Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa Citizen’
It appears common sense is prevailing – this, from the Canadian Press:
Ottawa may extend its fast-track immigration policy for Afghan translators who help the Canadian Armed Forces and aid workers in Kandahar if troops remain in Afghanistan beyond 2011. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Friday it would make sense to continue the program for as long as such translators work with Canadians. “The basic principle is any Afghan whose life is at risk because they’ve assisted Canadian Forces or aid workers we’re going to give them fair consideration for expedited immigration to Canada,” Kenney said Friday. “If there is some kind of extension of a non-combat mission, I’m sure we’ll extend the same principle in the future …. We’re on track to receive between 150 and 200 by the time the program is over.” ….
According to the Canadian Press, about 250 applications have come in so far. There have apparently been delays in processing because some of the groups who provide input into the process have pulled out of Kandahar or Afghanistan because of security concerns.
Let’s hope common sense DOES prevail.
Earlier rants on this one:
- Weasel Wording = Dooming Afghan Interpreters
- Helloooooo? Anything Happening with AFG ‘Terps Getting Here Faster?
- AFG ‘Terps Split on Canada’s Offer of Fast Track Immigration
- Getting Terps into Canada Faster
You know how I’ve felt about Canada’s proposed plan to fast track the immigration process for interpreters who’s helped Canada in Afghanistan:
Well, this quote from the Immigration Minister’s office to the Canadian Press, if it’s been shared correctly, shows an interesting nuance in the rules being applied – highlights mine:
“The applicant must demonstrate that: the threat is directly related to the individual’s support of the Canadian mission in Kandahar, or directly related to an immediate family member’s support of the Canadian mission in Kandahar; and the threat is greater than the level of risk faced by the many others working for the Canadian government in Kandahar province in general.”
Really? I’ve been searching through the media material Canada shared with reporters in mid-September of last year (material also available here at Scribd.com if links don’t work) :
- Government of Canada creates special immigration measures to recognize contribution of Afghan staff in Kandahar
- Backgrounder: Special immigration measures for local staff in Kandahar who support Canada’s mission in Afghanistan
- Frequently asked questions: Special immigration measures for certain Afghan nationals
…but I haven’t found the phrase used in the CP story.
All I can say is that I have to agree with this column headline from today’s Ottawa Citizen:
We’re dooming our Afghan helpers
Way to help those who helped us, Canada.
Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff has signed a letter to the editor regarding recent coverage of the issue – here it is, for the record:
“The Canadian Forces are made up of some of the most professional and courageous troops in the world, and Canadians have every reason to be proud of their hard work and efforts in protecting Afghans.
I wish to make it clear that, as the Chief of the Defence Staff, I hold myself and all members of the armed forces to the highest standard of professional conduct. Indeed, the legitimacy of the Canadian military derives from its embodiment of the values, beliefs and laws of the nation we defend. We conduct our operations in compliance with our international legal obligations.
Equally, we expect members of Afghanistan’s security forces to meet their legal obligations, both national and international. Canada’s military and police personnel in Afghanistan are mentoring their Afghan counterparts about the importance of professional conduct, including compliance with the rule of law.
Only by demonstrating the highest standards of conduct will the Afghan security forces earn the trust of the Afghan people. While the responsibility for complying with their national and international legal obligations rests with the Afghans, I expect members of the Canadian Forces to bring breaches of the law by Afghan security forces to the attention of the appropriate authorities.
Once the Board of Inquiry referred to by Mr. Pugliese is completed, its findings and recommendations will be thoroughly reviewed and appropriate action taken.
I have every confidence that the members of the Canadian Forces, in the face of a very challenging security environment, are performing their very best to uphold our values.
General W.J. Natynczyk
Chief of the Defence Staff”