Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is not following through with plans to renounce his U.S. citizenship, despite saying he would do so during last year’s federal election campaign.
Mr. Scheer said he was in the process of renouncing his American status last October, after news of his dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship rocked the Conservative campaign. Mr. Scheer, who has since announced plans to step aside after the election of a new Conservative leader, told CTV’s Question Period on Sunday he will keep his U.S. citizenship for “personal reasons.”
“After making the decision to step down, knowing that I won’t be prime minister, I discontinued that process [to renounce U.S. citizenship],” Mr. Scheer said.
Asked when he decided to keep his American citizenship, Mr. Scheer said, "I’d have to go back and check.”
The Conservatives declined to elaborate on Mr. Scheer’s comments on Sunday, including the reason for and timing of his decision.
Mr. Scheer faced questions about his dual citizenship after The Globe and Mail first reported it last October.
At the time, Mr. Scheer said he made the decision to renounce his American status after he became leader of the party in May, 2017. However, a spokesman for his campaign said Mr. Scheer didn’t submit paperwork to renounce his citizenship until last August and was waiting for confirmation of his request.
When asked on the campaign trail why he waited until August to inform the U.S. government, Mr. Scheer said he was focused on other things, such as getting ready for the election, but noted it had always been his intention.
“I’ve actually been very honest about it. My father’s always been very open about where he’s come from and I haven’t been asked the question," Mr. Scheer said last year.
Mr. Scheer’s father, who was born in the United States and holds joint citizenship, obtained American citizenship and passports for his son and two daughters when they were born in Canada, the Conservative spokesman said during the election campaign. The spokesman said Mr. Scheer had let his U.S. passport lapse and had never voted in U.S. elections but had regularly filed taxes, as required.
Mr. Scheer had raised concerns about the dual allegiance of former governor-general Michaëlle Jean before she gave up her French citizenship to assume the post. In a 2005 blog, he asked his constituents whether it was appropriate for Ms. Jean to hold dual Canadian-French citizenship.
The Conservatives were also critical of former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion’s dual Canadian-French citizenship during the 2008 election and attacked former NDP leader Tom Mulcair for holding French citizenship in the 2015 campaign.
The race to replace Mr. Scheer is under way, with a deadline of Aug. 21 for Conservative party members to mail in their ballots. Leadership hopefuls include former Tory cabinet minister Peter MacKay and Conservative MP Erin O’Toole.
Mr. Scheer told CTV he intends to stay on as the member of Parliament for Regina-Qu’Appelle, Sask., and run in the next federal election.
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