Nova Scotia

Fliss Cramman saved from deportation to U.K. by federal order

A federal Liberal cabinet minister has stepped in to save Fliss Cramman from being sent back to the United Kingdom, according to her lawyers.

Woman was shackled to Dartmouth, N.S., hospital bed

Fliss Cramman avoids deportation to U.K.

5 years ago
0:40
A federal Liberal cabinet minister has stepped in to save Fliss Cramman from being sent back to the United Kingdom, according to her lawyers. 0:40

A federal Liberal cabinet minister has stepped in to save Fliss Cramman from being sent back to the United Kingdom, according to her lawyers.

The 33-year-old woman, who came to Canada at the age of eight, was facing deportation from Canada as early as Dec. 16 due to convictions for drug trafficking, break and enter and possessing stolen property.

Fliss Cramman reacts after being told she will not be deported to Britain after an intervention by federal Immigration Minister John McCallum. (Jack Julian/CBC)

Cramman, who suffers from a serious medical condition, was taken into custody by the Canadian Border Services Agency after her August release from the Nova Institution for Women in Truro, N.S.

The mother of four suffered a perforated bowel while in immigration detention at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth.

Unprecedented move

On Friday, Immigration Minister John McCallum intervened in her case on compassionate grounds, according to her lawyer, John O'Neill, and Emma Halpern, a lawyer with the Elizabeth Fry Society.

In what they call an unprecedented move, McCallum ordered Cramman's Canadian permanent residency status to be immediately restored and for her to be released from immigration custody.

Fliss Cramman wipes away tears after being informed she will not be deported to the United Kingdom. (Jack Julian/CBC)

"Honestly, I'm blown away right now. I knew that perseverance and getting my story out there would make people understand that what was being done to me was really wrong," Cramman said shortly after the news was announced.

"I just hoped people would hear my story, she said. "I'm glad that the right people heard it. I don't even really believe it yet."

Halpern said Cramman is very thankful to be spared an uncertain future, one that may have been lethal to her precarious health.

'Overwhelmed, in tears'

"Fliss is pretty overwhelmed, in tears," Halpern said. "We are very thankful to the incredible team of people that worked with Fliss to make it all happen and to the minister of immigration to made a wonderful decision and really did the right thing in a complex case."

Cramman is now eligible for Nova Scotia health coverage. 

Fliss Cramman keeps a newspaper clipping of her case beside her bed. (CBC)

Cramman became a ward of the court in Ontario around age 12, but was never granted Canadian citizenship.

According to documents from the Parole Board of Canada, Cramman suffered from the effects of violence and alcoholism in her home.

Shackled by ankle to hospital bed

As a minor, she also suffered violent sexual abuse outside her home.

Advocates from the Elizabeth Fry Society say Cramman's struggles with mental health, addiction and criminality stem from her childhood experiences in Canada.

Fliss Cramman, here with her daughter, faced a deportation hearing Sept. 23, 2016 (Fliss Cramman)

She's been under guard at the Dartmouth General Hospital, undertaking a long recovery after several bowel surgeries.

For several weeks, Nova Scotia corrections officers kept Cramman shackled by her ankle to her hospital bed.

To stay in Sydney

She was unshackled after Nova Scotia Justice Minister Diana Whalen intervened.

Today's development mean Cramman is free to leave the Dartmouth General Hospital as a federal parolee.

The Elizabeth Fry Society plans to take Cramman to Sydney to house her and help with her continued medical and psychological recovery.

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