Monday, January 24, 2005

My Son, the Alien

Peter Worthington had a piece in the Toronto Sun, yesterday, titled "Forces babies deprived", and it was brought to my attention by an old squadron mate from our Germany Starfighter days. This is unbelievable, even in Canada, but it seems to be true. The essence of the story is that the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development (HRSD) has decided that children born overseas of Canadian Forces parents are not Canadian citizens.

None of this would come to light until one of those "alien" children tries to apply for such mundane things as citizenship cards, passports, new SIN numbers, etc. Then they find out that they have been living a lie all these years. They may have had previous SIN numbers, worked, voted, paid taxes, served in the military, and born other children; all this in flagrant disregard for the Ottawa mandarins who'll not be fooled by such trivialities as reality and common sense.

It all starts to make sense (?) now, when I consider the difficulty that my thirty-one year old son has been having in getting a passport. He has been stonewalled and shuffled from one bureaucratic incompetence to another for years. I guess he has committed the "crime" of being born in a German hospital, while we were committing the unpardonable sin of serving our country overseas.

It appears that the situation can be fixed by obtaining "proper proof" of citizenship, paying a $75 application fee, getting passport photos, having identity certified by a notary public and then being prepared to wait many months while the backlog of citizenship applications is processed.

Now, do the math with the thousands of Canadians who have, unbeknownst to them, been stripped of their citizenship. How long do you think that would take to correct and where do you suppose these pseudo-Canadians might fit on the Liberal priority list? Heck, they can already vote through the vagaries of the flawed Canadian electoral system, just like other non-citizens. Why would they get priority over newer immigrants who can be convinced that they are here because of Liberal generosity, and be added to the voter pool?

It would be almost incomprehensible that a professional public service could practice such mind-blowing insanity, were it not for our experience with their masters in Cabinet. Apparently, DND and Immigration are on the side of reason, but Human Resources and Skills Development has the final say. They can change HRDC's name and Jane Stewart can leave, but nothing much has really changed. We're still paying these people to abuse us.

I have a couple of questions for the bureaucracy. Are the children of these alien Canadians also alien? Is this special insult reserved for members of Canada's military, who are so valued and respected by their government? Have Canadians who have served overseas with other government departments also spawned aliens? Do they know, one way or the other? When is the government going to tell them?

Anyone can touch one toe on Canadian soil and enjoy all the rights and privileges that so many thousands of Canadian military members have sacrificed to preserve. Now, their government is treating thousands of their children as undesirables. Sorta makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it? Maybe I should take up pizza delivery.


Blogger Neal Gray said...

One link to Peter Worthington's article is here:

It is unfortunate you have based your blog entry around the "essence" of the story, and not the actual facts.

The facts, if one reads Mr Worthington's article closely, are that these children ARE considered citizens of Canada. They merely have to go through the bureaucratic hassle of obtaining the appropriate documentation. That hassle isn't much different than the hassle any one of us Canadians has to endure to obtain our Canadian passport.

Should children of the Canadian Forces who were born overseas have to pay $75 to prove their citizenship? Probably not.

Is this one of the most pressing political issues of our time? No, it is not.

9:19 AM  
Blogger John the Mad said...

Mr. Gray, it is you who hasn't read carefully. The only reason why Human Resources Canada bureaucrats would destroy an existing SIN card is because the department they serve doesn't recognize the holder as a Canadian citizen.

Nor will they, apparently, unless and until the unfortunate military dependant wades through the federal bureaucratic miasma, however long that may take. The government simply does not go around destroying SIN cards of people they recognize as Canadian citizens. Until they're "documented" they're not recognized. Those are the facts.

Give 'em hell, Colonel. I will.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

That makes me so sad to hear. It just seems yet another kick in the teeth to our military. How can they even think of trying to rebuild it (all the radio ads currently about joining) when such basic rights are being violated. Just so very very sad. Thank you for blogging about it and bringing it to the surface.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Brent Colbert said...

I am happy to announce:

That Krista Bruton-Anderson has received her “Proof of Canadian Citizenship”. It arrived on Wednesday via courier. She can now go about reclaiming her SIN card but is still concerned that other people may not be aware of their status and still angry that she had to pay $75 to prove something that was already true.

7:14 AM  
Blogger MoMo said...

Interesting. As the son of an officer once posted to Europe, I am counting myself lucky that I was born inside Canada. However, some of my friends from the good old days may be in for some trouble.
So the government simply no longer recognizes the Social Insurance Numbers of these poor individuals. Does that mean they no longer have to pay taxes? Perhaps a failure to file for several years might grab some attention from CCRA and HRDC's mandarins?

1:07 PM  
Blogger Johnny Canuck said...

Now that's a post I can relate to. You really got me thinking, I enjoy reading this blog.

I don't know how others feel, but I'm definitely looking into immigration to Canada as an option. The good ól US of A aint what it used to be.

12:50 PM  

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