Some Canadians still excluded from citizenship

By Don Chapman

As Canada observed International Women’s Day on Thursday, some Canadians are still excluded from citizenship solely because they were born to unwed mothers over 65 years ago. They are part of a group known as Lost Canadians: people who are excluded from citizenship or are having difficulty claiming it because of the date or circumstances of their birth.

Among them are some of the 22,000 children who were born overseas to Canadian servicemen and arrived in Canada with their war bride mothers during or immediately after the Second World War. Some were born out of wedlock because their fathers could not get the required permission to marry. Such cases were common and inevitable under wartime conditions. After a lifetime in Canada, these war bride children are still excluded from citizenship by an obscure provision of the 1946 Citizenship Act.

Jason Kenney – The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has recently stated that the government will take steps to end the automatic acquisition of citizenship by so-called passport babies whose mothers enter Canada solely for the purpose of giving birth to a Canadian child. He should give equal attention to the plight of those Canadians who by an accident of birth are still excluded from citizenship of the only country they know.

(Don Chapman represents the Lost Canadians Working Group)