Madam Chair, today, a constituent in my riding of Vancouver East contacted our office. They have not been able to bring their loved ones to Canada. They have been stuck in the immigration system for more than two years because of the backlog in applications. Now that they are in this situation, obviously there is urgency. The quickest way for individuals to get to safety with their loved ones is visa-free access.
Why is the government not proceeding with that? What can we do as parliamentarians to help the government move in that direction and expeditiously bring about visa-free access for Ukrainians?
Peter Fragiskatos (Liberal) London North Centre, ON
Madam Chair, the question of visa-free travel can be looked at and considered. I also point out to the hon. member that the government, in fact, has acted proactively, going back to January, by putting in place a plan to ensure that individuals in Ukraine who had applied to Canada for work permits, for example, would be given support to have their applications approved.
Individuals in Canada who are on a temporary resident visa, for example, or students will be able to stay longer for obvious reasons.
I think that all of us in the House look at those measures as entirely reasonable. We will continue to work together, I hope, to put to the government even more ideas about what can be done to ensure a reasonable approach that guides the way forward but one that has the well-being of all Ukrainians in mind at the forefront.
Russia's Attack on Ukraine
February 28th, 2022 / 10:40 p.m.
Jenny Kwan (NDP) Vancouver East, BC
Madam Chair, that was a very moving speech and we all feel it. It is important to note that everyone in the House stands with Ukraine and Ukrainians in our communities and abroad.
Something that is really important for a lot of people is that Ukrainians do not require visas to travel to 114 countries, including most of Europe. Ireland announced that recently as well. The NDP has been calling for this since 2018. Why is the government so reluctant to provide visa-free travel to Ukrainians?
Julie Dzerowicz (Liberal) Davenport, ON
Madam Chair, I thank the member for her support, kind comments and pushing for visas.
The Minister of Immigration was very clear today, as all ministers on the government side have been, that all options continue to be on the table. We are looking at visas. I also hope that in the coming days it is something we will consider, and I have great hope that we will have some good news in the days to come.