Canadian but me. My children were born in Toronto.”

Back in 2006, Scott heard of the case of Joe Taylor, one of the central disputes leading up to Bill C-37. She attended a hearing and met Chapman.

Soon after, she decided her only recourse was legal action. Like Chapman, Scott echoed frustrations at the government’s unwillingness to listen.

John Weston, the member of Parliament for West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky Country, said Chapman is well known to him and his staff.

Weston said Chapman has had consistent access to him over the years. He added his willingness to take up cases like Scott’s, but alleges Chapman has routinely failed to deliver the proper paperwork.

“We met him as recently as Aug. 4 and asked him at the time, as I have continually done, to provide names and privacy waivers for people he claims to represent,” Weston said. “Typically he fails to follow through.”

When asked about the Scott case in particular, Weston described her circumstances as unfair.

“[It] should be dealt with. I would want to take that up. Again, I would need a name and a privacy waiver and the background information,” he said.

Chapman and Scott, who lives in Vancouver, were meeting with their lawyers this week.