If there was any doubt regarding Donald Sutherland’s heritage, the actor has dispelled any misconceptions by penning an honest and light-hearted opinion piece for the Globe and Mail. “My name is Donald Sutherland. My wife’s name is Francine Racette. We are Canadians. We each hold one passport. A Canadian passport,” writes the 80-year old, who is speaking out against federal voting restrictions for ex-pats.
The iconic actor and his French-Canadian wife of 43 years spend most of their time in the United States but “live in Canada all the time we can,” adds Donald. “They ask me at the border why I don’t take American citizenship. I could still be Canadian, they say. You could have dual citizenship. But I say no, I’m not dual anything. I’m Canadian.”
The Hunger Games’ star jokes that he is so patriotic that, “There’s a maple leaf in my underwear somewhere. There used to be a beaver there, too, but I’m 80 now and beavers are known to take off when you’re in your 80s.” And perhaps most importantly, “My sense of humour is Canadian.”
Born in Saint John, N.B., Donald has had a bit of a nomadic lifestyle since heading to Great Britain to study theatre after completing a degree in engineering at the University of Toronto. Hollywood soon came calling and the formidable star found himself filming movies and television shows around the globe. His son Rossif was born in Vancouver and although his eldest children, Kiefer and Rachel, were born in the UK, the twin siblings were raised in the Great White North. Donald also maintains a family home in Quebec.
In his essay, Donald goes on to note that Americans who live abroad are permitted to vote in national elections and can’t fathom why the same allowance isn’t offered in Canada. “Ask any journalist that’s ever interviewed me what nationality I proudly proclaim to have. Ask them. They’ll tell you. I am a Canadian. But I’m an expatriate and the government won’t let expatriates participate in Canadian elections.” The actor is set to return home in September for TIFF, where he will premiere his latest flick Forsaken, in which he stars alongside his son Kiefer.