Now this is absolutely incredible!
From the Toronto Sun Newspaper, Sunday Edition, by Peter Worthington.
You are not going to believe this.
At first I didn't, but I do now: Are you aware that someone born in a hospital on a Canadian military base overseas to Canadian parents in the Armed Forces is not automatically a Canadian citizen?
This, despite having a Canadian birth certificate and social insurance number (SIN)?
Krista Bruton-Anderson is such a case.
She was born in the military hospital on the Canadian base at Lahr, Germany, where her father was a soldier (Intelligence Corps). A birth certificate was issued.
When her parents returned to Canada, so did Krista, where she has lived ever since.
Life was normal until she grew up, got married -- then tried to get her SIN changed to her married name.
The ministry of human resources rejected her birth certificate and said no, she wasn't a Canadian citizen, and destroyed her social insurance card.
When contacted, DND public affairs at first insisted there must be a mistake -- children born overseas to service personnel, especially on a Canadian base, were automatically citizens.
Citizenship and immigration in Ottawa also believed being born on a Canadian military base to Canadian military parents and possessing a Canadian birth certificate was proof of citizenship.
Krista knows otherwise.
It seems Human Resources Canada has changed the rules since 9/11, without the apparent knowledge of DND and immigration.
In 2003, the Oakville office of Human Resources Canada sent Krista's birth certificate and SIN card to Ottawa with the application for a new card in her married name, Anderson.
"A few weeks later I was contacted and told my application had been returned as I didn't have proper proof of Canadian citizenship, and that my SIN card had been destroyed," Anderson says. "I have been without a SIN card ever since."
At first she thought it was a bureaucratic mix-up.
No, she was told, it was new security legislation after 9/11, and that she'd have to obtain "proper proof" of citizenship, pay a $75 application fee, get passport photos, have her identity certified by a notary public and then be prepared to wait eight months while the backlog of citizenship applications was processed.
"Needless to say I was astounded," Krista says. "I've lived in Canada constantly since my parents came home when I was around 1 year old. Today I am a Canadian but not a Canadian -- no identity, no SIN. Why should I have to pay to get citizenship when I've never been anything but a Canadian citizen?"
Why indeed? Her father, Dave Bruton, who retired from the military after 37 years, is equally upset. "This should concern every service family abroad. A child born on a Canadian Forces base, in a Forces hospital, under the Canadian flag, to Canadian citizens, should have all the rights of citizenship as if they were born anywhere in Canada."
That was exactly the view of DND when I called them. It was also the view of Immigration Canada, when I called. That said, it seems Human Resources Canada is the final authority.
Krista has contacted her MP's constituency office, where she was treated sympathetically, but without results.
I phoned the human resources and was told that since 9/11 a birth certificate of someone born outside Canada is no longer acceptable as proof of citizenship. A Canadian citizenship card is necessary for a SIN card - and that has to be applied for, at a $75 fee. Tough luck, Krista.
The constituency office of her MP (Liberal Gary Carr) wants to help, but it's helpless when confronted by a bureaucracy whose departments can't agree. Without a social insurance number, Krista is virtually stateless, and she is filing a formal complaint.
I wonder how many of our married Armed Forces personnel overseas realize their second-class status? It's a slap in the face of our military. How dare an agency of government reduce the families of Armed Forces personnel to supplicants and charge them money to prove their citizenship? What kind of security is that anyway?
What kind of prime minister is Paul Martin that he allows such an indignity imposed on those who serve the country overseas?