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Chris Selley: An elite surfer finally gets rightful Canadian citizenship. Other ‘lost Canadians’ keep waiting

Chris Selley: An elite surfer finally gets rightful Canadian citizenship. Other ‘lost Canadians’ keep waiting

Sixteen-year-old Olympic surfing hopeful Erin Brooks is now a Canadian citizen. It’s good news for many families and children in the same position

The good news arrived Saturday morning: After a protracted battle and initial rejection by Ottawa, 16-year-old surfing phenom Erin Brooks will become a Canadian citizen. It means she can compete under the Canadian flag at the International Surfing Association World Championships next month in Puerto Rico, which is the last chance to qualify for the Olympics this summer. Some peg her as a medal favourite.

“One of the most exciting surfers on the planet,” is how a commentator describes Brooks in a video of her Friday performance at the World Surf League’s World Junior Championships in San Diego. For the benefit of surfing ignoramuses like myself, Dom Domic, executive director of Surf Canada, likens her to Sidney Crosby — someone who “was on the radar super-early (in life) and followed through on it.”

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“She’s that big a deal,” says Domic. “She literally will change the game.”

“I have never been prouder to wear the Maple Leaf,” Brooks said on Saturday, thanking Immigration Minister Marc Miller for his decision, NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan for advocating on her behalf, and “the entire group of amazing Canadians that supported me.” (Brooks had competed under the Canadian flag in the past, though surfing bureaucrats eventually ruled she had been ineligible to do so.) “I believe that I will do something truly special for my country thanks to your gift of citizenship.”

Erin Brooks also may go down in history as the most high-profile initial beneficiary of a significant change in Canadian citizenship law. By rights, this should be good news for a lot of other families.

Source: nationalpost.com

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