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.