As a province urgently hoping to grow its population, we had shocking news recently about a family in the region at risk of being sent packing due to inexplicable immigration rules.
The Platnauer family, Sean, Becky and teen daughter Angelica, who moved to Bass River four years ago from their native England, received notification last week from Immigration Canada that they are to leave the country “immediately.”
They say the wording was vague, but claimed they hadn’t followed proper criteria. Yet the family is sure they did all required to apply for permanent residency after their temporary visa expired.
The community is vouching for them, as is their MP, Scott Armstrong, and county councillor, Tom Taggart.
Sean, a software engineer, has been busy hunting job prospects. The family participates in community events and both Sean and Becky are members of the local fire department.
We have a federal government that crows about improvements they’ve been making to Canada’s immigration program – tightening restrictions as necessary, and making it fair, while also trying to attract newcomers equipped with valuable skills.
So why doesn’t the system work in a case such as this?
We’ve seen similar instances before in Nova Scotia. A family wants to stay but gets caught in some bureaucratic snare. The home community rallies around them – as Bass River has with the Platnauers – local politicians go to bat, yet they are still forced to the edge of a precipice.
Add to this another irony. With a provincial election underway, Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie in his campaigning has expressed his aim to boost Nova Scotia’s population to one million by 2025, by attracting some 50,000 or so newcomers.
Somewhere, somehow we’re at cross-purposes.
Anyone concerned about this dysfunctional set of messages between the two levels of government should let it be known. Certainly we need to let the federal government know that something in this department is out of whack.