Lost Canadians leader proud to march for others

Charter of Rights and Freedoms March

The leader of the Lost Canadians, Gibsons’ Don Chapman, says he is proud to march in Canada’s inaugural Charter of Rights and Freedoms March in Vancouver next Friday.

On April 17 at 9:30 a.m., citizens will march from the Olympic Village sky train station to David Lam Park in Vancouver.

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The Rights and Freedoms March is a chance to celebrate how far Canada has come in the equal rights movement, while also recognizing that more work needs to be done.

Chapman was born in Vancouver, but lost his citizenship when he was six years old. He has been fighting for it ever since and fighting for other Canadians citizenship rights.

Lost Canadians are Canadian citizens who were stripped of their citizenship by arcane provisions of the 1947 Canadian Citizenship Act.

The 1947 Act was based on old, archaic legislation that considered women and children chattel of their husbands or fathers. The original laws were written just after Confederation in the mid-1800s, and they weren’t corrected until the passage and implementation of Bill C-37 on April 17, 2009 — ironically it was the 27th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Here I became a leader of this cause, and you think ‘how crazy’ — a country that says it’s such a wonderful country, yet these discriminations are happening [here],” Chapman said. “You hear all of these stories, and after a while you come away and say, we can do better. This is a way that we can do better.

“We have come a long way, and we should be proud, but we have a long ways to go.”

Organizers of the Rights and Freedoms March are drawing inspiration from the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Their goal is to expand King’s words and deeds outside the United States by having Vancouver as its first international city to host this march.

“Everyone is welcome. We want this to go nation-wide — this is a very Canadian march and every year we should go out and reaffirm our rights and our freedoms,” Chapman said.

Learn more about the march at: www.rightsandfreedomsmarch.com.

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