May 27th, 2014

Statement by the Official Opposition on LGBT Ugandans Being Denied Visas to come to Canada for the World Conference on Human Rights during World Pride

Craig Scott (Toronto—Danforth) made the following statement regarding the denial of visas:

Canada has refused to issue visitor visas to 10 Ugandan activists invited to Toronto’s World Pride Human Rights Conference in June, due to concerns they would seek asylum.

Months ago, I reached out to the Minister because I was worried visa denials of this sort could happen, given how much power is in the hands of individual CIC officers to decide on visitor-visa applications.

My hope was that some form of ministerial guidance could ensure a smooth visa process for the World Conference. I am disappointed that this does not seem to have worked so far in the case of applicants from Uganda.

However, I am also heartened that ministerial staff have responded with alacrity to the concerns I expressed to them once a pattern of visa denials began to emerge. New Democrats are hopeful that the fresh application process they have put in place will result in expedited – and favourable – re-assessments.