Dutchman who came to Canada as infant faces expulsion

Arriving as an infant, a Dutchman has been fighting Canada's laws for the past nine years

Dutchman who came to Canada as infant faces expulsion

World Bulletin / News Desk

A 59-year old Dutchman who spent all but the earliest months of infancy in Canada will be expelled to the Netherlands next week, a court here ruled on Friday.

Len Van Heest has spent the past nine years fighting extradition to the Netherlands, a country which he left at the age of eight months and where he doesn't speak the language.

Van Heest arrived in Canada with his parents in 1958. Despite growing up here, he never obtained Canadian citizenship.

He was diagnosed at the age of 16 with bipolar disorder, and later became addicted to drugs and began to abuse alcohol.

He also over the years had dozens of run-ins with the law, crimes he said were mostly committed during the manic phase of his illness.

Van Heest now is being forced to leave Canada following tough new legislation approved by the previous conservative government mandating the expulsion of any foreigner convicted of a crime who has been sentenced to more than six months in prison.

A federal judge in Vancouver, in Canada's western province of British Columbia set a March 6 date for Van Heest's expulsion in a 15-page ruling.

The Dutch national told local media that he wants to stay in Canada to be near his aging mother, who is 81 years old, and said his impending expulsion is a miscarriage of justice.

"I've paid my debt to society for the things I have done, you know. I've done my time, I've paid my debt, and now they're giving me a life sentence," he said in a television interview late last month.

Chief Judge Paul Crampton, of the federal court in Vancouver acknowledged that Van Heest "may suffer a level of inconvenience and difficulty in settling into life in the Netherlands that is greater than that which is typically associated with a person's removal from Canada.

"However, he appears to have done very little to minimize such inconvenience and difficulty by taking proactive steps to make arrangements for his needs in the Netherlands," the judge said.

Under an earlier version of the controversial law, expulsion became mandatory after an immigrant received a prison sentence of two years or longer.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Mart 2017, 14:36
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