Headline News By Mia Rabson 177 Views

Scheer won’t explain travel to America as citizen without valid U.S. passport

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is refusing to explain how he travelled to the United States as a citizen without a valid U.S. passport.

Multiple requests to the party for an explanation have been ignored over the last 11 days.

The United States Immigration and Nationality Act says it is against the law for U.S. citizens — including dual nationals — to enter or leave the United States unless they are using a valid American passport.

Earlier in the campaign, Scheer confirmed he held dual citizenship in Canada and the United States, the latter passed to him by his American-born father. Scheer said his parents applied for the citizenship and a U.S. passport on his behalf when he was a child, but that he hasn’t renewed his passport since becoming an adult.

He is in the process of relinquishing his U.S. citizenship after filing the paperwork in August a few weeks before the campaign began. He said he intended to do so when he won the Conservative leadership, but did not get around to it for more than two years.

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U.S. passports are valid for up to 10 years, which means Scheer couldn’t have held a U.S. passport for at least the last 12 years if he hadn’t renewed it as an adult.

Members of Parliament can hold special passports for use on official Canadian business trips abroad, but the United States and Canada restrict their use for official business only and not personal travel. The United States requires special passport holders to apply for a visa for official business trips.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper tightened the rules for use of special passports in 2011 after stories emerged about their being misused for personal travel. The policies were changed to prevent their use for personal travel except by the Governor General, prime minister and their family members, and members of the Privy Council, which Scheer has been a member of since September 2017.

U.S. law still requires a visa to be obtained for official business trips even by the prime minister or Governor General.