"She just broke down in tears She was just so excited. It was a really special moment."
Following the “cruel and sadistic” rejection of Erin Brooks’ Canadian citizenship a few months back, the country’s immigration minister Marc Miller has done a switcharoo and gifted the kid her prized new passport.
Sixteen-year-old Erin Brooks was born in Texas and raised in Hawaii to Canada-born daddy, Jeff, a second-generation Canadian. She wanted to compete for Canada at the 2024 Paris Games, had proved her lineage, her ability to speak a passable version of French (unlike most Quebecoise) and was considered a favourite at Teahupoo given her formidable skills at a wave that gives the reigning men’s world champ night terrors.
A fait accompli for Erin Brooks to join Team Canada, non?
Oui mais no, said the Canadian government.
Erin Brooks had some heavy hitters on her side, howevs.
Don Chapman, the author of The Lost Canadians: A struggle for citizenship rights, equality and identity, contacted the family and told ‘em he was going to move heaven and hell to get her into the Canadian team.
When I spoke to Chapman in October, he said he went to the seat of power in Ottawa and was peppered with questions about Erin Brooks. They wanted to know her full story, her culture and identity.
“They’re denying her identity,” he had said. “Erin Brooks could go compete for a lot of other countries but in her heart and her identity she’s Canadian. But they don’t want to give the appearance of her jumping the queue.”
To point out the absurdity of Canada’s citizenship laws, he got me to read about a recent decision by PM Justin Trudeau to gift a new life to a girl who ran away from her parents in Saudi Arabia.
“She had no connection to Canada, nothing, never stopped foot in Canada and Trudeau reaches out and says we want you, we’ll protect you.”
Today’s change of mind by the Canadian government, came after a ruling by Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice that it’s “unconstitutional for Canada to deny automatic citizenship to the kids of foreign-born Canadians citizens who grew up abroad.”
“I love Canada. I have never been prouder to wear the Maple Leaf,” Erin Brooks said in a statement.
“To Minister Marc Miller and MP Jenny Kwan (a critic of the government who advocated for Brooks), you have changed my life. I believe that I will do something truly special for my country thanks to your gift of citizenship.”
It was fitting that Chapman broke the news to Erin Brooks over the phone.
“She just broke down in tears She was just so excited ” Jeff Brooks said from California where his daughter had been competing. “It was a really special moment.”