After the Second World War, many countries - including Canada and Australia - tightened their citizenship laws without telling the hundreds of thousands of people who might be affected. Canadians and Australians who had taken citizenship in another country or war brides from the Second World War, for example, suddenly found themselves stripped of citizenship.These so-called "lost Canadians" may number in the hundreds of thousands. While there is a law pending in Australia to return citizenship to "lost Australians," "lost Canadians" (and some Canadian legislators) hope that Canada will adopt similar measures. One such "lost Canadian" is Kathleen Fremont:
Fremont, 84, is one of hundreds of thousands of so-called "lost Canadians" who was unknowingly stripped their citizenship through obscure sections of the 1947 Canadian Citizenship Act. Like many of them, she's stuck living in the U.S. because, even though she lived in Canada until she was 27, the government doesn't consider her Canadian.
Fremont, who was invited to swim for Canada at the 1936 Olympics, lost her citizenship when she moved to Reno, Nev., and got U.S. status so she could work at a casino there. She got married, settled in California and never thought twice about whether or not she was still Canadian - until she was planning to move back to Vancouver in 1989.
That's when the government told her she couldn't live in her home province because she was no longer Canadian.