September 2, 2006
Child of Canadian soldier wins right to citizenship: 65,000 brides and children affected, advocate claims
By Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun firstname.lastname@example.org
The son of a Second World War Canadian soldier broke down and wept Friday after learning a federal judge had ruled he is a Canadian citizen Ė a ruling that could affect the citizenship status of thousands of other children and war brides of Canadian servicemen.†
Speaking from his home in England, Joe Taylor said he spent half an hour "crying like a child" when his Victoria lawyer Rory Morahan phoned him earlier in the day saying he had won his case.
Taylor sued Citizenship and Immigration Canada for denying his claim to the same citizenship as his father Ė a right he claimed the wartime Canadian government had granted to wives and children of servicemen serving overseas during the 1939-1945 war.
"I cried because I never thought this day would come," said Taylor, who wants to live in Canada.
He owns an apartment in Victoria but has been unable to take up permanent residence there with his wife because the immigration department denied him citizenship.
The ruling Friday by Federal Court Justice Luc Martineau will have an effect on an estimated 65,000 Second World War brides and their children, whose citizenship had also been revoked, said Don Chapman, an advocate for persons with Canadian parents whose citizenship has been denied.
"Itís a huge victory for war brides and their children. These are people whose citizenship the government took away, now they have it back," he said.
Taylor spent $25,000 suing the government for its decision but said he hasnít any money left to fight if the department appeals.
"Iím still on cloud nine right now but I worry the department will take this to the Supreme Court of Canada," he said.
Taylor was denied citizenship by an immigration officer on April 5, 2005, in Nova Scotia. Martineau heard arguments in the case in Vancouver earlier this year.
The judge set aside the immigration officerís findings and declared Taylor to be a Canadian and directed the minister to issue a certificate of Canadian citizenship to Taylor.
Taylorís father was a Canadian soldier but Taylor was born out of wedlock because the military refused to let his mother and father get married. The couple later married and in 1946 Taylor was brought to Canada by his mother. However, the marriage later failed and mother and son returned to England.
Taylor always believed he had Canadian citizenship. He has a Canadian passport issued in 1946 containing his name. But his citizenship was denied when the immigration department ruled that children born out of wedlock before Feb. 15, 1977 had to make an application to retain citizenship when they were between the ages 21 to 24.
Taylor failed to make the application and the immigration officer refused to issue him a passport.
Martineau found that the provisions used by the department to reject Taylorís passport application contravened the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Taylor is planning to return to Victoria later this month.
"I canít wait to be there Ė Canadaís my home," he said.