SL family in Canada hopes for last-minute reprieve from deportation

3 December 2017 10:07 am - 15     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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After spending five years in Montreal fighting for asylum, a Sri Lankan family is launching a final plea to stay in Canada.

Robert Lawrence and his family have had their refugee claim refused by the Canadian government and will be deported on Sunday night.

His family hasn't even started packing up their two-bedroom apartment in Parc-Extension.
"I feel very sad, and you know, I don't know what to do," said Lawrence.

Lawrence, who is Tamil, worked for the United Nations in Sri Lanka's Eastern province during the time of a brutal civil war that ended up with the defeat of the separatist Tamil Tigers by the Sri Lankan majority Sinhalese government.

With the hopes of protecting his family, Lawrence made the decision to leave their home and fly to the U.S. They crossed into Canada in 2012.

After moving to Montreal, Lawrence's wife, three daughters, son and daughter-in-law have since integrated into their community.

They have carved out new lives in Quebec, where everyone works or attends school. Lawrence even volunteers at his church in Outremont.

"After five years it's very hard to go back and re-establish everything in our country," he said. "Other than that I don't know what's going to happen to us."

Their children have also flourished. They speak both English and — with a lot of time and effort — have learned to speak, write, read and live in French.

All three daughters have their sights set on post-secondary education.

For 21-year-old Leony Pavinthra Lawrence, the impending deportation means she will not be able to pursue her studies at College Ahuntsic. She hopes to become an oncologist.

"I'm not asking for anything else, I am just asking for studies, so they could have let me study, but they didn't," she said.

"I can't do anything, it's not in my hands, so I just have to be disappointed — that's all I can do."
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said it cannot comment on specific cases, but that "people being removed from Canada are not sent to a country where they would be in danger or at risk of persecution."

But the family is worried what deportation will hold for them since they were targeted for Lawrence's reporting to the UN on what was unfolding during the civil war.

"We are taking a risk and the government is making us take that risk," said son Leon Lawrence.

Politicians, lawyers and the school board of the daughters are now calling on Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to issue a reprieve.

"This family has surmounted all of these difficulties and have shown their capacity to integrate in our society," said Québec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir.

"We have every reason to welcome this family in Montreal, in Quebec."

NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice also said that he was counting on Goodale to intervene in a situation that "makes no sense."

"We don't want to lose them," he said.(CBC News)

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  • Welcome to SL Sunday, 03 December 2017 10:34 AM

    The opportunities that these children will lose were obtained purely under false pretenses, maybe by claiming victimisation and racism.

    malik Sunday, 03 December 2017 02:23 PM

    victimisation and racism, Yes these things never happened, 56 onwards there was no racial riots. I see you are floating on the 2500yrs of cloud of fantasy

    Sand Man Sunday, 03 December 2017 10:38 AM

    Hopefully everything will be ok to their family.

    Ravi Obesekara Sunday, 03 December 2017 10:52 AM

    On one hand its a sad and sorrow situation for this family.........on the other hand if you are holding a Sri Lankan passport no one in the western world would want you in their country. There are many things I and my wife personally witnessed in reference to refugees and migrants from South Asia to Canada and the US during our stay for the past 41 years here in Canada. Primarily as Sri Lankans we have adopted to and been exposed to various levels of acts that in western world would consider uncivilized. Many of these things actually can be corrected with simple discipline and education of family values but having a government that is also corrupt and with ulterior motives the civilize values cannot be achieved..... in my professional opinion what Sri Lanka needs right now is a foreign Governing body to fix all your issues. Major changes are necessary and the changes cannot be implemented by a corrupt government.

    preacher Sunday, 03 December 2017 12:59 PM

    Oh blah blah blah...

    malik Sunday, 03 December 2017 01:57 PM

    simple discipline and education of family values? Values and education stuck in the late 19th century is the problem

    ransam Monday, 04 December 2017 08:51 AM

    Come to Sri Lanka and do something to your motherland rather than telling Bila while licking uncle Sam's boot

    Lankan Monday, 04 December 2017 08:56 AM

    Mr Obesekara,You have lived away from your motherland for 41 years. you have no right anymore to judge, pass on opinions professional or othwewise regarding what Sri Lanka needs or how Sri lanka should be. So please keep all this to your self and we will manage without hypocrites like you. Good riddance. I hope all people who think lie you will leave this country....

    fake refugee Sunday, 03 December 2017 03:15 PM

    People like this are a problem to whatever country they live in. Always playing the victim.

    brainmaster Sunday, 03 December 2017 03:50 PM

    Canada should keep them. This family will not be a burden. They seem to adapt well and have a promising future. via DM Android App

    Arnold Sunday, 03 December 2017 05:02 PM

    If you were a journalist under MR regime you would have had a 100% chance.

    Bala Sunday, 03 December 2017 05:49 PM

    Feeling sorry is one tthing but when you say : After five years it's very hard to go back and re-establish everything in our country,- you know it is untrue. If after a lifetime in SL you can adapt to cold Canada, back to SL and re-adapt is so so easy. SURE the Canadian Immigration has seen through this falsity.

    ari Sunday, 03 December 2017 07:53 PM

    Claiming refugee status bashing one's motherland and then hoping for sympathy when all else has failed is unforgivable for the millions of fellow Sri Lankans who are victimized by the western world based on falsehood spread by these economic refugees. All parents what to educate their children for a better life, but that does not give anyone the right to use unethical means that harm others.

    Llaith de silva Monday, 04 December 2017 09:33 AM

    since they do not want to you , come back month lanka and be determined to do wellgood lesson for all who wants to be in so call great land

    ceylon Monday, 04 December 2017 10:32 AM

    they went there because srilanka is no good.look at gotabasilgeetha etclanka is no good for any.only solution is make lanka good. via DM Android App


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