OTTAWA, ON – Hon. Michelle Rempel, Shadow Minister for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, issued the following statement regarding a Parliamentary petition to support Yazidi refugees:

“Today I am standing with the Yazidi community of Canada to reiterate our demands that this government expedite the cases of Yazidi family members and that the government expand the definition of family member for the purposes of genocide survivors sponsoring their relatives. These recommendations are in line with the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration’s report Road to Recovery: Resettlement Issues of Yazidi Women and Children in Canada, which all parties voted in favour of in the House of Commons.

“While Yazidis are barred from sponsoring most of their family members, the Safe Third Country Agreement, which applies to those crossing the Canada-U.S. border, defines a family member as including sisters and brothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, grandchildren, uncles and aunts, etc. That means that someone who crosses the border illegally can have as many extended family members as they want cross into Canada legally at a port of entry.

“On the other hand, the One Year Window of Opportunities Provision, which allows resettled refugees to sponsor family members to Canada, defines a family member only as spouses and children. This is completely unfair. Justin Trudeau is making Yazidi refugees pay for his mistakes.

“We know this has been difficult for Yazidis in Canada because many women have lost their husbands and wish they could sponsor other male relatives since they have lost their immediate family members. And we know that the Yazidi people, and other minority communities in Iraq, have suffered genocide and many have only recently been released from ISIS. Many Yazidis in Iraq already have family in Canada now and family reunification is a key component of integration.”

Nafiya Naso, Spokesperson for the Canadian Yazidi Association, also stated: “The Yazidi people are among the most vulnerable people in the world as victims of ISIS. They are struggling to integrate as they deal with their trauma. Canada must complete these families, and Canada must complete its efforts to rescue and resettle them successfully. It is not only the right thing to do, but is also an integral and crucial piece of the resettlement process.”

Rempel added, “Conservatives are renewing our call on Justin Trudeau to take immediate action to respond to the needs of the world’s most vulnerable and we will be tabling this petition in Parliament once we have finished collecting signatures.”


For more information:

Office of the Hon. Michelle Rempel, MP
[email protected]
(613) 992-4275