Two different biblical answers:
“The Lord…visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7 = Deuteronomy 5:8-10)
“The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son.” Ezekiel 18:19-20 ESV
Photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
“Alexander Foley” (above) was born in Toronto in 1994. At the time, his parents were living under false names, posing as Canadians, while being Russian citizens and undercover spies for the Russian foreign intelligence service. The child growing up had no idea that his parents were spies. He believed that his name was Alexander Foley, and that he was a Canadian citizen by birth. He lived as a Canadian child, and held a Canadian passport.
However, in 2010, after the family had moved to the United States, the FBI arrested his parents and charged them with espionage. They pleaded guilty and were deported to Russia. Alexander’s whole world as he knew it fell apart.
He was 16 at the time, and suddenly found himself living in Russia, with the strange new name Alexander Vavilov. After his parents’ arrest, Alexander wanted to renew his Canadian passport. But in 2014, Canada’s Registrar of Citizenship cancelled his certificate of citizenship, preventing him from obtaining a passport. He challenged her decision in court.
Does Canadian law require that the innocent son (now age 25) be denied Canadian citizenship because his parents were Russian spies? Should the court allow the Registrar’s decision to remain in force, or should it overrule it? That was the legal issue before the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in this case.
But the SCC went beyond Alexander’s personal issue to examine, and to try to repair, the confused state of Canadian law governing judicial review of government decisions. Was the SCC successful? That is the subject of Part 2 of this post.