IRCC responds to the war in Ukraine
by Michael Scott
The war in Ukraine has taken over much of the headlines around the world. It dominates the news and discussion at the gas pumps. There are visible signs of the economic impact in front of our eyes. Canadians are not immune to the war. They have only to see the ever-increasing price at the gas pumps. In Manitoba the price of regular gas has soared to $1.83 per litre at this time with no end in sight for the escalating price. It will become increasingly harder to find Russian vodka at the Liquor Commission and foodstuffs in the market.
We are confronted with the alternative news which proclaims Russia’s invading armies are “peace keepers” and the freely elected Ukrainian government as “fascist.” It does not matter that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a Jew.
Putin is spending much time and effort spinning the truth. As the former United States President and Putin supporter said of Nazis protesting in the streets of America, “there are good people on both sides.” Not really, but if you say it long enough and consistently enough, some will believe you.
The idea behind the charade of false news is to destroy the power of the press until down become up and wrong could be confused as right. This is the make-believe world of the oligarchs. Putin invades his neighbour without real provocation and claims he is saving the world against their alleged atrocities. It does not matter to the Russian leader if his forces target children’s hospitals. He would just have his propaganda people claim the children bombed themselves to make him look bad.
The Canadian government has reacted like most of the Western World – in horror and anger at the incursion into a free Ukraine. It is hard to imagine the country remaining silent in face of such blatant aggression. Putin not only kills the innocent by the hundreds but insults the intelligence of the world by doing it in plain view and telling us to disbelieve our lying eyes.
Some of us, this writer included, are products of earlier immigration from Ukraine. My mother’s parents immigrated to Manitoba 100 years ago and settled in Oak Hammock. My grandfather used the marshlands for hay to feed his cattle. But his reason for coming to the country was to get away from the Austro-Hungarian government that supported German aggression at the time. He came to Canada to enjoy the freedom of the country and Ukrainians, like other immigrants, have fought and died in defence not only of freedom in Canada but also as real peace keepers in the Suez, in Cyprus, in Bosnia, and in Rwanda.
What can we do as a country to help the innocent people of Ukraine? The first reaction is to put economic sanctions on the Russian government, on Putin himself, and his oligarchs. We are also developing plans to expand our humanitarian and compassionate assistance to Ukrainians displaced by the war. The number fleeing the country is now in the millions.
IRCC has announced it will create a Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel open to those fleeing the war zone. There is no limit to the number of displaced persons Canada will accept. It is an emergency response and as a country we do not limit our compassion. All Ukrainians will be able to apply, subject to background checks and security screening. Persons inside Canada will be extended a further two years. The government is promising processing of two weeks, and the refugees will be given priority processing. Immediate and extended family members of Canadians will be able to use a special family reunification pathway for permanent residence.
The answer to the displacement of thousands of citizens is not to relocate them to safe countries such as Canada but this is part of our country’s response. The other is for Prime Minister Trudeau and his ministers to strategize our defence of other countries who border Russia. Poland, the Baltic countries and even Western Europe are in the path of Putin’s expansion and face an uncertain future.
The logic of defending a Russian minority in any country sounds ridiculous, but how soon before Putin says that Canada is abusing Russian emigres in Dauphin, Manitoba?
The details of Canada’s emergency programs will become public within the next few weeks as we send humanitarian and military aide to Ukraine to halt the Russian advance and ease the suffering. IRCC is working with our allies abroad and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress at home to institute measures to meet the Ukrainian population inside the embattled country and those displaced by the fighting. The federal government is working with the provinces and the territories in a united response and calling upon all Canadians for support.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser said in announcing the measures on March 3, 2022, “I am inspired by the courage Ukrainians have displayed as they uphold the democratic ideals that we cherish in Canada. While they defend themselves against Putin’s costly war of aggression, we will provide safe haven to those who fled to protect themselves and their families. Canadians stand with Ukrainians in their time of need, and we will welcome them with open arms.”
IRCC announced some quick facts about the crisis. Canadians can make inquiries at 613-321-4243 with collect calls accepted. They can add “Ukraine 2022” to their messaging on the IRCC crisis web form to request priority for family and friends at risk.
Since January, 6,100 Ukrainians have arrived in the country. All immigrants, refugees and visitors will be screened before admission to the country to ensure that they do not pose a threat to the health and safety of Canadians. The Minister has given permission to admit persons who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated into the country. IRCC is also waving fees for certain travel and immigration documents, including Canadian passports, permanent resident travel documents, work and study permits. The department is also giving priority to adoptions as the number of children orphaned by the war continues to rise. IRCC has increased the number of staff abroad to handle the influx of more and more displaced persons. The department is doing what it can to make things easier for the innocent victims of the war.
We can offer our support to the persons displaced by the war and our prayers for peace in Ukraine. The second of the Royal Commandments in the Bible and the Golden Rule is to love thy neighbours as thyself. This is something we as a country have practiced throughout time. Canada has stood up before for the displaced, for those in humanitarian need and once again Canada is there on the frontlines in Eastern Europe and at the negotiating table. It is to be hoped and prayed that the conflict can be resolved without continuing warfare and death. At least the country is taking some tangible steps to lessen the pain and the suffering. As a country we are involved in diplomacy, negotiations, relocation of the displaced and, true to our history, looking for ways to keep the peace in an uncertain world.
Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Immigration Canada and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with Immigration Connexion International Ltd. Contact him at 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.