Faced with the withdrawal of Canadian troops, more and more voices are being raised to ask the government of Quebec to set up an emergency sponsorship program for the Afghans. Elected officials and members of civil society are also asking that the current private sponsorship program be fully functional and increase the quota of cases it can handle.
“Our goal is to seek the cooperation of the federal and provincial governments and try to get as many people out as possible. Even if we are capable of saving only one life… ”, launched Madina Asefi, who is part of a collective of young Afghans from Sherbrooke who organized last Sunday a rally attended by hundreds of people, including several. Locally elected.
This same Sherbrooke collective, where the second largest Afghan community lives, has just launched a petition to the Quebec government to demand the rapid launch of an “accelerated private sponsorship program for Afghans”. He urges Quebec to authorize the filing of files for sponsoring organizations, which the latter have no longer had the right to do for nearly a year due to a suspension ordered following allegations of fraud.
The member for Solidarity Quebec from Sherbrooke, Christine Labrie, said she saw a certain enthusiasm among the population for the sponsorship of Afghan families. “The phone rings for that in the office.” People are worried and want to know how to sponsor someone, ”she explains in an interview with To have to. “Unfortunately, we are forced to tell them that it is not possible as citizens to come together with a few people to sponsor a family. People feel helpless. “
She believes it is important to respond to this wave of mobilization. “There is what the government is going to do to welcome refugees, but the organizations that will do private sponsorship are doing a lot to welcome refugees, and there, they are paralyzed,” she laments. However, there are people who are mobilizing and wanting to help. We have every advantage in doing so, especially in Sherbrooke we have an entire Afghan community ready to welcome these families. “
In an open letter sent to To have to, three members of the Liberal Party made their proposals to the Legault government. “With the imminent departure of the United States and the last evacuation operations from Canada held on August 26, the Quebec government has the opportunity to specify its future intentions,” we read. They demand the immediate lifting of “the moratorium on the sponsorship of refugees by recognized organizations” whose deadline is 1is November. They are also asking the Quebec Ministry of Immigration to raise the target ceiling of 100 files that are authorized to file sponsorship groups from two to five people.
Remember that, during the last sponsorship program submission period, which ended on May 5, these groups of two to five people were authorized to submit a greater number of files, i.e. 750, to remedy the problem. fact that the organizations had been excluded from the filing process.
The office of the Quebec Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration, Nadine Girault, insisted that there is no moratorium on the private sponsorship program (also called “collective”). “On the contrary, this year, collective sponsorship has been maintained and exceptionally open to groups of two to five people,” said press officer Flore Bouchon. As for the sponsoring organizations, they were temporarily excluded from the process by the holding of an investigation. This has never called into question the number of files that can be submitted, ie 750. ”
In addition, she indicates that the “non-opening” of the private sponsorship program has no impact on the number of refugees that Quebec will welcome since they can be received through the refugee program. in charge by the State. “This program is the most effective way to act in a context of humanitarian crisis,” she said.