“For our veterans in Afghanistan, this is a critical point in this war that we must tackle,” O’Toole said today. “It is insulting to our military community and another sign of a Liberal government totally disconnected from the needs of our country. “
The Conservative leader used his opening remarks during an infrastructure announcement in Fredericton, New Brunswick, to talk about Ottawa’s new resettlement mission, which was mired in controversy last week.
Potential applicants for the program were told earlier this week that they had just three days to complete a series of online forms and scan a series of sensitive documents.
The government later said there was no firm deadline for applications, but many fear that the program’s difficult start could put Afghans who have worked with Canada at risk of violent retaliation from the military. Taliban.
The Taliban – whom Canadian soldiers have fought for more than a decade – are gaining momentum and putting pressure on major cities across the country as the United States begins to withdraw its troops from the country.
“They risk persecution and even death because they worked for our country and supported our men and women in uniform,” O’Toole said.
Former embassy worker says more help needed
Nipa Banerjee, who worked at the Canadian Embassy in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2006, praised the government for dropping the three-day deadline, but said potential candidates are still struggling and in need of a better assistance.
Many eligible applicants were not interpreters and did not speak English well enough to navigate complex immigration documents, she said.
“The forms are also difficult to understand because in some places there are technical terms,” said Banerjee, who oversaw Canadian development programs while in Afghanistan.
Banerjee said the Afghans she had worked with had contacted her about their issues with the apps. Some said they were looked down upon by the Canadian Embassy in Kabul when they asked for help.
“If the embassy could provide assistance to a local person, that would be good,” she said.
A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said follow-up messages were sent to those who may have been confused by the initial instructions, which included the three-day deadline.
“Managers have contacted applicants to clarify this and will continue to actively work with clients to help them complete their applications,” Emilie Simard wrote in an email.
“We have also hired local support staff to help clients with language barriers submit their applications and documents. “
Freeland reaffirms Canada’s “moral responsibility”
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland reiterated for the second day in a row today the government’s intention to resettle the Afghans who assisted Canadian soldiers – although she gave no new details on exactly when this is will begin.
“We as a country have a moral responsibility to them and we absolutely recognize that,” Freeland said today.
“We are working very, very hard to allow the people who worked for Canada, for their families, to come to Canada very, very quickly. “
Meanwhile, the United States is carrying out its own resettlement mission for the Afghans who assisted the United States military during the war. The first flight carrying over 200 of these workers and their families landed in the United States today.