Pubdate: Tue, 26 Apr 2005
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2005 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Alexandra Paul


Sent To Britain After 53 Years

A 53-year-old man who's lived in Canada since he was eight weeks old
was deported to Britain yesterday over a drug conviction, despite a
last-ditch church campaign to keep him here.

Scott Tyler left behind the only life he knew.

But the harsh reality is that he pleaded guilty to trafficking crack
cocaine, which automatically means deportation for anyone without a
Canadian passport.

So Tyler, a British-born landed immigrant with a grown daughter and
stepson in this country, turned himself over to Immigration Canada
officials yesterday -- under the sad gaze of his common-law wife and
two United Church officials who tried and failed, in phone calls and
letters, to persuade Immigration Minister Joe Volpe to set the
deportation aside.

The church will keep working to convince Ottawa to let Tyler return to
Canada, Young United Church housing co-ordinator Brian Pannell said.

"It's a very good case. We have the support of local politicians, his
physician... and the province's income assistance program, which has
offered to pay to retrain him. And they don't usually do that,"
Pannell said. After serving eight months for his 2001 drug conviction,
Tyler was released from Stony Mountain penitentiary and afterward
became a devoted member of the United Church's congregation at West
Broadway's Community Ministry.

Yesterday, minutes before surrendering himself in front of the Air
Canada ticket counter at the Winnipeg International Airport, Tyler,
dressed in an old windbreaker and rumpled jeans, looked at a reporter
and said: "Help!"

"I'm lost. The reality of it all is just coming and crashing down on
me," he said.

Today, when Tyler's Air Canada flight touches down at London's
Heathrow Airport, his only plan is to seek out the airport chaplain
and ask for the location of the nearest hostel.

After that, Tyler said he doesn't know what he will do. He says he has
no relatives or friends in the United Kingdom.

Fifty years ago, life was full of promise. His father, John Tyler,
trained as a fighter pilot with the Royal Air Force in the Second
World War but the war ended before he saw action and he brought his
wife and son to Canada for a better life.

The elder Tyler rose from a draftsman to a manager with former
brokerage James Richardson and Sons, and served as president of the
Winnipeg Press Club.

In contrast, Scott carved out a role for himself as a prodigal son. He
fell into drugs as a teenager growing up in St. Vital, lived as an
adult mostly in Calgary and returned to Winnipeg after his father died
in 1998, close family friends said. They remember drug problems being
a constant irritant between father and son.

Still, that doesn't mean it's all right to kick the son out of the
only country he can remember, one acquaintance said.

Because of his drug conviction, Tyler has little prospect for a decent
job in his father's country and an old back injury means he can't do
manual labour.

One official admitted at the airport yesterday that the political
timing was all wrong to get action, after former Immigration Minister
Judy Sgro was forced out of office by allegations, which she denied,
that her department gave preferential treatment to foreign strippers
who wanted to stay in Canada, and to a restaurant owner who said he
was asked to donate free food to Sgro's campaign team.

"There's a fear of acting on any discretionary application," said
Pannell. "When the polls are showing Canadians favour a move toward a
more conservative party, they're starting to make moves toward a
conservative position, and this sure is a more conservative position."
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