(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

Four fires still burning in West Kootenay

More than 25 fires were started by lightning in the last week.

Obscene phone calls keep RCMP busy

Several cases involved a number of obscene phone calls made to a Creston business.

Nine fires burning in West Kootenay

All fires considered to be lightning caused.

Lightning strikes cause fire in the Creston Valley

Two fires were located on Uri Road in Wynndel.

Castlegar mayor releases FCM itinerary

Bruno Tassone delivers promised report on activities at Quebec City municipal conference

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Police investigating fatal collision near Grave Lake

Grave Lake is located approximately halfway between Sparwood and Elkford

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Most Read