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: Georgia Straight - Chinese dictator Xi Jinping risks spoiling his Olympic party by prosecuting Hong Kong pop star Denis Ho

IN THE NEWS: Georgia Straight - Chinese dictator Xi Jinping risks spoiling his Olympic party by prosecuting Hong Kong pop star Denis Ho

Ho, a Canadian citizen, was one of seven people arrested in Hong Kong this week for being currently or formerly associated with the online media outlet Stand News.

As Vancouver East NDP MP Jenny Kwan has pointed out, the arrests fly in the face of Article 27 of Hong Kong's Basic Law, which guarantees freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

IN THE NEWS: Globe & Mail - Canadian Cantopop star Denise Ho sacrificed a lucrative career in China to speak out for Hong Kong

IN THE NEWS: Globe & Mail - Canadian Cantopop star Denise Ho sacrificed a lucrative career in China to speak out for Hong Kong

In a statement, Global Affairs Canada said it was “deeply concerned by the arrests … including Canadian citizen and activist Denise Ho.”

Politicians across the spectrum have spoken out in support of Ms. Ho. Conservative MP Garnett Genuis called for a “swift and emphatic response” from Ottawa. Green Party interim leader Amita Kuttner said she was “alarmed” by Ms. Ho’s arrest, while Hong Kong-born NDP lawmaker Jenny Kwan said the city “has turned into a police state,” adding “Canada needs to work urgently with ally countries to address this grave situation.”

IN THE NEWS: CBC - Vancouver MP ‘heartbroken' by arrest of Hong Kong journalists

IN THE NEWS: CBC - Vancouver MP ‘heartbroken' by arrest of Hong Kong journalists

Kwan said the implications of these arrests reach across the globe. Anybody in Canada that critiques the Chinese government can also be targeted by these laws if they travel to Hong Kong, she said. Kwan said Canadian expatriates living in Hong Kong are at risk of being targeted. 

"No one is safe… I have now come to the realization that I can no longer travel back to Hong Kong, my birthplace. I had hoped that one day I could bring my children back… but that is not a reality for me," said Kwan. 

Stand News announced later Wednesday it is shutting down. The outlet said all employees were dismissed and their website and social media will be taken down. 

IN THE NEWS: Rabble - No room at Canada’s inn for Afghan refugees

Indeed, on December 7, NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan called for emergency immigration measures in the House of Commons, pointing out:

“According to the government’s own website, ‘Canada and its allies have received assurances from the Taliban that Afghan citizens with travel authorization from other countries will be allowed to leave Afghanistan.’ Canada must not squander this small window of opportunity given the dire situation in Afghanistan. The NDP is therefore calling on the government to bring in an emergency immigration measure of utilizing temporary residence permits to help Afghans get to safety.”

IN THE NEWS: Vancouver Sun - Fed NDP calls for temporary resident permit and travel documents for Afghans

IN THE NEWS: Vancouver Sun - Fed NDP calls for temporary resident permit and travel documents for Afghans

The federal NDP’s immigration critic, Vancouver East candidate Jenny Kwan, has called on the caretaker Liberal government to immediately provide Afghans who supported the Canadian armed forces during the war on the Taliban with temporary residency permits and travel documents.

Kwan said that many Afghan interpreters, other collaborators, and their extended families have been left in a precarious position as the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan.

IN THE NEWS: Globe & Mail - First flight of Afghans to Canada a ‘relief’ but advocates say more needs to be done faster

Former Afghan interpreters now living in Canada held a rally on Parliament Hill on Tuesday to demand that the government bring their families to safety.

Jenny Kwan, the NDP Critic for Immigration, and Randall Garrison, the NDP Critic for Defence, said in a statement that Afghan interpreters, other Afghans who worked for Canada and their extended families are in a “highly precarious situation.”

“Although many collaborators are finally being helped to come to Canada, the Liberals’ new process is not good enough,” the statement said. The NDP is asking the government to broaden the program to allow for extended family, and for the application deadline to be extended.

IN THE NEWS: Toronto Star - Advocacy group hints at unexplained immigration policy shift

Activists from the Migrant Rights Network (MRN) say a “secretive policy shift” may be brewing at Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) which may explain the unprecedented rate of rejections of permanent residence applications on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds.
Richard Goldman, a lawyer at Montreal City Mission, believes that some policy change may have occurred, but whether this involves the personnel assessing the applications, the training of these personnel or an internal directive is unknown.

“The Humanitarian and Compassionate application system is broken,” says Syed Hussan, who works with the Migrant Rights Network (MRN) secretariat, which organized marches in Montreal and Ottawa this past weekend to demand the government extend residency status to all migrants in order to ensure their equal access to rights. “And as the data we released is showing, it can arbitrarily be changed without oversight or accountability.”

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