We live in an interconnected world, and events transpiring worldwide ultimately affects Canadians, whether we are speaking about economic trade, global prices of goods and commodities, knowledge and skills exchange, effects of climate change, disease transmission and control, natural disaster management, and others. Fulfilling our international obligations protects and serves the interests of Canadians. 

People fleeing war, persecution or natural disasters face tremendous barriers to obtaining necessary travel documents. For this reason, I have been advocating for visa-free travel for urgent, life-and-death situations such as the war in Ukraine. I have also been advocating for the government to rescind the safe third country agreement because often, refugees cannot get to safety without first going to a third country. It is paramount that Canada has an adequately resourced immigration system that can act with flexibility and expediency in times of crisis without compromising national security standards.

As your Member of Parliament, I will fight to ensure Canada fulfills its humanitarian and environmental obligations as a member of the international community.

IN THE NEWS: Canadian Press - Canada less than halfway to Afghan resettlement goal one year after Taliban takeover

A year after the Taliban seized control of Kabul, Canada’s resettlement efforts have lagged behind official targets and the efforts to help those fleeing the war in Ukraine.  More than 17,300 Afghans have arrived in Canada since last August compared to 71,800 Ukrainians who have come to Canada in 2022 alone, according to government statistics. The federal government has promised to resettle 40,000 Afghans.
Canadian activists and MPs accuse the Liberals of not doing enough to help people who worked with the Canadian Forces in the country, including as interpreters.
They say some families are in hiding from the Taliban as they await approval of their immigration applications, while others have been split up, with children and spouses of applicants left behind.
New Democrat MP Jenny Kwan, who has been in contact with many Afghan refugees who worked with Canadian Forces, said there is a “stark difference” between the government’s treatment of those fleeing the Taliban and those fleeing the Russian invasion.  She said the situation for Afghans who helped Canada is “grave,” with many unable to escape the country and facing persecution by the Taliban.

IN THE NEWS: Indo Canadian Voice - NDP says it will keep fighting for urgently needed and life saving assistance for Afghans

IN THE NEWS: Indo Canadian Voice - NDP says it will keep fighting for urgently needed and life saving assistance for Afghans

Today marks the one-year anniversary since the devastating fall of Kabul and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, which launched the country into the worst humanitarian crisis in decades. While many families have fled Afghanistan and are seeking asylum, others were left behind in an evacuation that started too late and ended too early.
Kwan and McPherson pointed out: “The Special Immigration Measures for Afghans announced in 2021 are coming to an end, meaning that many people who assisted Canada on missions and their families may never make it to safety. Instead of expediting processing, the Liberal government made the application process confusing and full of bureaucratic red tape. The NDP exposed that at least 2,900 applications referred by the Department of National Defence are lost between departments. This is beyond unacceptable.
The Liberals have a duty of care to help people who worked for the Canadian government and their families – instead, they left them behind. Now those who worked for Canada as interpreters, security guards, as well as former women Afghan parliamentarians and their families are being persecuted by the Taliban. Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government are failing in their humanitarian and moral duties.

CPAC coverage of NDP MPs Parliament Hill news conferene to discuss humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

CPAC coverage of NDP MPs Parliament Hill news conferene to discuss humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Jenny Kwan, the NDP critic for refugees and citizenship, and Heather McPherson, the party’s critic for foreign affairs and international development, mark the one-year anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and discuss what needs to be done to help families stranded in the country. Also participating in the virtual news conference are Wadood Dilsoz, director of the Afghan Community Vancouver Foundation, and Reyhana Patel, director of communications and government relations for Islamic Relief Canada.

IN THE NEWS: Canada Immigration News - Updated Anti-Racism Strategy For Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

IN THE NEWS: Canada Immigration News - Updated Anti-Racism Strategy For Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

MP Jenny Kwan, the immigration critic for the New Democratic Party in the House of Commons, echoed those sentiments, reportedly admitting that, while the language used by the IRCC is positive, there’s a lack of immediate action specified.
“As the government consults, as they examine and study these issues, the ongoing impact of discriminatory policies is having a real effect for people,” Kwan reportedly told the National Post.
African, South American and Asian delegates planning to attend a major AIDS conference in Montreal were denied visas, many of them because the Canadian government did not believe they would return home, Kwan reportedly claimed.
On social media, critics of the IRCC have noted African students who apply to Canadian colleges and universities are denied study permits at much higher rate that international students from other countries. 

IN THE NEWS: CBC - Ex-Afghan interpreter praised by top soldier is still in the dark about his immigration status

Saturday will mark a year since Ottawa created a special program to prioritize immigration applications from Afghans who worked with the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian government, along with their family members.

One former interpreter — whose work earned him a letter of appreciation from Canada's current chief of the defence staff, Gen. Wayne Eyre — has been waiting nearly as long to find out if he qualifies.

"Sometimes [Eyre] would put his hand on my shoulder, say, 'Hey, nice, you've been doing a very good job for us,'" the interpreter told CBC News from Islamabad, Pakistan, where he now lives...

IN THE NEWS: Canadian Press - Canada’s Immigration Department revamps anti-racism strategy following criticism

NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan said the language in the strategy is positive, but doesn’t appear to be backed up by immediate action.

“As the government consults, as they examine and study these issues, the ongoing impact of discriminatory policies … is having a real effect for people,” Kwan said in an interview Friday. 

She pointed to speakers from Africa, South America and Asia who are planning to attend a major AIDS conference in Montreal who have been denied visas, often on the grounds that the Canadian government doesn’t believe they’ll return home after the event.

IN THE NEWS: Global News - Why is Ottawa turning away from Afghans who helped Canada? ‘We’re failing them’

IN THE NEWS: Global News - Why is Ottawa turning away from Afghans who helped Canada? ‘We’re failing them’

The government conceded that there’s enough interest to fill the 18,000 spots through the special program and that there are, in fact, only 18,000 spots.

“To suggest the program is open when the 18,000 spots are spoken for, they’re lying to themselves and they’re lying to the public,” Jenny Kwan, NDP MP for Vancouver East, told Global News.

“And the sad news is this: the people who’ve been left behind, their lives are in jeopardy. If we don’t do anything about it, they will be hunted down by the Taliban. It’s a matter of time before that happens.”

IN THE NEWS: Global News - Thousands of Afghans who helped Canadian Forces could be left behind: MPs, NGOs

IN THE NEWS: Global News - Thousands of Afghans who helped Canadian Forces could be left behind: MPs, NGOs

NDP MP Jenny Kwan said she had also been told by Afghans applying to join the separate humanitarian program that there are no more spots left.
“What I am hearing on the ground is that the spots available are getting filled up or at least spoken for,” said Kwan, a member of Parliament’s special committee on Afghanistan. “So many will be left behind.”
Over 8,700 Afghans have arrived in Canada under the humanitarian program. The program relies on referrals, including by the UN Refugee Agency and human-rights organizations based in Europe.
Kwan said she had been told that these referral spots are also filling up.
Non-governmental organizations and opposition MPs are calling on ministers to extend the programs, warning that many vulnerable Afghans including interpreters who helped Canadian Forces face reprisals from the Taliban.

Are you ready to take action?

Constituent Resources
Mobile Offices
Contact Jenny

Sign up for updates