Canada repatriating women and children from Syria camps
The federal government agreed in January to bring back a group of women and children, but pushed back on repatriating four imprisoned men.
Canada said it is taking steps to return the group due to “deteriorating conditions” in the camps.
It shared few other details about the repatriation.
“I’ve talked to their various family members here in Canada and they are absolutely delighted that some three-and-a-half years after we started this process of trying to bring the women and children home, their loved ones are on their way,” Mr Greenspon said.
There are no details about when or where the group will land.
It is unclear whether one woman, from the Canadian province of Quebec, and her six children are among the group being repatriated, though Mr Greenspon told the BBC that his ” information is that she is not on the flight”.
Canada offered to repatriate her children without her, as officials are still conducting a security and risk assessment for the mother, said Mr Greenspon, who represents the family.
He said Canada’s department of foreign affairs, Global Affairs, told the mother last week that she could either send her children home without her or keep them in the camp with her.
“Her choice was that she wants the children to be repatriated and her to be with them at the same time,” he said.
Global Affairs said in a statement on Thursday that “as long as conditions allow” it will continue repatriation efforts.
Asked by reporters on Wednesday whether Canada was breaking government policy by asking a mother to send her children back to Canada without her, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada was “engaged with all of our responsibilities”.
“The situation in north-eastern Syria is incredibly volatile,” he said. “Canada is watching very, very closely.”
He declined to comment any further.
The repatriation could be the biggest so far for Canada after the so-called Islamic State caliphate was destroyed in 2019.
Last October, the RCMP, Canada’s federal police force, arrested a 27-year-old Canadian woman returning from Syria and charged her with terrorism-related offences. Another woman, who returned to Canada after marrying an Islamic State fighter, was also arrested and released on bail while officials seek a peace bond in her case.
It is unclear if any of the women being returned this week may face charges.
In its statement, Global Affairs noted it was a criminal offence to leave the country to support a terror group abroad adding: “Where there is sufficient evidence, law enforcement and public safety agencies will independently take the necessary steps to keep our communities safe.”
A federal court has also ordered the Canadian government to repatriate four men who have not been formally charged with crimes but are imprisoned in camps in Syria. British-Canadian dual national, Jack Letts, whose British citizenship was revoked, is one of the four.
Canada has appealed the court decision to repatriate the men, arguing it had no obligation to bring back citizens from Syria because it had closed its embassy there in 2012.
Human rights campaigners have pushed the government to repatriate its citizens.
Over the past four years, only a handful of women and children have been brought back to Canada.
More than 42,000 foreign nationals, most of whom are children, are being held in dangerous conditions in Islamic State camps across Syria, according to non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch.
Air Canada flights delayed due to IT issue – CTV News
Air Canada reported a technical issue with its flight communications system on Thursday, causing delays across the country for the second time in a week.
In a statement to CTVNews.ca, the Montreal-based company said it was experiencing a “temporary technical issue” with the system it uses to communicate with aircraft and monitor the performance of its operations.
By Thursday afternoon, the airline said the system had “begun to stabilize,” though flights were expected to be impacted for the remainder of the day.
“The communicator system has begun to stabilize, and aircraft continue to move although still at a lower than normal rate. As a result, customers may experience delays and in some instances cancellations as we move through recovery,” Air Canada said.
“Customers are advised to check the status of their flight before going to the airport as we anticipate the impact will persist through the balance of the day.”
As a result of the system failure, the airline said it implemented a “flexible policy,” allowing customers who wished to change their travel plans to do so at no cost.
Speaking to reporters before question period, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the federal government has been in touch with Air Canada and is encouraging the airline to get its communications system back up and running “as quickly as possible.”
“They understand the consequences of these delays and we’ll keep following up on the situation,” said Alghabra.
The system failure caused delays for the majority of flights scheduled to depart from the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport on Thursday morning, said Michel Rosset, communications manager for the Winnipeg Airports Authority.
Some Air Canada flights in the afternoon and evening were scheduled to run on time at the Winnipeg airport, but Rosset advised passengers to look online for updated flight information as that could change.
“With flights, even on a good day, things could change pretty quickly. So I’d recommend, if you’re looking for updated (flight information) throughout the day, the best bet is just to head to our website,” he told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview.
Leah Batstone, communications and marketing advisor for the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, said the Halifax airport was aware of the “IT issue” that Air Canada was experiencing and recommended passengers to keep tabs on their flight status.
“As always, travellers are advised to check their flight status directly with their airline before coming to the airport,” Batstone said in an emailed statement to CTVNews.ca.
Air Canada was forced to ground its planes last week due to a similar problem with its communications system, which delayed nearly half its flights.
The airline said the issue it experienced this Thursday was in the “same systems as that of May 25, but it was unrelated.”
“We have been in the process of upgrading this system using a third-party supplier’s technology. Air Canada will continue to work with the manufacturer to ensure stability in the system in the future,” it said.
“We apologize for the impact on our customers and appreciate their patience. We are working hard to get people on their way as soon as possible.”
Air Canada flight delays at Toronto Pearson | CTV News – CTV News Toronto
Several Air Canada flights are delayed at Toronto Pearson International Airport due to a temporary technical issue.
The Canadian airline said its system used to communicate with aircraft and monitor operational performance is impacted. Flights were delayed all across the airline’s system as a result, a spokesperson for Air Canada confirmed to CTV News Toronto.
At around 1:30 p.m., the airline said the communicator system has “begun to stabilize,” with flights continuing to move “although still at a lower than normal rate.”
“As a result, customers may experience delays and in some instances cancellations as we move through recovery,” the statement reads.
Greater Toronto Airports Authority media manager Rachel Bertone told CTV News Toronto that Toronto Pearson passengers are encouraged to check their flight status before making their way to the airport.
“We have also put in place a flexible policy for those who wish to change their travel plans at no cost,” Air Canada said.
As of Thursday afternoon, numerous Air Canada flights initially scheduled to leave Toronto Pearson this morning have been delayed to the afternoon.
Plus, many of Air Canada’s flights headed to the Toronto airport from places like Orlando, Fla., Vancouver, B.C., and New York’s LaGuardia Airport, have been delayed.
In terms of cancellations, however, just over two per cent of departures and roughly 3.5 per cent of arrivals have been cancelled – though it should be noted these percentages include all airlines.
“We apologize to those affected, and appreciate their patience,” the statement reads.
This is the second time in a week that Air Canada has suffered a technical issue with its computer system, which delayed nearly half of all its flights.
The airline confirmed in its statement, “The issue today was in the same systems as that of May 25, but it was unrelated.”
Air Canada has not said how long the technical issue is expected to last, but said they are “working hard” to get fliers on their way as quickly as they can.
Air Canada flight communicator system breaks down, causing widespread delays – CBC.ca
Air Canada is experiencing an issue with one of its internal systems, leading to flight delays across its network.
The airline said Thursday it is “experiencing a temporary technical issue with its communicator system, one of the systems that we use to communicate with aircraft and monitor operational performance.”
The issue is causing delays across the system, with 234 flights delayed so far on Thursday and 34 cancellations, according to FlightAware.com. That’s about 44 per cent of the airline’s daily load.
Air Canada’s flanker brand Rouge is also impacted, with 78 delays, or 52 per cent of its flights, as well as 11 cancellations.
It’s the second time in less than a week that the airline has been hit by a problem with its communicator system that caused delays or cancellations. On May 25, U.S. aviation regulator the FAA ordered a ground stop of all Air Canada flights due to unspecified internal computer issues. The outage lasted a little over an hour.
Air Canada says the impacted system is the same as the one from last week, but says the two outages are “unrelated.”
“We have been in the process of upgrading this system using a third-party supplier’s technology. Air Canada will continue to work with the manufacturer to ensure stability in the system in the future.”
Duncan Dee, a former executive at the airline, described the affected system as an “electronic tracking system to allow them to identify the location of their aircraft at any given time within their network.”
“It’s the system which allows them to track their aircraft and to communicate with flights in a more automated way,” he told CBC News.
He was scheduled to fly on an Air Canada flight himself on Thursday and said it was disheartening to see the system fail twice “in such a short period of time. This isn’t something that happens very regularly … because obviously systems aren’t supposed to go down and certainly not to go down so soon, one after the other.”
Government monitoring situation
Early in the afternoon, the airline said the system has begun to “stabilize” but is not yet back to normal and delays continue.
The airline is advising anyone who is supposed to fly today to check the status of their flight before heading to the airport.
“We are working hard to rectify this situation,” the airline told CBC News in an emailed statement. “We apologize to those affected, and appreciate their patience.”
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said he has been in constant contact with the airline and has been assured that the company is doing everything it can.
“I encourage them to get it up as quickly as possible,” Alghabra said. “They understand the consequences of these delays … they are working on restoring it as quickly as possible.”
Last month, the government tabled new rules designed to make it harder for airlines to wriggle out of compensating passengers for costly delays and cancellations. Those rules have yet to be tabled, but Alghabra said what’s happening on Thursday would be covered by existing rules since it’s being caused by something the airline can control.
“Based on current rules, passengers are protected,” he said. “Air Canada has obligations to passengers.”
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