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Family facing deportation from Canada says return to Portugal 'puts their lives at risk' – CBC.ca

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A family in Milton, Ont. is racing against the clock to be able to stay in Canada, saying that being deported to Portugal will put their health in jeopardy. 

“Sending us back to Portugal now, in the middle of this pandemic, it’s like they are sending us into war,” said Eva Ferreira, who, along with her husband and 15-year-old son, has been living here for eight years. 

Their push is particularly desperate given that Portugal was recently measured as having the world’s worst rate of new daily COVID-19 cases and deaths per 100,000 people — and that Ferreira’s husband, Armando Goncalves, is diabetic.

Diabetes puts people at greater risk for developing a severe illness from COVID-19, and is also a common comorbidity in COVID-19 related deaths. 

“The way things are in Portugal, I feel like we’re going to put our lives at risk,” Ferreira said.

On Thursday, the family got the news they were dreading: their application to defer their deportation was rejected by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA.) 

Ordered to leave by Feb.11, it gives them exactly one week to make a last-ditch appeal in federal court.

“We love Canada, we’re hopeful that we can stay. But we are running out of time,” said Ferreira. 

‘Significant and obvious safety risk’

The family’s lawyer, Jacqueline Swaisland, is now scrambling to prepare the documentation necessary to file for a stay in federal court this week to put off the family’s departure. 

“There’s such a significant and obvious health and safety risk here, that I really was quite surprised that the CBSA would decide to continue the removal,” she told CBC Toronto.

Swaisland has also submitted a humanitarian and compassionate application on their behalf which would put them on the path to permanent residency, but no decision has been made on it yet.

Lawyer Jackie Swaisland hopes that a federal court will step in this week to prevent Eva Ferreira and her family from having to leave on Thursday. (Antonia Giroux Photography)

“If the family is deported it is highly unlikely that this application will be granted, as it hardly ever is for people not in Canada,” she explained.  

They had initially obtained legal work permits when they arrived back in 2012, but those lapsed primarily because of inept legal counsel, said Swaisland.

“Applications weren’t submitted correctly, and so they found themselves without status.” 

Ramped-up removals ‘out of step’ with other safety measures

Swaisland is one of a number of Canadian lawyers who say they’re appalled that the CBSA has chosen to restart broader deportations. 

The agency had put a freeze on most removals back in March when the pandemic began, but, according to a spokesperson, began removing “serious inadmissibility cases” in early August and “all inadmissible persons” as of Nov. 30.

Speaking to CBC Toronto, lawyer Maureen Silcoff described the November decision as “completely out of step with all other measures the Canadian government is taking to protect public health.” 

Silcoff, president of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, says resuming deportations for people who are not security risks has no “appropriate rationale.”

She points out that the process requires a number of risky interactions, including public transit trips to the CBSA offices, time spent with lawyers and CBSA officers, the process of packing up a home, and the necessary travel to get back to a home country.

“And when you go back… the process starts again, you have to re-establish yourself there,” Silcoff said.

Her group is calling for the CBSA to revert back to its previous deportation policy, which allowed the removal of “serious criminal cases” but put a freeze on others. 

Removals undertaken ‘in responsible manner’: CBSA

For its part, the CBSA says it does not comment on individual cases.

The agency defends the decision to re-broaden removals, with a spokesperson writing in a statement that it has a legal requirement to do so.

“This was done for a number of reasons, including… the resumption of business processes at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada to produce decisions leading to removal, an increase in available routings by commercial partners that facilitate returns and the ability to ensure that removals are undertaken in a responsible manner,” it said. 

“Those being removed have either exhausted or chosen not to pursue further legal recourse and have no legal right to remain in Canada.”

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Canada boosts capacity of key supply hub for weapons to Ukraine – CBC News

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Defence Minister Anita Anand says Canada is boosting its capacity at a key transportation hub in Scotland, so weapons and other supplies can more easily be shipped to Ukraine and other countries in eastern Europe.

Canadian forces have been responsible for delivering four million pounds of cargo since March, and the Prestwick, Scotland hub will now be expanded into an air mobility detachment with a third CC-130 aircraft and 55 Canadian Armed Forces members present.

“We are expanding the ways in which we are assisting Ukraine and getting military aid to Ukraine by delivering even more aid,” Anand told CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton in an interview airing Sunday.

CBC News reported earlier this week Ukraine has written to the Canadian government to request armoured vehicles, howitzers and winter clothing.

Canada has promised to deliver 39 armoured troop carriers, and Anand said she’d be meeting with industry partners in Canada to talk about the issue of supply.

Anand said NATO countries are all trying to strike a balance between arms shipments to Ukraine and maintaining supplies to their own armed forces.

“This is front and centre in my mind,” she said.

Canada must say yes to Ukraine: Rae

Canada has committed or delivered $626 million in military aid to Ukraine since February.

Asked about Ukraine’s list of weapons requests in an interview on CBC Radio’s The House that aired Saturday, UN Ambassador Bob Rae said Canada would be hard pressed to deny the asks.

“It may be a career-limiting move for me to say this, but I don’t believe we could say anything less than yes,” Rae said.

“That’s been my consistent advice to whoever, whoever, whoever is listening. Obviously, governments have to decide the pace at which they can do it.”

LISTEN | UN Ambassador Bob Rae discusses latest developments in Ukraine war:

Some NATO countries have struggled to strike the balance Anand described Sunday, due in part to a lack of robust inventory.

“Since the end of the Cold War, not only have allies considerably restructured their armed forces, they also don’t hold the stockpiles anymore that they used to have,” Christian Leuprecht, a political science professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, told CBC News earlier this week.

“And so, effectively, most of what you ended up giving away today comes out of your current stockpile. So this is equipment that you’re actually going to be actively short.”

The calls for more aid from Ukraine come as offensives in both the country’s east and south continue, but also as Russia announced a partial mobilization to bring hundreds of thousands more soldiers into its ranks. Russian President Vladimir Putin also threatened this week that Russia was prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend itself.

Russia also announced and rapidly began referendums in occupied Ukrainian territories.

Anand said Putin’s decision to raise the threat of nuclear war and mobilization were “acts of desperation.”

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Atlantic Canada begins assessing, cleaning up damage from Fiona – CBC.ca

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People across Atlantic Canada are beginning to assess the damage and clean up after post-tropical storm Fiona swept through the region Saturday.

As of 9 a.m., remnants of Fiona are over southeastern Labrador and have merged with a trough — a long region of low atmospheric pressure.

Fiona spent early Sunday morning moving inland in southeastern Quebec as a post-tropical storm, according to Environment Canada. It’s expected to dissipate over the Labrador Sea.

The agency said winds were at 80 km/h and all wind warnings associated with the storm have ended.

In Newfoundland, some homes were washed away or flattened, others were flooded, roads were washed out and people were evacuated. The damage was most striking in Port aux Basques, where boulders and debris were scattered across the community.

On Sunday morning, CBC meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler said the bulk of the damage in Port aux Basques was caused by storm surge.

The Salvation Army has co-ordinated an emergency shelter for people displaced from their homes in the Port aux Basques area at the local school.

In Nova Scotia, hundreds of thousands of customers were without power on Sunday, and the Canadian Armed Forces has been called in to help restore electricity.

Nova Scotia Power president Peter Gregg said in a statement Sunday that the utility knows “there will be customers who face outages for multiple days” given the damage created by the storm.

Two municipalities in Cape Breton declared a state of emergency. The fastest winds clocked in at 171 km/h in Arisaig, just north of Antigonish.

The devastation of a day: Scenes of Fiona’s damage across Atlantic Canada

6 hours ago

Duration 3:05

Within hours, post-tropical storm Fiona caused destruction and upheaval in all four Atlantic provinces, as well as in eastern Quebec. See some of the impact as gathered by CBC News crews.

Ottawa has also approved Nova Scotia’s request for funding for disaster assistance to help municipalities repair damaged infrastructure, and to assist individuals and small businesses pay for uninsured losses

On Prince Edward Island, winds hit 150 km/h and almost 100 millimetres of rain fell, homes and businesses were damaged and flooded, and at one point about 95 per cent of Maritime Electric customers had lost electricity.

Premier Dennis King said Sunday that his province’s road to recovery “will be weeks or longer” since the damage may have been “the worst we’ve ever seen” from a tropical storm. 

Residents in Charlottetown are now being asked to stay off the roads and shelter in place after the storm rushed over the Island. 

In New Brunswick, roads were flooded, a bridge was destroyed and tens of thousands were without electricity. Residents there are also being asked to stay away from dangerous, storm-ravaged areas.

Bill Hogan, the province’s public safety minister, said it will take time to fully calculate the damage caused by post-tropical storm Fiona, but he expects help will be made available to affected residents.

Power outages are still widespread on Sunday morning, with more than 365,000 customers in the dark across the four Atlantic provinces, including more than 260,000 in Nova Scotia.

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Officials across Eastern Canada set to begin assessing full scope of storm damage

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After hammering Atlantic Canada, post-tropical storm Fiona has moved inland in southeastern Quebec, with Environment Canada saying the storm will continue to weaken as it tracks across southeastern Labrador and over the Labrador Sea.

As of 6 a.m. local time, nearly 267,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were still affected by outages, 82,414 Maritime Electric customers remained in the dark and more than 20,600 homes and businesses in New Brunswick were without power, with some provincial utility companies warning it could be days before the lights are back on for everyone.

Newfoundland Power reported outages affecting more than 3,600 customers, as high-end tropical storm force winds knocked down trees and power lines, although Environment Canada said winds would diminish in the morning.

In an early Sunday morning update, Environment Canada said strong winds continued over the northern Newfoundland, southeastern Labrador and parts of southeastern Quebec.

A wind warning remained in effect for the western part of the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, while storm warnings are in place for parts of the Northeast Gulf and Strait of Belle Isle marine areas.

As Fiona continued to weaken, government officials across Eastern Canada prepared to survey the full scope of the damage left behind.

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston, along with several members of his cabinet, were scheduled to tour some of the hardest hit areas of Cape Breton by helicopter Sunday morning.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who cancelled his planned visit to Japan for the state funeral of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, said he will visit as soon as possible, while noting he doesn’t want to displace any emergency teams who are focused on important work on the ground.

Defence Minister Anita Anand said Saturday members of the Canadian Armed Forces had begun preparing to respond before receiving the request for assistance from Nova Scotia, and troops will be deployed to other provinces that ask for help.

No details were provided on the number of troops being deployed, but Anand said reconnaissance was underway to ensure they go where and when they are needed most.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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