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.

The Tyee: How a Palestinian Injured in a Drone Strike Came to Canada

The Tyee: How a Palestinian Injured in a Drone Strike Came to Canada

The group lobbied federal members of Parliament, who wrote letters of support. Jenny Kwan, the NDP’s critic for immigration, refugees and citizenship and MP for Vancouver East, took Alzaza’s story directly to then-immigration minister Sean Fraser. Barkan reached out to friend and fellow activist Roger Waters, bassist for the rock group Pink Floyd, who spoke out on Alzaza’s behalf.

Hamilton Spectator: Hamilton man leads lobby effort to evacuate family from war torn Gaza

Hamilton Spectator: Hamilton man leads lobby effort to evacuate family from war torn Gaza

Rani Hemaid’s quest to bring home relatives who live in fear and deprivation in war-torn Gaza took him to Parliament Hill.

The Hamilton man drove to Ottawa with two others at 3 a.m. on Dec. 4, and eight hours later was speaking at a microphone inside a lobby in the House of Commons, urging the federal government to step-up evacuation efforts for loved ones of Palestinian-Canadians.

The government's policy is to facilitate evacuation of immediate family members of Canadian citizens, defined as a spouse or child under 22.

"I want to ask the Canadian government, on what grounds do you define who qualifies to live and whose lives are not worth saving?" Hemaid said at the microphone, flanked by politicians and members of a group called "Campaign to Reunite Our Families."

CBC: Her parents, siblings and baby nephew are trapped in Gaza. Canada doesn't consider them 'immediate family’

CBC: Her parents, siblings and baby nephew are trapped in Gaza. Canada doesn't consider them 'immediate family’

The NDP is calling on the federal government to expand its definition of immediate family for Palestinians, and create special immigration measures to get more people safely out of Gaza and reunited with their loved ones in Canada. 

"Time is of the essence. As we speak, people's lives are in jeopardy and we need the government to take action," NDP MP Jenny Kwan said during a Monday press conference, which also included an impassioned plea from Alsaafin.

Asked by reporters Tuesday whether Canada would consider expanding its eligibility criteria, Immigration Minister Marc Miller said: "We have tried our utmost, whenever there's a configuration of a family unit that doesn't fall within our current definitions, to be as flexible as possible to try and get people out.”

Globe: NDP Calls For Canada to Bring Extended Family of Canadians Safety Out of Gaza

Globe: NDP Calls For Canada to Bring Extended Family of Canadians Safety Out of Gaza

Canadians whose relatives are struggling to survive in the Gaza Strip are losing faith the federal government will step in to save the lives of their loved ones, and are joining an NDP call for Canada to help get their extended family members out of the embattled territory.

NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan asked the minister Monday to formalize the process of getting extended family members out of the embattled territory.
“I assume that the government is doing something on a one-off basis and perhaps that’s why some people managed to get to safety. But that’s not good enough, it is not the right approach,” Kwan said at a news conference Monday.

Canadian Press: Calls grow to get Canadian extended families out of Gaza

Canadian Press: Calls grow to get Canadian extended families out of Gaza

NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan asked the minister Monday to formalize the process of getting extended family members out of the embattled territory.

“I assume that the government is doing something on a one-off basis and perhaps that’s why some people managed to get to safety. But that’s not good enough, it is not the right approach,” Kwan said at a press conference Monday.

In an open letter signed by the entire NDP caucus, Kwan urged the government to facilitate the evacuation and reunification of extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents from Gaza.

“The situation in Gaza is getting so desperate that literally, as we speak, people’s lives are being lost,” she told reporters at a press conference outside the House of Commons.

CTV: 'Time is of the essence': Canadian government urged to introduce special immigration measures to help those with families in Gaza

CTV: 'Time is of the essence': Canadian government urged to introduce special immigration measures to help those with families in Gaza

The NDP made the announcement Monday during a press conference and in an open letter to the federal immigration and foreign affairs ministers. The party is calling for special immigration measures that would facilitate the evacuation of extended family members of Canadians and permanent residents in Gaza.

NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan said the Canadian government needs to create special rules for Palestinians as they did for Syrian, Afghan and Ukrainian refugees.
According to Global Affairs, about 600 people have been able to leave the war-torn territory through the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. Those who left are Canadians, Canadian permanent residents and people who meet Ottawa's strict definition of an eligible family member, with exceptions. Eligible family members are spouses, partners or dependent children. Parents, siblings, or adult children over the age of 22 are excluded from this definition.

Global News: Israel-Gaza: NDP calls for special immigration measures to reunite Palestinian families in Canada

Global News: Israel-Gaza: NDP calls for special immigration measures to reunite Palestinian families in Canada

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, NDP MP Jenny Kwan described Gaza as “the most dangerous place for children in the world” and called for special immigration measures so that Palestinian families in Canada could be reunited with their loved ones. Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly responded by saying that “too many” children and women have lost their lives, adding that 130 Canadians were able to cross the Rafah border on Sunday night.

Globe: Israel-Gaza: NDP calls for special immigration measures to reunite Palestinian families in Canada

Globe: Israel-Gaza: NDP calls for special immigration measures to reunite Palestinian families in Canada

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, NDP MP Jenny Kwan described Gaza as “the most dangerous place for children in the world” and called for special immigration measures so that Palestinian families in Canada could be reunited with their loved ones. Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly responded by saying that “too many” children and women have lost their lives, adding that 130 Canadians were able to cross the Rafah border on Sunday night.

Are you ready to take action?

Constituent Resources
Mobile Offices
Contact Jenny

Sign up for updates