Ted Cruz, Canadian, eh?

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at a fundraising picnic for the Republican Party in Iowa.
(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

Should Ted Cruz really go rushing off to get rid of his Canadian citizenship as if it were some awful disease?

The Texas Republican senator and tea party darling was born in Canada to a U.S. mother and Cuban father who were working in Calgary, Alberta, at the time.

Now, if the Cruz camp were really clever, it could argue that Calgary is just the Texas of Canada, what with the Calgary Stampede and all.


But Cruz isn’t going thataway. The Dallas Morning News published Cruz’s birth certificate showing his entry into this world on Canadian soil, which means he has dual citizenship whether he likes it or not. This seemed to be news to Cruz. Within hours, he had this to say:

“Now the Dallas Morning News says I may technically have dual citizenship. Assuming that is true” -- I love that part, as if somehow there’s a Canadian law carve-out just for him -- “I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and a U.S. senator; I believe I should be only an American.”

The process of rejecting the maple leaf forever requires four pages of paperwork and a $100 fee.

Being born somewhere other than in the physical United States did not bar the presidential candidacy of George Romney, Mitt Romney’s Mexican-born father, whose grandparents moved from Utah to Mexico in the 19th century because of a crackdown on polygamists. Barry Goldwater was born in the Arizona Territory, before there was a state of Arizona. John McCain was born to a military couple serving in the Panama Canal.

Liberal pundits are already gleeful about Cruz’s Canadian birth. Barack Obama, who was incontrovertibly born in Hawaii, the 50th state, has been bedeviled by obsessive “birthers” who claim he can’t be a natural-born citizen, as the Constitution requires of presidents, because his father was not an American citizen. These are the same people who paradoxically complain that citizenship is automatically conferred on “anchor babies” -- their term for children born on U.S. soil to Mexican women who enter this country illegally.

In vain, I searched the website of Cruz’s hometown newspaper, the Calgary Herald, for some expressions of hurt that this man who spent the first four years of his life in Canada would be so quick to give up the legal standing that extends to him full status in our neighbor to the north -- even running for the Canadian parliament if this Senate thing didn’t pan out.

But imagine the horrific scenarios that must have run through Cruz’s mind when the full force of his Canadian self hit home. The taunts he figured would be coming his way in the Senate cloakroom: “Socialized medicine sissy!” The mutterings from diners as he campaigned at a Texas barbecue joint: “Gonna have a side of poutine with them ribs?” The question that he couldn’t help asking himself as he sat with the TV changer wand in hand: “Why did I insist on buying a cable package with a curling channel?” And worst of all, as a fully fledged Canadian, he’d be expected to learn French.

I wonder whether Cruz is acting too hastily to de-Canadify himself.

It could be a singular advantage. If he were elected president, he’d own two-thirds of NAFTA nationality -- the leader of two-thirds of North America. We’d never have a military contretemps like the one thefilm “Canadian Bacon” portended. The U.S. could get a great deal on maple syrup, and Canada could get most-favored-nation status when it came to buying Texas hot sauce.

But it does give him the perfect presidential campaign theme song for 2016, courtesy of “South Park”: “Blame Canada.”


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