Kathryn and David Wright, a couple from the U.S. who call Lunenburg County home, are gathering support from civic governments as they fight a federal government decision denying their ability to become permanent residents.
The Wrights, now 74, lived in Voglers Cove during the 1970s, having achieved landed immigrant status. They left for economic reasons, but with the intention of returning. That status was invalidated after they arrived back in Voglers Cove in 2012 because they didn't possess the specific number of days required to maintain permanent residency status.
The couple successfully appealed to Ottawa and received permanent residency status. The federal government countered with a successful appeal of its own and the Wright's status was denied again.
"It was the second hearing that our permanent resident's status was denied, although the tribunal said everything that they could; that we would be good citizens, that we were good people and should be welcomed in Canada but [they] didn't have the authority," Kathryn told a January 22 meeting of town council in Bridgewater.
The Main Street of the South Shore is one of the stops where advocates of the Wrights sought letters of support to forward to Ottawa as part of an impending compassionate grounds appeal. Advocates for the couple say the Wrights face possible permanent expulsion.
"Considering that rural Nova Scotia is struggling to attract qualified migrants, the Wrights have proven themselves as a welcome addition to our collective population," Christina Andrews told council, reading from prepared text.
"We find this couple to be personally and professionally valuable to the fabric of our community. They are highly qualified, well-integrated, low-maintenance, fully functioning citizens of Canada whose practice is to give with open hands and leave things better than they found them."
Bridgewater agreed to put its backing in writing, as have Shelburne and the Municipality of Lunenburg.
David Mitchell, Bridgewater's mayor, described the Wrights as contributors and not burdens to the community and said he is perplexed at the permanent residency flip-flop.
Kathryn founded a free library program at the Voglers Cove Community Hall and is involved in writing groups in the Bridgewater area. David is a founding member of the United Communities volunteer fire department and is an experienced technical designer who helps people with business and personal projects. He's also known for his guitar talents.
"They are financially responsible and continue to do contracted work in technical design and in editing," Andrews told council. "They have volunteered, supported and helped develop various programs for the fire department, the schools and the community centre."
The Wrights have retained renowned immigration lawyer Lee Cohen to assist with their case.