University class takes on case of B.C. woman stripped of citizenship [Lost Canadian]
2016/12/06 Leave a comment
Good learning exercise (unclear whether the the person in question applied for an exemption, the normal route in such cases, which on the facts presented in the article, would likely have been granted):
A group of university students in Squamish, B.C., is hoping their school work will help change the life of a woman whose Canadian citizenship was stripped under a little-known policy.
Leanne Roderick, an instructor at Quest University, wanted the 20 students in her democracy and justice class to meet someone who was really wrestling with representative democracy in Canada, so she introduced them to a local woman named Byrdie Funk.
Funk was born in Mexico to Canadian parents and moved to a small community in Manitoba when she was two months old. Though her upbringing was quintessentially Canadian, Funk learned earlier this year that her nationality had been revoked.
An unknown number of people born abroad to Canadian parents between 1977 and 1981 were stripped of their nationality because they were unaware of an obscure piece of legislation requiring them to apply to retain their citizenship before the age of 28.
The American election made immigration a popular topic of conversation, and Roderick wanted her students to see how a real person was impacted by government policy.
“To be able to sit down with someone and hear their story, a very real story, I just wanted to put a face on this big issue of citizenship in Canada,” she explained.
After Funk spoke to the class, Roderick tasked them with developing a policy brief advising government on how politicians could help so-called lost Canadians.
The results were surprising, the instructor said, with students delivering in-depth, well-researched plans that included suggestions of private members’ bills and amendments to the Citizenship Act.
“They really are passionate. I think that age range kind of gets a bad rap sometimes, but they really do care and they really do want to be politically engaged citizens,” Roderick said.
Several students forwarded their work to MPs and cabinet ministers, encouraging them to get involved in Funk’s case.
Third-year student Ellie Fraser sent her policy brief to four MPs, but said not one responded, even with a note thanking her for writing.