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!

New spotlight on Lost Canadians

Reader's Digest details their struggle for citizenship.

Lost Canadians are enjoying a fresh public look at their struggle to have their citizenship recognized, this time in the Canadian edition of Reader’s Digest – “the world’s most read magazine”.

The December edition of the family magazine features a six-page article on the group of Canadians who, through kinks in the country’s citizenship laws, find themselves without citizenship, even though many were born, raised and worked here.

Lost Canadians were the subject of  a 12-part investigative series by the Vancouver Observer that focused on the legislative injustice; the series won a “best article” Canadian Online Publishing Award in 2010.

The Digest article features a list assembled for the series by Observer publisher Linda Solomon, listing a handful of Canadian celebrities whose children’s and grandchildren’s citizenship might be affected by the legal confusion.

Among them? Wayne Gretzky, Don Cherry, Jim Carrey, Pamela Anderson and Dan Aykroyd.

The article includes an interview with the Sunshine Coast’s Don Chapman, spokesman for the Lost Canadians.

 In it, Chapman outlines the flaws in several attempts to correct national legislation to include those left out for reasons of age, gender or parental residence, and speaks movingly of the importance of officially acknowledging citizenship for many of the group, which includes many elderly members born during the Second World War.

Author Drew Nelles also writes about the plight of several of the Lost Canadians who, unlike Chapman, are still struggling to regain citizenship, or who passed away without it.

Guy Vallieres, “a Second World War veteran who died in 2009, disenfranchised from his own country,” is one of them.

 "I cry every day and think about dying," Vallieres is quoted as telling the Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in 2007, before he passed away.

The group is aiming to apply to federal court for a judicial review of their arguments that Ottawa must provide them with their citizenship.

In response to their push, the office of Minister of Citizenship and Immigration said the minister is aware of the claim and would like to resolve the issue.

In past, offers have been made to award citizenship individually to those who file claims for special grants, but Chapman says the group doesn’t want to use that process.

Instead, they are asking that all residents who lived in Canada before 1947 be granted citizenship. Anyone born or living in Canada before that year was technically considered a British subject, and attempts to establish Canadian citizenship for those born earlier have included several gaps that have left the hundreds of remaining Lost Canadians stateless.

 

 

More in Lost Canadians

Amid deportation fears, Indigenous Lost Canadian struggles to gain citizenship

No birth certificate, no identification papers, no citizenship. A father worries about the future of his life in Canada.

Lost Canadian injustices continue: they fought for Canada, but their children are not Canadians

Jackie Scott, 68,  feels the sting of being a non-citizen each time she crosses the border from the U.S. into Canada, where she spends as much time as she can every year. As the daughter of a...

Lost Canadians nervous and hopeful as feds finally promise to solve citizenship quagmire

After years of relentless reporting by the Vancouver Observer on injustices suffered by Lost Canadians, it looks like feds are poised to right the wrongs.
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.