Glenda Hutton

[Nov 26, 2008 11:02 AM]

A 66-year-old former school secretary from Vancouver Island has had to shelve her retirement dream of travelling the world because her name is on a secret no-fly list.

"I am a Canadian citizen," Glenda Hutton of Courtenay, B.C. told the CBC. "I was born and raised here. My parents were born and raised here. I have no political affiliations. I am not a criminal. Why would my name be on a list? It just doesn't make any sense."

Mrs. Hutton first learned she was on the list in October 2007, when she tried to check in at the Comox airport for an Air Canada flight to Calgary. After some delay, she was allowed to fly, but the incident worried her because she and her husband - a 25-year-veteran of the Canadian military - were three weeks away from taking a dream trip to Thailand.

Her husband called their travel agent to ask whether they should be concerned. The agent told them that Japan Airlines had confirmed that Mrs. Hutton did, indeed, have a problem because her name was on a no-fly list.

"They (Japan Airlines) did say they could probably get us out of Canada," she said "But, they didn't think it was a very good idea to go to Thailand or Japan because they couldn't guarantee that I wouldn't have problems with the authorities there."

Since then Mrs. Hutton has been trying to clear her name: "Thirteen months of bureaucracy. You know, I think they thought I was just going to go away."

She contacted her MP, Passport Canada, Transport Canada, the RCMP and Homeland Security in the U.S., but no one has been able to help.

Transport Canada said her name was not on Canada's Passenger Protect Program list and couldn't help. Passport Canada wrote "In fact … you should always be questioned since a name similar to yours appears to be on an American list."

The Department of Homeland Security Travelers Redress Identity Program said it couldn't help either "Because the delays were not related to flights within or bound for the United States…"

Mrs. Hutton who said she worked her whole life dreaming on international travel is hoping someone "higher up in the Canadian government" will step up and help her clear her name and give her back her freedom to travel.