WHY CANADA? WHY THE U.S.?
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 4, 2016) — On Tuesday, The Post & Email spoke by phone with Canadian journalist Gillian Steward, who knew former 2016 presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s parents in Calgary when they operated their geological-support business, R.B. Cruz & Associates, in the Albertan city in 1968.
Steward said that she and her former husband socialized with Rafael Bienvenido Cruz and Eleanor Cruz prior to the birth of her first child in 1969. Macleans of Canada and other publications have quoted Steward when writing about Ted Cruz’s early years in Calgary, where he was born on December 22, 1970.
Cruz’s eligibility to the U.S. presidency, given the “natural born Citizen” requirement of Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the Constitution, has been a subject of debate since he declared his candidacy on March 23, 2015. On Tuesday night, Ted Cruz suspended his campaign following a second-place showing in the Indiana primary resulting from what he said was a “foreclosed” path to the Republican nomination.
Shortly after Cruz’s Canadian birth certificate was published by The Dallas Morning News on August 18, 2013, Steward wrote a column in which she opined that “Being born outside the U.S. is a definite no-no for anyone who wants to occupy the Oval Office.”
Many in the United States interpret the “natural born Citizen” clause the same way. A number of U.S. Supreme Court cases have tangentially touched on the definition of “natural born Citizen,” including consideration of the parents’ citizenship as well as the child’s birthplace.
The Post & Email exchanged several emails with Steward prior to speaking with her by telephone on Tuesday.
We first asked if she observed Rafael and Eleanor’s business interactions for R.B. Cruz & Associates, the geological business they launched in response to Alberta’s burgeoning oil and gas industry in the late 1960s. In response Steward told The Post & Email that “My first husband worked with them, and we did socialize with them for about a year before my daughter was born. They were obviously very well-suited professionally, although I would say Eleanor was probably the brains behind the company in the sense that she developed the software, which was pretty cutting-edge at the time.
“Rafael was very much a promoter and salesman, and he knew how to get out there and sell, so they were well-matched in that sense. Most of the time I spent with them, it was always the four of us, with my husband, and they were always talking business, to be honest. I wouldn’t say that they were particularly affectionate with each other; it seemed more like a professional relationship than a personal relationship.”
THE POST & EMAIL: Did you ever get to see the computer equipment they used?
MS. STEWARD: No, I never went to their offices or anything like that; my ex was a geophysicist, so he would have done that, but I never did.
THE POST & EMAIL: Were you still visiting when Ted was born?
MS. STEWARD: No, I don’t think I ever saw Ted. If I did, I don’t remember. He was born a year or so after my daughter.
THE POST & EMAIL: We don’t know much about his years up there. Were you aware when the parents split up?
MS. STEWARD: No, I didn’t know anything about that. I knew that they had moved back to Texas because my husband eventually went down to work with them after we had separated.
THE POST & EMAIL: Were you in touch with him then?
MS. STEWARD: I wasn’t really in touch with him; maybe once or twice by letter, but that was all.
THE POST & EMAIL: Is your ex-husband still in the United States?
MS. STEWARD: No, he died quite a few years ago.
THE POST & EMAIL: It would have been interesting to interview him.
MS. STEWARD: Yes, he would have known a lot, because he and Rafael were good friends, and then, obviously, he went to work with him. So he would have known a lot.
THE POST & EMAIL: Do you know what type of business Rafael launched upon his return to Texas?
MS. STEWARD: It was the same kind of business he had in Calgary.
THE POST & EMAIL: Did you notice any heavy drinking going on when you socialized with them? Ted has said publicly that they were “drinking heavily” when his parents split up.
MS. STEWARD: We were certainly drinking alcoholic drinks when we were together, but I don’t remember seeing Rafael or Eleanor drunk. I can see how alcohol could have become a problem for Rafael because he was an outgoing guy, and he did a lot of business in cocktail bars and things like that. But it doesn’t seem to ring true for me for Eleanor. I didn’t know her at the time, so I can’t say for sure, but just having known her, it doesn’t seem to me like that.
THE POST & EMAIL: Was she a serious kind of person?
MS. STEWARD: Yes, very much so, and very quiet and reticent. Rafael was the gregarious one, and she was quiet. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind or anything, but she didn’t need to dominate a conversation.
THE POST & EMAIL: Did she ever talk about having lived in the UK at all?
MS. STEWARD: No, I didn’t know about that until some other reporters brought that up.
THE POST & EMAIL: I didn’t know until a couple of months ago when I read a McClatchy article which said that they reached her first husband, Alan Wilson, in the UK.
MS. STEWARD: You know what? There was a reporter who came here from The New York Times, and I talked to him for quite a while. He said that Alan Wilson is suffering from Alzheimer’s. The New York Times reporter was pretty surprised that that wasn’t mentioned in the story.
THE POST & EMAIL: Did The New York Times reporter say that he spoke with Alan Wilson?
MS. STEWARD: I don’t remember exactly what he said; he seemed to have some firsthand knowledge of it. I don’t know if he spoke to somebody who knew Alan Wilson, but he was quite concerned because the McClatchy article did not mention that Alan Wilson had serious Alzheimer’s.
THE POST & EMAIL: I tried to contact the McClatchy author about the documents she said she obtained from the UK in which the birth certificate for the baby bore the name “Alan Wilson.” A British researcher hired by a researcher here found both the birth and death certificates of the baby. The birth certificate showed the last name “Darragh,” but the death certificate showed the name as “Michael Wilson.”
I did not receive a response from the McClatchy writer.
Interestingly, Eleanor’s name appeared on Ted’s birth certificate as “Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson.”
MS. STEWARD: Perhaps that was her legal name at the time.
[Editor’s Note: Divorce documents obtained by The Post & Email from the Harris County, TX court indicate that Ted Cruz’s parents were married on March 14, 1969 at an unspecified location.]
THE POST & EMAIL: Regarding Ted’s birth in a Canadian hospital, would Canadian health care have been extended to Eleanor as a U.S. citizen?
MS. STEWARD: She was working here, so she was paying taxes in Canada. The health care system is funded from the tax base. So when you go in to have your baby, it’s just paid for.
THE POST & EMAIL: Do you think it was difficult for Eleanor and Rafael and those from other countries to work in Canada?
MS. STEWARD: They would have had a work visa, and I think because they had contracts with large companies here, they could show that they had those contracts, so it would be easy for them to get a work visa. Because we have so much oil and gas industry up here, there are a lot of Americans working here, and they can get those work visas quite easily. Many are here for 20 and 30 years and never take out Canadian citizenship.
THE POST & EMAIL: Rafael said he took Canadian citizenship, and Macleans reported it as 1973. Those records are not made public, so I cannot get them without a signed privacy waiver.
MS. STEWARD: I think when he came here, he didn’t have American citizenship.
THE POST & EMAIL: That’s correct; he had what is called a “green card” when he went to Canada. I found the nexus between Eleanor and Rafael to have been New Orleans. Rafael was married to Julia Garza, who obtained a legal separation in July 1967. The divorce was final on September 24, 1968 as announced in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Breitbart reported that the Cruz campaign said that Eleanor and Rafael went to Canada in December 1967.
Did Eleanor seem to like Canada?
MS. STEWARD: I certainly don’t remember her saying anything negative about it. They were very busy, because they had a lot of work. Everybody was relatively young at the time, when everything is exciting and new, so I don’t remember her complaining about the weather or anything.
Earlier, we started talking about how Rafael had had Cuban citizenship and a green card in the U.S. He then came to Canada and took out Canadian citizenship, which makes real sense, because if he had Canadian citizenship, it would have been way easier for him to get American citizenship when he went back to the States. I’m speculating, but it could be why they came here.
THE POST & EMAIL: Did Rafael ever mention Fidel Castro?
MS. STEWARD: I knew he was Cuban, but I don’t remember him talking a lot about it. Also, there was no talk of religion or anything like that.
THE POST & EMAIL: I read that you were very surprised to hear that he is very religious now.
MS. STEWARD: Yes, that really surprised me. He wasn’t like that at all.
Steward also told The Post & Email that the building which housed R.B. Cruz & Associates is gone and the area redeveloped.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.