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

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Last year, then-Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney told her that her father -- who enlisted in the army 1939, was discharged in 1945, and remained in Canada for the rest of his life -- was "clearly" and "obviously not" a citizen during the war. 

Video by Jenny Uechi

Writing in the Toronto Sun, late journalist Peter Worthington once described Kenney's attitude toward Scott: 

It's pretty hard to believe that Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney would tell the daughter of a Canadian war veteran in Vancouver that her father, who was born in Canada and had never set foot out of the country until it asked him to go to war, was not, in fact, a Canadian citizen but a British subject.

Insulting, degrading ... and wrong.

"It's horrible. It's not just my father, it's about all of us," she said. My father and others thought they were fighting for a country that they considered their home, a country to which they owed their allegiance. They were all told they were Canadian citizens, and the government gave them documents that said that." 

Excerpts from "Battle of the Brains: Canadian Citizenship and Issues of War", 1943, issued by the Canadian Department of Defense.

Even though Kenney apologized to Lost Canadians earlier and made assurances that the laws would be changed within the year to give them Canadian citizenship, nearly two years have crawled by with the promise left unkept. In the meantime, the government granted honourary citizenship to people like Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai.

"The government has said it's going to make radical changes to the Citizenship Act. But are they going to honour their promise, or is it all just lip service?" Scott asked. 

Lannan insisted that Citizenship and Immigration is dealing with cases like hers as fast as possible.

"For the small number of those who did not benefit from the changes, a discretionary mechanism does exit.  The overall approval rate for discretionary grants of citizenship (which includes cases of ‘lost Canadians’) is approximately 92 per cent," she said.

It's a figure disputed by people like Don Chapman, who has been fighting to gain rights for Lost Canadians for more than a decade.  He wants to know why people who have applied for years have continually been turned down. 

"People come to me and Don with stories, and they're really sad. There are single mothers, and elderly people who want to be recognized before they die," she said.

Scott is wary of the government's promises now. In her view, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's appointees  have focused far more of energy on tweaking immigration laws than reforming citizenship legislation. 

"I understand that government has to replace an aging population (with immigrants), but it also needs to respect the rights of their own Canadian citizens," she said.

She will move forward to correct the Lost Canadian issue in court in the new year, Scott said.

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