After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

Premier Christy Clark speaks out but feds mum on righting citizenship wrongs

Photo courtesy of Christy Clark Facebook page

The issue of Chinese-Canadian soldiers killed in action during the First and Second World War remaining unrecognized as citizens of Canada is a wrong that the government needs to address, Premier Christy Clark said in a written statement to the Vancouver Observer yesterday, delivered through her press secretary, Mike Morton.

“This is one of several longstanding wrongs that need to be righted," Clark's statement said. "And it falls on the governments of today to apologize for those wrongs."

But it's all quiet on the federal front regarding the ongoing exclusion of thousands of individuals -- a group known as the "Lost Canadians" -- from citizenship. They include children of war veterans, war veterans, children born abroad out of wedlock and second-generation born abroad children who have been shut out from the chance to obtain Canadian citizenship.

While the majority of their cases was resolved in 2009 by the Conservative government's Bill C-37, An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act, an estimated 37,000 individuals still remain excluded, according to The National Post. In some cases, they are shut out because the bill only retroactively restores citizenship to 1947. In others, it's because of new provisions in the Act barring citizenship from second-generation born abroad Canadians. 

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said toldThe Huffington Post  last April the situation is "sad" and that it was simply due to "unforeseen consequences" of legislation. But so far, there is virtually no mention of the issue in the Citizenship committee transcripts, and little evidence that a solution is in the works. 

Righting a "historic wrong" 

In the email, Clark's spokesperson noted that said that while she was "not familiar" with the issue of Chinese Canadian soldiers and citizenship, MLAs such as Richard Lee, Ida Chong, and former Multiculturalism Minister John Yap are "keenly aware of the need to apologize for the Head Tax."

But according to Chinese Canadian Military Museum and retired Colonel Howe Lee, that issue has already been addressed.

"The Head Tax apology and redress was already done by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in June of 2006," he said, noting that he didn't believe she needed to apologize for the tax today. 

More in Politics

Gitxsan leaders join BC First Nations to vote for Anyone But Clark (ABC)

Two Gitxsan house groups, Gwininitxw and Luutkudziiwus urge voting that will empower First Nations, support communities, environment, and economic well-being.

B.C. Premier defends Bill 20 amendments

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said Tuesday that a controversial provision in Bill 20 is meant to create “a level playing field” for all the political parties. Her comments come on the heels...

Jacobs and Florida and Gehl oh my! Who really influences our local politicians?

Still undecided about who to vote for? Second guessing yourself? Who really influences and inspires those candidates who are running for a seat in Vancouver's City Hall?
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.