(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

The federal government is taking the relatively rare step of revoking Canadian citizenship from a Chinese man because he allegedly got it through a bogus marriage.

The government is asking the Federal Court of Canada for a declaration that Yan Yang He fraudulently secured citizenship nine years ago.

A statement of claim filed by the citizenship minister accuses He of concealing that he entered into a marriage of convenience with his former spouse, Lisa Marie Mills, in 2004 after coming to Canada as a student. As a result, the statement says, the man was granted permanent-resident status in 2006 by way of spousal sponsorship, opening the door to Canadian citizenship four years later.

Ottawa revoked citizenship from 17 people between April 1, 2017, and May 7 of this year, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The move against He comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing.

China was angered by the arrest late last year of Chinese technology giant Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, in Vancouver following a request from U.S. authorities. Two Canadians have since been charged in China with trying to steal state secrets, a development widely seen as retaliation the technology executive’s arrest.

The Canadian Press’s attempts to contact He, last said to be living in Toronto, were unsuccessful.

The federal statement of claim says an investigation by the Canada Border Services Agency identified He as a recipient of the services of Wei Ren, who arranged marriages between Chinese nationals and Canadian citizens for a fee, to help them get permanent-resident status.

In 2011, Mills confirmed to the border agency that she entered into a marriage of convenience with He, the claim says. Mills admitted receiving $2,500 on the wedding day and $2,500 after He obtained a divorce from her two years later.

She acknowledged meeting He on only five occasions and that the pair never lived together — clashing with information He included in his application for permanent-resident status.

The government first took steps to revoke He’s Canadian citizenship in December 2016. However, the effort was derailed by a 2017 court decision that said an individual about to lose citizenship must be allowed a fair hearing.

Ottawa subsequently passed legislation that spells out new procedures, including an opportunity for the accused person to make written representations to the government.

The federal claim details the various steps taken by the minister last year to contact He at his last known address about his case and give him a chance to reply.

“The minister is satisfied that Mr. He was previously aware that a revocation proceeding against him had been commenced in 2016 and that all reasonable attempts have been made to notify Mr. He of the minister’s renewed intent to revoke his Canadian citizenship,” the federal claim says.

“Nevertheless, Mr. He has not made any contact with (the department) to ascertain the status of his citizenship revocation proceedings.”

As of Wednesday, He had yet to file his own submission with the court.

READ MORE: China holds appeal hearing for B.C. man sentenced to death

READ MORE: Arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to seek stay of extradition

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Water quality makes swimming unsafe at three beaches near Salmon Arm

The Adams Lake Indian Band has issued a water quality notice affecting beaches at three campgrounds.

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges cadet program on gendered policy

He wants the policy to be more gender inclusive

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Summer sun for Sunday

The forecast for the week ahead shows some rain but plenty of sun and warm tempertures.

In photos: Uptown Askew’s Family Day

The Uptown Askew’s Family Day event was filled with classic cars, face… Continue reading

CSRD to support cannabis growth in agricultural zones

Regional district revision brings policy in line with Agricultural Land Commission

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Second osprey chick dies, Okanagan web cam off

The second chick in an osprey nest featured on the Town of Osoyoos website has died

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

Fire department helps with body recovery in Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Police on scene at Penticton beach

RCMP were at a what is believed to be a crime scene near Skaha Beach Sunday

Community service ordered for Princeton man who stole from firefighters

A young man who stole food and money from the Princeton Volunteer… Continue reading

Most Read