BASS RIVER – Colchester County politicians are raising their voices in support of a Bass River family who is facing deportation.
Sean, Angelica and Becky Platnauer have been living in Bass River for four years. They came from England and are now being told by Immigration Canada they have to leave the country. Municipal officials are offering support to the family. File photo
During a council committee meeting in Truro on Thursday night, Coun. Tom Taggart suggested council write a letter to the federal immigration department in support of Becky, Sean and daughter Angelica Platnauer, who moved to Bass River from Selsey, West Sussex, England four years ago. Last week, Immigration Canada told the family it has to leave immediately despite their efforts to obtain a temporary extension while their permanent status is worked on.
“We need immigrants to stay here in rural communities … and (the Platnauers) are very important to the community,” said Taggart.
When councillors asked Taggart where the Colchester Regional Development Agency (CoRDA) has been in the process, Taggart said the organization hasn’t offered a lot of support.
“CoRDA dropped the ball. These people were recruited by CoRDA. Sean filled (his) work obligation but CoRDA felt (he) didn’t and washed their hands of it … I’m disappointed CoRDA didn’t see beyond the conflict.”
CoRDA representatives told the Truro Daily News on Friday that’s not the case.
“This is a four-year-old file. We have certainly not drawn any support away. We have zero authority … (and) we have email records of all the steps taken by CoRDA that we have followed,” to help the family said Ron Smith, CoRDA’s executive director.
“It’s not a simple issue,” added Margot Begin, CoRDA’s director of workforce and people development.
“Immigration is a federal matter … I spoke to (Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit MP) Scott Armstrong’s assistant” on the matter, said Begin, but “it’s the responsibility of the applicant (the family) to complete the entire immigration application process. The opportunity was there but it was not submitted by them in their eligible time.”
The Platnauers insisted when they spoke to the Truro Daily News last week that they followed proper procedures for permanent residency. The family has also been working with local politicians, including Armstrong, for a solution. Another issue, said Begin, is that Sean was required to get a record of employment from the time he worked in Canada. “He said he had a problem getting it. We called the employer and they said it was available so we let (the Platnauers) know it was available,” said Begin. Taggart reiterated at the meeting dealing with immigration “is a long and complicated process” and there are many issues that must be co-ordinated. He also asked council to consider communicating with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for better ways to deal with wait lists concerning people who want to come to Canada.