Justin Trudeau criticizes Kenney's slowness in resolving Lost Canadians issue

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video by Jenny Uechi

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau condemned Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney for being "slow" to grant citizenship to Canadian soldiers and their relatives who remain excluded due to legal technicalities with the Citizenship Act. He made the comment in Vancouver on Canadian Forces Day, a day to recognize the sacrifices of Canadian men and women in uniform. 

"Unfortunately, Minister Kenney has been slow to engage with situations like this on a case by case basis and I certainly regret that it still something that is still hanging over far too many families who do believe they served this country with distinction," he said. 

Last June in Burnaby, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told the Canada-raised daughter of a Second World War veteran that her father was not a Canadian citizen during the war, since the Citizenship Act did not officially exist until 1947. As a result, born-abroad war bride children such as  Scott have been denied citizenship, despite having been raised in Canada. 

Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney tells a war veteran's daughter that Canadian soldiers were not citizens prior to 1947, but were British subjects.

This, along with other existing legal technicalities, has been the cause for many "Lost Canadians" to remain without Canadian citizenship despite their strong roots in the country.

Although many of the cases were resolved in 2009 by An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act, the exclusion from citizenship affects many Canadians with ties to the Canadian Forces. Because second-generation born abroad Canadians do not qualify for citizenship under the amended Act, Canadians who were born outside Canada have encountered legal hurdles when adopting children from other countries as well.

Both the federal Liberal Party and the NDP have been repeatedly contacted about the Lost Canadians problem since 2009, but no party has been able to resolve the citizenship problems. In March, Scott filed arguments to take the federal government to court in order to have her citizenship, as well as those of other Canadians, recognized. 

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