Vogler’s Cove couple lose their deportatation appeal

Published on March 15, 2017

Dave and Kat Wright of Vogler’s Cove have lost their deportation appeal – which means they are on the list to be deported to the United States. But the couple plans to continue fighting to stay in Canada.

VOGLER'S COVE - A couple from Vogler’s Cove who have been fighting a deportation order to the United States have lost their appeal to the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board.


David and Katherine Wright were given a removal order from Canada  in 2011,

The couple moved from the U.S. to Canada in 1972, and received landed immigrant status. They settled in Vogler’s Cove, where David tried lobster fishing, but after five disastrous years, David took a job in the United States.

They stayed there for 35 years.

In 2011, the couple returned to Vogler’s Cove, which they say they consider their home. They have the support of the community behind them.

But the federal government handed them a removal order – saying they did not meet the required 730 days in Canada per five years that would allow them to maintain their landed immigrant status.

They appealed that decision, and in 2014 they won the appeal on compassionate grounds.

But the federal government appealed, and after a hearing last fall, the decision has been released.

The Wright’ appeal has been dismissed.

The judge who heard the case, Haig Basmajian, said the decision was very hard to make.

“The tribunal also wishes to reiterate that this was a very difficult decision as these are quality individuals. If the criteria would have been would you want these people as your neighbours, objectively almost anyone would probably wish so.” he wrote.

“However, as mentioned from the outset there are criteria and limitations to discretionary power. It does not give the authority to modify or change existing legislation.”

The judge noted that although the Wright’s are well established in Vogler’s Cove, and have the support of their small community behind them, they have no family here.

The decision also said there would be no hardship for the couple to return to the United States.

“The tribunal cannot substitute itself to the legislator’s authority regarding some aspects which were brought up or implied, whether it is to give special consideration for individuals who immigrate and establish themselves and integrate themselves in small rural areas versus large urban centers where most immigration takes place, or if friends can substitute family, especially in the context of a small rural community with a declining population, or regarding the fact that there seems to be an absence in Canadian immigration legislation for individuals who simply want to retire full time in Canada, or even in this case, if a stay could be granted by opting out of the provincial medical coverage regime, he wrote.

“And the tribunal would be overstepping its boundaries by considering these aspects. The tribunal did however attempt to take a large and generous interpretation into the unique considerations of this case, however unfortunately, objectively, it could not find sufficient aspects to overcome the mentioned shortcomings regarding the appellants’ residency obligations.”

The Wrights say they intend to continue fighting to stay in their beloved Vogler’s Cove.

Their lawyer, Lee Cohen, will be at Vogler’s Cove Community Hall on April 2 at 3 p.m. to engage the community on the Wright’s behalf.

At the same time, Cohen is filing a Humanitarian and Compassionate Appeal to the government of Canada.

The couple are seeking letters of support from local people organizations, professionals, political and community leaders to augment that appeal.