Legal loophole Jackie Scott is part of a small group of children, born out of wedlock, who can’t become Canadian citizens
The daughter of a Canadian war bride is seeking her citizenship, more than 60 years after she arrived in this country.
Jackie Scott was born in England to a Canadian soldier and his future war bride and moved to Canada in 1948 when she was two. She grew up in Ontario, raised a daughter and settled in Surrey, B.C.
So she was surprised to learn in the early 2000s that she wasn’t a Canadian citizen because her parents weren’t married at the time of her birth in England.
“All of my family are Canadian, including my daughter and grandchildren,” said Scott. “I’m the only one of my family that’s not.”
At one point, there were an estimated 750,000 people like Scott, so-called Lost Canadians who didn’t meet the requirements for citizenship under federal legislation enacted in 1947. Amendments to the act in 2009 corrected the vast majority of hiccups for Canadians like Joe Taylor, a war baby who lived most of his life out of the country and whose case drew media attention in the late 2000s.
The Conservative government welcomed Taylor as a citizen in an official news release.
But a small number of people born before 1947, including Scott, remain excluded.
Scott said she has applied unsuccessfully for a citizenship certificate and a special grant of citizenship. Now 66, she’s suing the minister of citizenship and immigration in the Federal Court of Canada.
Scott would be a citizen if she had been born after 1947 or been born to a Canadian mother or in wedlock, said Don Chapman, who spearheads the Lost Canadian group and lobbies on their behalf.
From that original group of 750,000 people, he estimates five percent remain excluded. The number of people still living in the country to whom this matter remains an issue is even smaller.
“As an airline pilot, I don’t ditch an airplane in the Hudson River and only rescue 95 percent of my people,” he said. “I try to get them all.”
He was hopeful that a recently discovered document from Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa will bolster Scott’s case. It shows a similar case to her’s in the 1940s, where the child was granted citizenship.
In an April interview with the Huffington Post, immigration minister Jason Kenney said a legislative solution for the remaining Lost Canadians is forthcoming.
Scott said her case could be in court in the fall.
“You can take the person out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the person,” said Scott. “It’s extremely important that I be recognized.”